Michael Pascoe writes:
The noise and confusion surrounding Telstra, its competitors, the ACCC and the Federal government today is all a bit like the Irish farmer in the back blocks being asked by a tourist how to get to Limerick: “Limerick? Oh, dear me, to be sure I wouldn’t be starting off from here.”
Telstra’s ditched fibre broadband network rollout (if it was ever a real proposal) and the policy and competition mess around it is a journey that’s starting from the wrong place. The current jumble of bad policy is the child of bad policy – the result of having a half-privatised, half-pregnant Telstra in the first place.
The original folly was not separating Telstra the competitive communication services company from Telstra the national infrastructure network company before flogging the former off to investors. It’s only a matter of ideology whether the latter should have been retained in government ownership or separately privatised. As long as the half-owner government expects the half-privatised Telstra to perform a national interest infrastructure role while also making as much money as possible while also encouraging competition, the conflicts of interest are simply too great to ever make much sense.
The reality is that the vast majority Australians don’t really care about who owns what in which competition model or how many rubber bands make one broadband or if their computer has ADSL or ADD. We just want a good, fast system that works.
Go on, Helen, take some responsibility, get to it and stop hoping a bunch of culturally inept Americans will solve your problems for you.
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