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….