[LINK] Telstra's FttN a NoGoNetwork

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Tue Oct 10 13:25:04 AEST 2006

On Tue, Oct 10, 2006 at 12:10:38PM +1000, Chris Maltby wrote:
> The current government has failed as spectacularly as the previous
> one to deliver a competitive communications market in Australia.
> Their failure has been due to their ideological belief in privatisation
> and their need for cash to fund electoral pork barrels.

ideological belief, yes. need for cash, no - they've had embarassingly
large surpluses the last few years, so much that they've struggled
to get rid of it so that the pile of loot doesn't inspire calls for
them to increase funding for the services that they're supposed to
fund and that the public actually want them to fund (e.g. education
and health). they've struggled to get rid of it even with the massive
tax cuts for the rich (and the miniscule tax cuts for everyone else -
the vast majority of the public would have been MUCH better off with
a better funded health system than with a couple of sandwiches and a

which just emphasies why T3 is completely unneccessary - in lean times,
where money was scarce, it might be arguable that they need to sell
Telstra so they can do useful things with the money, but the government
has no shortage of money and hasn't had for years.

speaking of privatisation, one thing that most commentators miss
completely is the link between privatisation and skills shortages
- we've been through an insane program of privatisation since the
'90s, with almost all of the public utilities that actually trained
apprentices (e.g. electricity, gas, comms, water, rail, etc) sold off.
the private owners don't train apprentices any more, because it's an
"unneccessary" expense. the current skills shortage is the *inevitable*
result of the short-sighted privatisation insanity of the last decade or
so, it was completely predictable.  it has also resulted in higher prices,
crappier service, neglected maintainence, and job losses.

privatisation, coupled with severe underfunding of TAFEs (and
universities), is why there's a skills shortage now.


PS: back to telstra - line rental is now up to $40/month. that's
outrageous. my phone bill has roughly tripled in the last few years
and that's entirely due to line rental fees. i make bugger all phone
calls, and really don't give a damn whether a phone call costs 25 cents,
22 cents, 17 cents or even 10 cents...makes little difference to me,
but the difference between about $15/month for rental and $40/month is
enormous. how many thousands of slightly cheaper phone calls would i
have to make per month just to break even with the enormous increase
in rental? there is no way that it costs anywhere near $40/month to
maintain the copper in the ground.

craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>           (part time cyborg)

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