Timed data calls?
Wed, 26 Mar 1997 16:41:16 +1000
>Did I hear right? Did the legislation go through,
>and we are now going to get timed data calls contrary to that
>heartwarming letter I received just a few weeks ago?
You heard right, alright.
Apparently Frank Blount went to Little Johnie Howard and had the decision
reversed. I hear that Richard Alston had enough spine left to be
shamefaced -- but he got over that quickly.
They had the numbers because Coulson wasn't made to reply to the
travel-scam charges, and so he voted with the Libs. Harradine voted with
the Opposition and Democrats.
The result was 33-all, which means that the amendment failed, and the
original section of the bill remained. Apparently a couple of the Liberal
senators are furious also, as is ATUG and the service providers.
What this probably means in practice is that business calls to the Internet
Service Provider will be time-charged (as will fax on business lines) but
it is now highly unlikely that Telstra will go ahead with its stop-gap plan
to time ISPs for receipt of calls. The ACCC and the government would never
wear both charges on one call.
So probably, the ISPs aren't much worse off overall.
The real danger is that Telstra may now seek to establish a Receive-Only
Line tariff, which may initially not appear unattractive. Once established
as something distinct from a normal business line, however, it may later be
subject to special charging. The industry should be aware of this trap,
and watch carefully.
Meanwhile, everyone should look actively for alternate access from Optus
(most probably via Wireless Local Loop) or perhaps AAP. And ISPs should
consider getting together and forming a 'carrier cooperative' which can
impose threats back on Telstra, so you bring some power to the bargaining
Without this, you are (in the long run) dead, in my opinion.
Technical writer and journalist.
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