SMH: Internet and data calls to be timed
Thu, 27 Mar 1997 14:14:48 +1000
I thought I had read the paper carefully this morning, but I missed Anne
Davies story in the Business Pages of the SMH "Alston's promise on timed
It says that Alston has "released a statement ... that he would not allow
Telstra to imposed 'B-party' timed calls under the new telecommunications
It contains an admission that Telstra had "signalled that it wants to
introduce" such a charge, and quotes Alston saying "The government believes
that such a chrge would create unacceptable burdens for the ISP industry.
Any attempt to impose a B-party charging regime will be prevented."
So while we were watching his promise about A-party timed-call charging
suffering a 180 degree change of direction, he was blocking B-party timed
charging at the same time. One hand giveth -- the other taketh away.
I guess we can grudgingly admit that he's finally woken up to what Telstra
were on about, and done something about it. We can probably trust this
promise to a slightly higher degree than his others (and we'd need to),
although the industry needs to keep vigilant in the future.
Interestingly, it was the idea of network congestion being the problem
which killed the Telstra push. B-party time-charging would not have the
same effect on long-held calls as A-party time-charging so the minister
says (although I'm not sure if it would make that much difference).
So this story also contains a couple of admissions:
1. That the Libs bought the Telstra claims that long-held Internet calls
were causing congestion.
2. That B-party time charging was on the books as we claimed it was.
3. That Senator Kay Patterson's virulent attack on the ISP industry and a
couple of unnamed journalists for "deliberate misinformation" was totally
incorrect. We were right in what we said, and she was wrong.
4. Liberal Ministers can be trusted to keep, possibly, one in every two of
their promises (for short periods of time, anyway).
I think it also illustrates an important point that the ISP industry ought
to take on board. They need to be organised. They need to keep watch over
what is happening politically. And they need to be ready to fight back
You can have some wins in politics if you kick the bastards hard enough and
long enough -- and don't give up too early.
You need industry-wide good public relations (I don't mean PR) to keep
yourself noticed -- and you need to be ready to use the power you possess
(such as direct contact with a half-million voters) to keep the politicians
interested in your problems, and protective of your position.
Technical writer and journalist.
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