In the UK, News Corp is launching a free broadband service. But in Australia, the government, in its infinite wisdom,
continues to allow Telstra to dominate Foxtel which means there is no way that it will facilitate Foxtel competing with its BigPond service.

Why can’t we achieve a level of competition similar to that in the UK here in Australia? If the government had the right policies in place Rupert Murdoch would have launched a similar service here, using Foxtel.

The media (non)reform that was just launched by the Minster is another missed opportunity in this respect, and it looks as though we will have to wait many years before we start to see the economic and social benefits of broadband
competition – benefits that are now enjoyed by most other Western countries (notably the UK).

What Murdoch’s decision means is that he sees broadband as an infrastructure issue – as an absolutely essential factor in his company’s delivery of future digital media services to its customers. His vision is clear; the investment in this infrastructure will be recouped many times over from the services that can be provided over it.

What a different vision that is from Telstra’s. It wants a government-guaranteed premium return on any investments it might choose to make in this area, while Murdoch is prepared to take the risk, without any of the guarantees, and in competition with BT.

I hope that both the government and the regulator can see what we are missing out on.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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