[LINK] Transact's Behaviour, and Its Relevance to the NBN

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Oct 19 15:51:20 AEDT 2009

I've listed below a couple of concerns about a major 'regional telco'.

1.  Exclusivity

It seems that Transact makes life very difficult for its retail ISPs.

It appears to include restrictive terms in its standard contract that 
effectively prevent ISPs in the region from using services from other 

2.  Functional Separation

Transact also seems to have reneged on its original undertaking to 
not directly compete with its retailers, i.e. to sustain 
wholesale-retail separation.

3.  Universal Service within the Region

I raised with the Transact CEO a while back a particular problem I've 
experienced first-hand.

When the original cable-runs were done, the engineers badly 
miscalculated in my corner of the suburb (or perhaps the 
bean-counters scaled the engineers' numbers down).  The result is 
that my house and a couple of others nearby can't get a Transact 

I pointed out to Slavich that this wasn't a tenable position in the 
new context of a regional telco seeking to be part of the NBN - 
because universality of coverage within the region is surely a 
fundamental requirement.

(Unless of course little corners of cabled areas are to be made 
second-class citizens forced to depend on lower-bandwidth wireless 
connections?).  But he was dismissive of the problem.

4.  Performance

It appears that there were service outages during the weekend that 
affected at least some customers of at least some of Transact's 
retail ISPs.  Response time was poor (close to 48 hours).  This isn't 
the first time low-quality work by Transact staff or contractors has 
created difficulties.

These problems all appear to me to important aspects of the 
negotiations between the new NBN and Transact.

Does anyone know what channels should be used to feed such concerns in?

[Declaration:  if I sound a little peeved, it could be because, as 
Chair of the ACT On-Line Services Advisory Group 10 years ago, I went 
in to bat pretty strongly to make sure that the ACT Government 
continued to support the Transact venture, despite the increasingly 
large funding that was involved.]

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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