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reconnecting « Previous | |Next »
August 9, 2005

I drove down to Canberra yesterday morning. The country--the southern highlands and southern tablelands---was so dry. From what I could see there was little water flowing in the creeks, and some trees were dying.

I've spent the rest of the day buying office furniture, and eating out in Kingston, which looked very sleepy this morning when I went looking for a place to have breakfast. I've managed to get a desk into an empty office space and I've been able to connect a borrowed portable computer to dialup.

I've just not had the time to connect in with what is happening in Parliament as of yet, or what happened in the various party room meetings yesterday. I presume the Nationals will try to temper Coalition plans to abolish compulsory student unionism.
And I did read in Monday's Australian Financial Review that the Howard Government is happy with the Nationals demands for a $2 billion bush telco fund as the price for passing the government's legislation; provided the fund's investment earnings of around a $100 million a year is used.

Pryor.jpg
Pryor

There seems to be little concern with national broadband policy, competition, Telstra separation. And there seems to be little concern with connecting the Telstra fund with fostering innovation and sustained competition in telecommunications to ensure the takeup of faster data services.

From what I can gather the Nationals are more concerned to extract more funding before they support the full sale of Telstra, than devising a regulatory regime that can foster competition in regional Australia. Those who lose out are the smaller or lower-end consumers, as they are not being offered comeptive services for their
telecommunication needs.

However, Senator Barnaby Joyce, who claims to have delivered the Senate majority for the Coalition, and for other Nationals, is threatening to cross the floor if the proposed fund does not ensure that rural services are offered at the same price and quality in the city.

So how will Australians living in the bush be assured of high-speed data and internet services and how will they keep up with their city cousins? And what sort of infrastructure platform or platforms will be needed for the delivery of high-speed telecommunication services for regional Australia?


What does that mean for Coalition unity?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:58 AM | | Comments (0)
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