Broadband – Why the Liberal Party must follow Labor

5 minute read

Now, I am getting in way over my head. I do not really care for either party in this debate, but I clearly side with Labor that the government must build the network and then allow equal access for any carrier that wants to get involved.

Having Telstra owning the network has been a disaster for consumers, it slows down the rate of change and has hurt consumers more than any share price drop. Just take a look at some figures:

In the US for $20 USD per month you get all local and national calls, calls to Canada and calls to many European countries, yes that is $20 per month, below $30 AUD . Now we pay more for just a line rental. Now I have been renting a telephone line from my property to the street for 20 years, surely this is just a rip off. I pay $36 per month just for line rental.

256 kb downloads speeds is not broadband but an absolute joke, 512 kb downloads is the same, we will look back and laugh at these speeds in just 5 years.

I switched from Telstra for my broadband 12 months ago, why? Because I could get five times the bandwidth and 15 times the speed from iiNet for less than what it cost me from Telstra.

Telstra only introduced ADSL 2+ once it started losing clients. You can have as many spiffy ads telling us that 256k is lightning fast broadband but consumers will wise up eventually.

To me the term ‘Broadband’ is a minimum of 12 megabytes per second and ADSL 2+ can take us above 20 megabytes per second. Having Telstra build and control access to a national fibre to the node network will just mean slower speeds, weaker service and higher prices and this is why Labor’s promise to build a fibre to the node network is good for consumers.

It will allow all of the other carriers equal access and will bring down prices because that is what competition does. Now some may argue that Telstra will still own the last mile to the home. Who cares? In the next 24 months we will see WiMAX hit the streets and every new PC made with an Intel and AMD chip will have the chip built in. So there goes any need for that last mile from Telstra.

WiMAX allows for wireless broadband up to 50 kilometres from the antenna, it will also allow relaying which means it will be cheaper for rural areas and can reach speeds of up to 100 megabytes a second, although this does drain the further away you get from it, but remember, in the early days of the Internet we used to get 9kb a second, then 14kb, then 36 and now 56kb all from the lousy modem.

Telstra has made it clear it will not build a network if it has to give access to competition at regulated prices, which basically means it wants to dictate to all other providers the price they can get access for – and in turn what we must pay, yeah that will work! We only have to go back a few years and Telstra was charging competitors wholesale prices that were higher than their own retail prices. So again I do not trust them to do the right things by the consumer one little bit.

I would like to see the Liberal Party jump on board and support building our own network, because it will be a good money spinner for the government instead of trying to scare everyone concerning the Labor plan, I watched Peter Costello’s tirade in Parliament about raiding the future fund, it was pretty funny really and I think he thought he had them, unfortunately for him just about every media company in Australia agrees with Labor..

As I have said before, big business in Australia, the current market leaders – are not given a born right to rule our wallets forever, the market should dictate this by the product and services they provide – not because they have always been successful.

Yes we have monopolies everywhere, roads, banks gaming and television (to name but a few) but this is one area that the monopoly must end for the good of all Australians. Next to marketing and rent, telephone and Internet costs are the biggest many small businesses face and it is time we paid a reasonable price for a reasonable product.

Now before you think I am a member of the Labor Party I am not, in fact I don’t think I have voted Labor since Keating, but I can tell you now, I want some changes and I do not want Telstra owning a fibre network that they can dominate.

End of Rant….

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  • Catrina F
    Posted March 26, 2007 at 8:16 pm 0Likes

    Agreed. I’m looking forward to faster internet speeds. It doesn’t appear that there is enough growth in the available offerings with the current network that Telstra controls, it’s about time something changed.

    The only question I can think of is; how long will it take to roll out an entirely new network?

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted March 26, 2007 at 8:28 pm 0Likes

    David Kirk the CEO of Fairax Media summed it up best when he called broardband – fraudbrand.

    Big business will exert huge political pressures on this vital topic. Watch for a big announcement in the May budget. Afterall, it is about winning votes and more importantly political donations from the big end of town.

  • Glenn
    Posted March 26, 2007 at 9:36 pm 0Likes

    Politics… whats next … the big “R”?

  • Anthony
    Posted March 26, 2007 at 9:47 pm 0Likes

    Bless You

  • Glenn
    Posted March 26, 2007 at 11:10 pm 0Likes

    I have always read that Australia was backward in broadband rollout, but I guess I never really thought too much about it. I have always been an early adopter so the the whole dialup issue has never really hit home.

    I jumped on cable when it rolled out and switched to ADSL when it presented better value (ie.. more download for the $$). The only time I have seriously given dialup any consideration is during web design when you have to allow for “THEM”.

    So after reading Peters comments I decided to jump on Google Analytics and crunch some numbers just to see if we were really as bad off as we thought. I started with a period that represented a sample size of about the last 60,000 visitors to our site which is nearly 5 months. I exported the data for the top 100 countries on dialup and the top 100 on broadband and joined the data in Excel. I then discarded any countries that did not have a sample size of at least 50 visitors.

    That left me with 40 Countries. I then calculated what percentage of those visitors used broadband. Now if somebody would have asked me where Australia would have sat in that list I would have thought that we would have landed in the middle, maybe a little higher. I know that many countries in Asia and Europe have high broadband saturation so I knew we could not compete with them but surely we were fairly high!

    So where did Australia come… Have a look for yourself.

    2-Republic of Korea-100%
    3-Hong Kong-100%
    9-United Arab Emirates-98%
    17-United States-91%
    22-United Kingdom-85%
    23-Papua New Guinea-85%
    34-Saudi Arabia-62%
    35-New Zealand-59%
    38-Russian Federation-43%
    39-New Caledonia-30%
    40-South Africa-20%

    Now I discarded a lot of countries that certainly have lower broadband rates in Australia, but the number of visitors were not enough to give good results. So instead of comparing positions look at relevant percentages for each country and compare.

    There are quite a few suprises in there.. China at 100% for instance. I have been to China three times in the past 5 years and I have only ever experienced Broadband speeds. I even visited someone who lived in a Hutong and they even had broadband so I guess I should not have been that surprised.

    What about Brazil 83% and India at 89%… Both countries have massive amounts of poverty and obviously they don’t even have a computer let alone the internet… and much like China, those that are wealthy enough to own a computer and use the internet get to enjoy broadband.

    Please dont tell me how these stats are not really scientific… I agree.. but it is real world. Take them for what they are.

  • Nick Buick
    Posted March 27, 2007 at 1:24 pm 0Likes

    Still beating them kiwis!!! oi oi oi!

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