We now know that on 9 March 2000, Austrade commissioner Alistair
Nicholas alerted his CEO and Deputy CEO Peter Langhorne about the AWB
payments. Mr Langhorne left Austrade a year later to become John
Anderson’s chief of staff.
Presumably the Nicholas cable never came up in conversations in Mr
Anderson’s office.

This hasn’t been given all that much publicity, but as of April
Fool’s Day (1/4/2006), Telstra will increase the new PSTN (copper wire
fixed line) phone installation fee by 43%. Currently $209, it will rise
to $299. This is no April fool’s joke either….it is posted on the
company’s intranet site, complete with a list of scripted answers for
the poor sods that will get audibly bashed about the ears with
complaints about it…in the front line. The employees that get paid in
a year what the IT consultant, Tom Lamming, is reported in The Australian
(28/2) to be earning per day – US$15K or AUD$20K! Amazing
really…one of the scripts extolls that Telstra will still make a
loss on installations, even with the price increase … Then I
think…why was the 1/2 year profit weaker? Falling PSTN
revenues…answer…jack up the connection cost and less people
will opt for a fixed line and revenue will decline further? Doesn’t
add up…it will hasten the stampede of people opting for a mobile and not connecting a landline. The only saviour is that while
broadband is predominantly delivered via ADSL, you HAVE to have a
copper landline to get broadband. So, is this a back door to increase
the cost of access to the phone network, or perhaps, the broadband

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey