“The prize for the truly most appalling comment of the week
goes jointly to the [Communications Minister] Senator Coonan and [ACCC chairman
Graeme] Samuel. Both said that Telstra’s attempt to lock in a cross subsidy
system so services could be guaranteed for rural and regional Australia
was unreasonable, because the FttN network was initially only going to cover
the major capital cities anyway…”

“[Do the] two most important people who hold the future of
this nation’s telecommunications in their hands… [really] have no understanding
of how services in the bush are funded…? I suspect their real aim is to delay
the new investment for a couple more years to allow SingaporeTel Optus and
others to have cheap access to the existing ULL so the ACCC can continue with
its long-stated obsession to drive down Telstra’s market share.”

“Coming in close behind for the honour of most ridiculous
(not surprisingly) was the so-called ‘independent’ telecommunications analyst
Paul Budde. Telstra’s biggest critic was straight out of the blocks apologising
for the hoax that is the SingTel G9 proposal, telling Crikey ‘The Optus-led
project has now certainly been put on the backburner. Their plan was always to
ensure the survival of competition, not necessarily the building of new
infrastructure by them.'”

“Helen Coonan and even Paul Fletcher were equally dead-set
certain the G9 was still a definite goer, so Telstra’s proposed $4 billion
investment ‘didn’t matter anyway’. Australia
must be the only country in the world with leaders who can get away with
shrugging off a $4 billion business investment with such gay abandon.”

“The sad reality is that Australia
as a whole won’t miss out, nor, as Budde & Coonan suggest, will ‘everything
be OK’. Instead we’ll be a nation of haves and have-nots… [But] you can be
sure the leafy city suburbs that are home to the likes of [Coonan] and Graeme
Samuel will have an array of great fast landline broadband deals to choose
from, as will anyone living within 1.5km from an exchange.”

“[Budde] was also telling anyone who’d listen that FttN
wasn’t needed anyway, ‘nobody else in the world was doing it, ja?’ and that
good old ADSL2 would do the trick. (Perhaps supplemented by some broadband delivered
over powerlines provided by Mr Budde’s own ‘independent’ consortium?)”

“Oh C’mon Dan [Warne, ACP
News Editor who criticised Bruem’s mocking of Paul Budde’s Dutch origins –
‘nobody else in the world was doing it, ja?’ – as a “weak-minded” argument]! I know you work
for a PC magazine, but do you have to be so seriously PC? Budde has criticised
Telstra’s ‘ignorant’ American management more times than Helen Coonan. Where
have you been critical of them? At least be fair if you want to start picking,
although I reject your assertion entirely. By the way, if you’re a media tart
you’ve got to have broad shoulders. I speak for myself. Take my advice mate.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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