[LINK] McCrann calls on Latham to gazump Howard on Telstra
foconno1 at bigpond.net.au
Mon Feb 23 12:29:40 EST 2004
Just a couple of comments to add to this debate:
1. If the government were to appropriate the network, Telstra
shareholders would have to be well compensated for the splitting of
the network ... as that is the major asset they invested in. (If I
were a Tlestra shareholder and this happened, my shares would be
worth a fraction of that they are now worth .... and a sell-off would
be on the cards big-time.)
2. Future network carriage standards (and I'm thinking numbers like
WiMax - 802.16 and the like - in particular) seem to mean that the
'network' will change somewhat radically over the next few years ...
favouring big telcos like BT, AT&T and the like who can pipe
bandwidth to Oz over relatively cheap sub-sea fibre and extend their
network coverage using 'the airwaves' rather than the optic, co-ax
and twisted pair that's already in the ground and served by the
expensive exchanges. Exchanges may go 'the way of all things' with IP
telephony ... and mega 802.16 router/bridges could provide coverage
over extensive areas (30 mile radius or more for each.) In other
words ... the initial investment for network providers will drop
radically, many more players will enter the market, and a lot of
existing network infrastructure will be effectively obsolete and
unable to compete.
3. Any way you look at it Telstra infrastructure is a tad vulnerable,
and I don't know that they yet realise it. Their expensively laid
cable network is obsolete, they never made a real go of retail fibre,
twisted pair is seeing out its days as an ADSL carrier.
I suppose the ups-shot is that I think this debate is a bit late in
coming ... and in many ways is now unnecessary. The way I see it,
within a few years real choice will appear as a result of
technological developments, current retail providers will have any
number of choices for network backbones and pipes, and Telstra's
dominance will be minimal.
What is Telstra to do to stop this inevitable decline in its influence:
a) Become an early investor/installer/adopter of the new
infrastructure ... and develop some expertise in it.
b) Do whatever it takes to become the preferred wholesale bandwidth
provider to existing retailers and ISP's and to retain their custom.
c) Do whatever it takes to develop its retail end so that customer
satisfaction, price, value added services and the service levels
would make existing customers reluctant to abandon it in the event of
more competition appearing on the horizon.
d) Acquire content provision services (Fairfax?), and expand existing
content provision channels (Foxtel et alia) to provide coverage under
the new channels as they appear. I envisage 'cable' TV over WiMax, a
heap of value added secure enterprise services over higher bandwidth
optic fibre and seriously high bandwidth IP provision at the retail
level as good channels and services to start with.
e) Start testing these new services in real contexts (in much the
same way as TransACT did in Canberra) ASAP
f) Start developing some expertise in little numbers like IPv6 ...
which will be critical to providing network services over the WiMax
and other high bandwidth mediums (e.g. I'd guess that little numbers
like ''cable' TV over wireless will need serious multi-casting
capabilities to make efficient use of bandwidth, serious QOS
capabilities for different applications, serious security (IPSEC) and
the like to make best use of the new channels.)
If IT behemoths like Cisco, Intel and IBM are falling in behind the
new network channels (and they are), and big US and European telcos
are already trialling services providing the new mediums (although
not yet the WiMax medium) then wholesale adoption can't be far off.
For Telstra shareholders ... if Telstra fails to do all these things
... well, I'd wait until the share price hits $5.50 (the point at
which the government said it would privatise it), sell my Telstra
shares and wait and watch the new players as they hit the market to
see which ones have the legs to invest in. Because Telstra certainly
Just my 2 cents worth. :)
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