Malcolm turns bullish on Telstra split

Malcolm turns bullish on Telstra split

Summary: In this edition of Twisted Wire, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says that a split of Telstra is long overdue and his personal preference is for a structural separation.

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In this edition of Twisted Wire, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says that a split of Telstra is long overdue and his personal preference is for a structural separation.

That's a sharp difference from noises in the Opposition in the last term of government, when Nick Minchin said such a split would be unfair on Telstra shareholders. In this half-hour interview, Turnbull says that a new approach can only help Telstra's sagging share price.

Our discussion, naturally, also focuses on the government's plans for the National Broadband Network.

Turnbull has launched himself into his shadow communications portfolio with a full frontal attack on the network. Late last month he produced a private members Bill that would call on the Productivity Commission to produce an analysis of the project and said that he would support it if their findings were "incredibly persuasive". I kick off our half-hour discussion by asking him what sort of things he'd be looking for.

Running time: 29 minutes, 12 seconds

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, Telcos, Telstra, NBN

About

Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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14 comments
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  • where is the video?
    schneider82
  • He's pretty convincing, if you allow him to pose the frame the problem, and then answer it.

    I wonder how he would answer how much broadband we need, up and down, in 8 years?

    How does providing subsidies... for ever.. provide competiton?
    Paul Krueger
  • Hi Schneider,

    It's scheduled to arrive at about lunch time.

    Suzanne Tindal, News Editor.
    suzanne.tindal
  • Paul,

    Providing subsidies has and will always be part of any network which is required to provide services to the bush. It's just how those subsidies are funded.

    To give an example of how well competition works look at the mobile industry. Both Optus and VHA now believe they have the customer base to allow them to compete in the bush on both speed and coverage against Telstra and to that end are now rolling out towers to remote communities. There is NO government subsides in Mobile Networks instead each operator sees the benefit to their existing customer base and a way to increase their customer base. It's a lot harder to do this with Fibre or any other fixed service but there are ways and I think the processes which exists in the mobile industry like being able to log on to the network from a hotel room could make the Rural areas stack up. Remember it's the business community that will really pay for this network.
    schneider82
  • Where did the urban myth that more than 50% of Japan is on fibre come from? (6.51 min) According to Mr Son of Softbank, speaking at the press conference in Japan which The Australian famously misrepresented http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/10492183, it is he who has miraculously come up with the idea that the way forward is to follow the NBN plan of replacing copper with fibre to the premises throughout Japan and it is Japan's Telstra which needs persuading. Yet Malcolm, and it must be said, you, repeat this apparently incorrect information that Japan is blessed with widespread fibre and has been for a long time.

    In other respects, I think it is unfortunate that you did not test Malcolm with the observations made by your colleague, David Braue, at http://goo.gl/yaS83. It would be useful if you were to have a rematch with Malcolm and put these points to him. He is readily available, after all.

    The problem in this debate has always been the tendency to overlook the words "maximum" and "minimum". When speeds are quoted, those who live in NBN world tend to speak in minimum speeds, whereas those who live in Turnbull world seem to speak in maximum speeds.

    David allegedly receives 100 meg on his HFC connection but in practice is lucky to get 10. I max out at 10 Meg on my 24 Meg ADSL2+ connection at less than 1km from the exchange. Presumably this is a shared experience, but how widely? Consequently, when Malcolm says "12 meg is adequate" does he mean maximum or minimum, and for how much of the time? Maybe people don't pay for HFC simply because they don't get the promised speeds sufficiently consistently.

    He is always very vague or silent about how exactly he would achieve his promised service and what his promised service actually is.
    Listohan
  • The urban myth of 50%of broadband connections in Japan are fibre is being perpetuated by the OECD broadband portal - http://www.oecd.org/document/54/0,3343,en_2649_34225_38690102_1_1_1_1,00.html- go table 1l Percentage of fibre connections in total broadband (Dec 2009) and, hey presto, there it is.
    phildobbie
  • Have a look at this from Professor Emeritus at the Uni of Tokyo - http://ipv6council.lu/docs/T_Saito.pdf.
    Plus the OECD figures in my other comment here.
    phildobbie
  • At what point to you measure the MAX speed? the Last mile connection? The connection to the ISP? The connection to say ABC.com.au or to a US site they will ALL be different and if you are with a poor ISP they will be VERY different! By the way in MOST case the last mile is NOT the limiting factor to a customer connection... contention and other factors pay a MUCH larger role then they are given credit for
    schneider82
  • Phil,

    That figure in the OECD report seems a little incorrect when it comes to Australia. I would have thought the Canberra coverage of TransACT and greenfields connections of both openNetworks and Telstra would have been showing some movement in fibre...
    schneider82
  • yawwn, I wish the talk about speed and Telstra split would stop and just bloody do it.
    Nitrofiet
  • Interest rate "hike". Media crap. It's an "increase".
    cryptw
  • Isn’t it a pity one can’t draw a reliable picture from statistics. According to the OECD figures, Japan is the only country above 50% for fibre deployment.

    Yet according to http://www.netindex.com, Japan is number 8 for speed. Some countries which exceed for speed are not listed for fibre and the Netherlands, pretty much equal for speed, has only 2% fibre.

    ZeroNut is right. Given there is no sensible middle ground for a medium to long term solution, let's stop talking and get on with it.
    Listohan
  • Not anti-NBN but just thinking like to do a Skype Video call in HD 720p requires a 1 Mbps upload speed. My ADSL 2+ connection cannot cope with this. That is today's application. Wouldn't we be better off just structurally separating Telstra and open access legislation. Then FTTH/FTTN can be deployed instantly across our major cities and go past areas stuck under RIM's. Structural separating and regulations can ensure these networks are run in an open access fashion. NBNco could then focus it's effort on rolling out fibre to rural/regional areas where it is not economically viable, with the benefit we get higher upload and downloads speeds, competitive open access infrastructure and also not duplicating infrastructure. Meaning we can also potentially achieve Finland's stated goal of 100 MBPS to 100 per cent of the population by 2015. Usually politics by the two major parties would prevent any such rollout to 100 % from occurring but if we have a hung parliament situation like we currently have with the balance of power in the hands of the Greens, and the regional independents we can achieve such a goal within the next 4 years, rather than the next 8 years and immediately begin work to rid places of RIM port hell.
    miraculoustoinnovate
  • Not anti-NBN but just thinking, to do a Skype Video call in HD 720p requires a 1 Mbps upload speed. My ADSL 2+ connection cannot cope with this. That is today's application.

    Wouldn't we be better off just structurally separating Telstra and putting in place open access legislation. Then FTTH/FTTN can be deployed instantly across our major cities and go past areas stuck under RIM's. Structural separating and/or open access legislation can ensure these networks are run in an open access fashion.

    NBNco could then focus it's effort on rolling out fibre to rural/regional areas where it is not economically viable, with the added benefit that we get higher upload and downloads speeds and competitive open access infrastructure. We can also potentially achieve Finland's stated goal of 100 MBPS to 100 per cent of the population by 2015.

    Usually politics by the two major parties would prevent any such rollout to 100 % from occurring but if we have a hung parliament situation like we currently have with the balance of power in the hands of the Greens, and the regional independents mean we can keep up the honesty and integrity in the rollout. We can also achieve such a goal within the next 4 years, rather than the next 8 years and immediately begin work to rid places of RIM port hell and get rural and regional Australia fibered.
    miraculoustoinnovate