[Linux-aus] NBN discussion

Russell Stuart russell-linuxaus at stuart.id.au
Mon Jul 1 13:46:55 EST 2013

On Mon, 2013-07-01 at 00:06 +1000, Russell Coker wrote:
> But you can't port what used to be a fixed-line number to a mobile 
> phone unless you use some form of SIP forwarding

Nope.  Your SIP phone is just a client.  It can log into the SIP server
provider from anywhere, just like your email client can use your email
server from anywhere.  There is no "porting" involved and the SIP server
doesn't have to do anything special to set it up.

Some more savvy people use this to set up an Australian phone number
when they are living overseas.  They use an Australian SIP provider, and
log into it using a SIP phone that sits in a foreign country.  My
daughter did this.  It has a Brisbane number, so anyone in Brisbane it
looked like a local call.  When we rang it, her phone in London rang.
It isn't at all difficult to do - well no more difficult they setting up
a home VOIP line.  The trick is knowing you can do it.

> It seems that one of the many ways of compelling people to become NBN 
> customers is to make the NBN the only way that most people can get a phone 
> number from an old fixed-line redirected to your premises.

Well, given they have bought out all the existing fixed line services
that sort of follows doesn't it?

> I presume that some VOIP companies will offer a service of porting a number 
> and forwarding it, but that takes extra fees to the VOIP company and
> some extra configuration effort so less people will do it.

If when you are connected to the NBN, you have to use VOIP for your land
line.  The NBN doesn't provide the service, just like they don't provide
ISP services.  All they do is provide the last mile transport.  Thus you
will *have* to do the configuration, regardless.  Thus yes there is work
involved, but there is no extra work.

> My greatest objection to the way the NBN is being run is that it's compelling 
> most of the population to become customers of one monopolistic corporation.  
> That goes against the interests of the people which Labor are supposed to 
> represent and against the idea of capitalist competition which Liberals 
> pretend to care about.

True, but you are omitting a lot of background information.

1.  You are already compelled to deal with one monopolistic
    corporation, Telstra.  They own the copper, they own the exchanges,
    the own most of the backhaul.  Obviously this is because they were
    a public monopoly 10 years or so ago.  Gradually they have been
    forced to open up parts of it, but this is only because of heavy
    handed government regulation, conducted mostly via what can only
    be described as trench warfare in the High Court.  It got so bad one
    High Court courtroom was set aside just to hand ACMA and ACCC cases
    against Telstra.  Telstra famously maintains entire floors of
    lawyers to conduct the fight.  10 years on, it has boiled down to
    the government determining the prices Telstra can charge.  This
    could hardly be the victory for privatisation the Liberals were
    championing when they sold Telstra.  I think even they now agree
    the result - a private monopoly running our fixed line
    telecommunications, was a mistake.  I don't know how it was
    possible, but I think the entire Liberal party managed to suck
    themselves into the mass delusion that privatising Telecom
    would make competition would magically appear.  It didn't happen.
    It was never going to happen.

2.  It didn't happen because the last mile is one of those things
    that naturally tends towards a monopoly.  This is plainly obvious
    when you think about it, as it is no different to the road outside
    of your house, or the pipes that supply water to your house, or
    the wires that supply electricity.  So when it comes to fixed line
    access, the odds are you are *always* going to be dealing with a
    monopoly as it doesn't make economic sense for more than one company
    to run a road, wire or pipe to your hose.  So you don't have the
    option of dealing with another company, so they can do what any
    monopolist will do - charge as much as you can bear.  Stop whinging
    about it and get used to the idea.  And since you have to deal with
    a monopoly, you are far better off dealing with a government owned
    one as opposed to a private one.

    Just to re-enforce this point, although the NBN is a monopoly, the
    old laws that protected Telstra's fixed line monopoly are gone.
    Anybody is free to run a fixed line to your house and charge you for
    using it.  Your access to the copper and cable is going not because
    the government has banned them.  It is going because Telstra decided
    it was worth their while to make a quick $11B by agreeing not to
    provide a service to your house any more.  It's purely a business

    Thus they didn't get rid of the laws because the NBN doesn't need a
    monopoly to work - it does.  They got rid of the laws because a
    monopoly will happen with, or without laws, thus they aren't needed.

3.  Since we are stuck with having a monopoly, the obvious thing to do
    it reduce it's scope into the possible footprint.  Telstra managed
    to leverage their monopoly to give make them the dominant player in
    not only the last mile, but also the exchange, the switching
    equipment, the backhaul, and fixed line voice.  They are also the
    largest ISP and the largest 3G/4G provider.

    So contrary to your assertion that the NBN is about forcing you
    to deal with a monopoly, it is about breaking down an existing
    monopoly.  Unlike Telstra, the NBN is banned from all areas of
    commerce except one - the one that arises naturally.  They can't
    retail to customers, they can't provide backhaul, they can't
    operate a mobile service, they can't give you a phone service,
    they can't run cable TV.  Hopefully with Telstra's strangle hold
    broken competition will rise in all those areas.

For me the your comment above is what makes reading your posts here so
frustrating.  You clearly have not taken the time to read and understand
the existing situation, let alone try and understand how the NBN is will
change it.  Yet you boldly say nobody posting in favour of the NBN backs
up their claims!  The irony is breath taking.

More information about the linux-aus mailing list