Timed Internet Calls to be Strictly Business

Frank O'Connor foconnor@C031.aone.net.au
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 01:11:23 +1000

George Bray (George.Bray@moreinfo.com.au) said on 15 October 1996:

>Article from AFR October 3
>"The Federal Govt is planning to allow carriers to introduce timed calls
>for business users of the Internet and other data-based services."
>Cynical Remark - What's the bet this coincides with Telstra's retail ISDN

And/or the pending Telstra share offer? Hey, investors are gonna think that
this could be a real gold mine in years to come, without realising that
it's primary effect in Oz will be to send users fleeing frantically to
alternate telephone backbones and ISP's with alternate backbones. If you
ask me, Telstra is cutting it's own throat, and they've already alienated a
large percentage of us with other 'marketing initiatives' over the last
year ... re BBS's, ISP's, Telstra Internet, exorbitant ISDN charging etc.
Exactly who is gonna use Telstra for their Internet bandwidth after the
deregulation in July 1997 ... I know this little black duck won't be.
Optus, AT&T or MCI here I come! ... For all comms services.

>Snide Comment - With so many expert groups, strategy reports and industry
>studies you'd think some bright spark in the Government would recognise
>this move as contrary to encouraging Australia's online economy.

I think the government has little to do with it. Little grey men in little
grey suits in Telstra's marketing division hit on this plan to double
charge us for bandwidth (via the ISP's leased bandwidth or ISDN, and then
the phone), Blount and the boys jumped at it (hey, there wasn't a demur
when Joe Public was hit with timed charges for digital phones), the
telephony people thought this was a great idea (ensuring their continued
existence in the face of TCP and competition from digitally networked
telephony and video conferencing like Internet Phone or CUSeeMe), and the
Communications Department and Austel went along with it.

I reckon Telstra is really schizoid about the Internet. On one hand there
are people in there who realise that their long term future is digital
networks and TCP ... but on the other hand there's those responsible for
their present core businesses (telephony and high end OSI) who see the
Internet and public networks generally as a real threat.

They've never been a good data service provider and they never will be a
good data service provider ... basically because they have never understood
the market. Numerous costly fiascos over the years prove this. (One could
argue that they've been a pretty average phone service provider as well.)
They've jumped on the Pay TV bandwagon with FoxTel, yet all the stats and
usage indicators indicate that the Australian public is pretty unimpressed
with Pay TV.

The one thing that could save their precious and costly cable rolled out
buns is a high bandwidth Internet and/or 'The Information Superhighway' via
cable modems and eventually fibre ... but they want to foist an
upstream/downstream ratio of a pitiful 19.2K/10M on us. In other words they
see the Net as a dumb consumer backbone.

In my opinion Telstra should get out of the retail market altogether, and
concentrate on being a broadband infrastructure supplier. Let those who
know the retail level, those who know about data service provision, those
who know about marketing, and those who know about TCP and consumer level
technology handle Joe Public .. cos Telstra doesn't seem to have a clue.

Nobody could drive me out of my mind
- at most it would only be a putt.