Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

What's good for Telstra is not good... « Previous | |Next »
May 17, 2007

A much unloved Telstra plays hardball in furthering its interests. It continues to doing so with its public campaign against the federal Government and its market regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, over broadbanding the nation.

Telstra's strategy is to pressure federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan to override Graeme Samuel and the ACCC on the price at which Telstra's competitors can access its proposed fibre-to-node broadband network. It is endeavouring to take of advantage of the election to cut a backroom deal with Coonan at the expense of consumers.

Alan Moir

Telstra's proposed price is pretty steep---between $80-95 dollars per month are the figures being mentioned. That is way above (30% more) than what currently I pay for ADSL2+. If Graeme Samuel and the ACCC represent the public interest, then Telstra is acting for its own interests as a private company. It is not just concerned with looking after shareholders wealth: it is trying to entrench its market dominance at the expense of real competition or genuine choice for consumers.

As is well known, this situation is the consequence of poor policy by the Howard Government: it refused to split the retail and distribution arms of Telstra prior to it being privatisation. The Howard Government was only concerned with selling Telstra, and not concerned with ensuring competition in the telecommunications industry, establishing high speed broadband infrastructure or a proper regulatory regime.

If the Howard Government's mantra is that the state has no role to play in broadbanding the nation because this is job for private companies to do, then it fails badly for not ensuring that the fundamentals are in place to ensure genuine competition. We cannot say, as the Australian Financial Review does in its editorial on the 16th May that it should be left up to the commercial decisions of investors and users, operating within a sensible regulatory environment.' That is wishful free market thinking---market fundamentalism if you like---as we do not have a sensible regulatory environment in the telecommunications industry. The ACCC is currently trying to build one against a background of poor policy decisions by the Howard Government.

Currently, we do not even have an open discussion of the Telstra or G9 fibre plans. Nor have either of the plans been made public so that we can see what is being proposed. The G9 promises its plan next week. Telstra is content to complain with great bitterness about the regulator because it cannot get its way to change the rules of the game.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:43 AM |