[Linux-aus] On the topic of Telstra

Marco Ostini m.ostini at uq.edu.au
Mon Mar 14 15:02:02 UTC 2005

Greetings all,

This message is with regards to the immanent full sale of Telstra.

Apologies if this appears slightly off topic, but if you consider for a 
moment how dependent the FOSS community in Australia is on networks 
currently owned or heavily influenced by Telstra then you may agree that 
this issue is not that far off topic at all.

Many would consider that the full sale of Telstra as we know her now, 
would be like unleashing an 800 kilo gorilla in a china shop.

Lots of people in the IT community of Au have argued that Telstra needs 
to have the Infrastructure and service side of the company split, and 
that the service side would then be wholly sold, and the 'cables, 
switches and towers' side remain the property of the Au government, who 
then provide it at regulated rates to all who wish to provide telco & 
network services, with a view to foster and stimulate competition on the 
service side.

I strongly agree with this position.

The reason is simple. Telstra already have a terrible reputation for 
cost cutting and law breaking at the expense of customers, and are 
almost constantly before the ACCC now for some for of evil or another.

Freed from the shackle of being answerable to the Au government, it 
seems a certainty that worse service would be provided at higher prices 
while cable competition like Internode, iinet, an others would become 
telco road kill.

Services to rural Australia is also a serious issue that Telstra are 
already failing to address, and this would become much worse after a 
full sale.

All is not lost.

Although the government will control all of the senate shortly, there 
are many in the National Party that are quite uneasy about the full sale 
of Telstra, as rural Au is already being abused by them.

I've never voted for the National party, and I don't seen this changing 
any time soon, but I have friends who do have contacts within the party 
and are also quite concerned about this issue.

There is the potential for our voice to be heard by these people, and 
for it to influence how they work with this issue in the senate.

What does this list think about it?

Are people in the Australian FOSS community prepared to work within the 
political climate we find ourselves in to safeguard competition within 
the digital services we depend on?

Some links on the topic:

Under existing competition rules, Telstra's rivals can access its copper 
network at regulated prices. But Telstra wants new rules and prices for 
access to its proposed fibre-optic network set to guarantee a return on 
investment for its shareholders.

Three days into an explosive debate about what sort of regulatory 
shackles need to be placed on Telstra before next year's $30 
billion-plus float, his message is clear: none.

Telstra acknowledged that its pricing changes made in February 2004 for 
its retail broadband services may have adversely affected the 
competitive position of its wholesale broadband customers, the ACCC said.


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