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a broadband future? « Previous | |Next »
August 6, 2004

I see that the Senate has handed down a report on telecommunications that raises the issues relating to broadband in Australia.

It says what we know: that Telstra's copperwire network is outdated, that it needs to be replaced over the next ten years, and that the new network should be able to connect every household to broadband.

It needs saying, since few people are articulating a vision for modernizing the country's infrastructure stands in stark contrast to the regulatory mess that has stunted development in Australian telecommunications for the last decade. An "information superhighway," cannot exist in Australia where dialup access and slow downloads are widely prevalent.

Australia is way behind in connecting up the nation with broadband. And way way behind in providing access to high-speed broadband. Our future can be seen in South Korea, where more than two-thirds of households have high-speed connections.

So who is going to build the next generation of telecommunications infrastructure?

While we are on Telstra have you noticed what, Senator Coonan, the new minister has been saying. One day she says the federal government would be unlikely to grant a fourth commercial TV licence in the future.The next day day she is talking about splitting Telstra's infrastructure into a separate business as one of the options in a review of plans to fully privatise the telecommunications giant. These are big policy signallings prior to an election.

What is the good Senator up to?

August 10
The Federal Communications Minister, Senator Coonan, is not convinced by the argument that Telstra is too big to regulate by the ACCC. Nor is she convinced by the need for the structural separation of Telstra once advocated by the ALP; nor the need for Telstra to divest itself of Foxtel; nor even the need to increase market competition.

The only issue in the debate is getting Telstra into shape so that it can be sold. So we are left with aging monopoly copperwire infrastructure, a lack of openness and accountability and Testra's anti-competitive behaviour.

This is a government that has run out of reform puff. It has no policy about the telecommunications future other than privatisation.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:13 PM | | Comments (0)