[LINK] TELSTRA -Vs- Australians Echoes of 1997 Local Loop Argument all over again

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Tue Mar 1 17:31:17 AEDT 2011

It is comforting to learn that as the years pass that I can count on
Government to totally under-estimate the commercial wiles of Telstra and
F&&& it up royally.
Last time it was the wonderful, gracious and so technically aware and
competent luddite extraordinaire. the Rt Hon. - Damn, I forgot his name,
may he rest in peace.. (What ? He's not? Oh dear, I was kinda sorta
hoping he was. Oh I see amb. so did he stuff anything up there ?

This time it is the right Hon. S. Conroy that has been manoeuvred into a
position of Political Death if you do and Political Hari Kari if you

What to Do? What to Do? What to Do ?

Hint: Suggestion after following Article Quote...


NBN law will give Telstra right to do backroom deals 

*	Lauren Wilson and Annabel Hepworth - March 01, 2011 12:00AM 

[Picture] Willunga businesswoman Lesley Bakker says she will only sign
up is the price is similar to the $70 a month she has been paying for
standard broadband. Picture: Kelly Barnes Source: The Australian 

The Gillard government has been warned that proposed laws crucial to the
roll-out of the National Broadband Network could entrench Telstra's
market dominance through backroom negotiations with NBN Co. 

Optus, Australia's second largest telecommunications company, has warned
that legislation before the parliament could favour Telstra by giving
NBN Co discretion to offer it pricing discounts.

Regional pay-TV company Austar is also deeply concerned, warning that
this could "facilitate and perpetuate market conditions that mirror" the
situation NBN Co should be remedying.

The federal government has promised that the $36 billion NBN would
reduce the digital divide by providing broadband services at the same
price to regional and metropolitan areas.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has also promised to
revolutionise the telecommunications sector by reducing Telstra's high
level of integration.

Senator Conroy has left the door open to amending the legislation but
his office has rejected the suggestion that the legislation would
enshrine Telstra's position as the dominant player in the market.

"The default position in the NBN legislation is that NBN Co must offer
the same terms and conditions to all access seekers", said a spokeswoman
for Senator Conroy.

But Telstra's rivals have told a parliamentary inquiry that the
so-called companies bill and the access bill for the project would give
NBN Co unacceptably wide discretion to offer lower wholesale prices to
some telecommunications companies. Optus said it was likely that
Telstra, through its negotiations to lease its infrastructure to NBN Co,
would be the only telecommunications company to qualify for discounted
access terms.

The telco wants the laws amended so all differential terms of access are
vetted by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission after a
period of public consultation.

"Issues associated with differential access terms must not be left to
the discretion of NBN Co to be determined through backroom
negotiations," the submission says.

The Competitive Carriers' Coalition says it is important smaller telcos
are not disadvantaged by bargaining powers of larger ones.

A spokeswoman for Senator Conroy confirmed that NBN Co can offer
discriminatory pricing on "limited and generally accepted grounds such
as creditworthiness and if that discrimination aids efficiency".

Acceptable grounds could include volume discounts that improve
efficiency, which are subject to an ACCC determination at present.

But the spokeswoman said all pricing discounts offered by NBN Co to
telecommunication providers are offered on the basis that "all access
seekers with like circumstances have an equal opportunity to benefit".

Let me see, that was : 

all access seekers with like circumstances 

So, does anyone know of any two or more Telcos with like circumstances? 

I thought not.

In other words, the biggest get the best deals!

The rt Hon. Should put together a committee of philanthropic individuals
that have experience in the industry but are not employed in the
industry in any capacity.
He should not advertise who they are.
He should consult with them in secret behind closed doors. (I understand
that this is an accepted method of negotiation at the top level of
Each individual should be given the opportunity to address the issues
for ten minutes.

The issue is: How much say should Telstra or Optus have in the design in
the NBN ?

Mr. Conroy should then withdraw and make his decision as the minister.

The decision of course is either:

Should he allow Telstra to continue to slash, pillage and burn the
economy of Australia for the benefit of the government coffers and a few
shareholders or should he in fact introduce legislation that
automatically fines Telstra every time it financially disadvantages a
competitor, at the rate of twenty times the disadvantage value?

How about he recognises immediately the ridiculous rort allowed by the
ACCC in Dec last year in allowing Telstra and Optus to dictate the
interconnect points? 

Possibly we can call on him to act for the benefit of the Australian
people and even (somehow) overturn the ACCC ruling or appoint a
sub-committee with the authority to find the ruling invalid or if it
takes a senate hearing, then so be it.

Australians have been ripped off for too long by unfair carrier

Let's ask him to put an end to it.

P.S. : Oh, Stephen, in case you're reading, there is another guy in the
wings waiting for your chair. 

P.P.S. : Dear Malcolm, I sniff an opportunity here. the blue team could
get back in on this one issue. 

Dear Australians, 

Do we want Telstra unfair billing practices and access regimes stuffing
up our economy and slowing down your data speeds [because of unfair and
illegal interconnect regimes] for the next twenty years ?

If your business is doing well then obviously Telstra have done the
right thing by you and yours and nothing needs to change.

However, if your business is not doing so well, if you have been laid
off, or if you had to lay of staff or even close the doors then work out
if your business would have been better off with lower telecommunication

Most competition lowers telecommunication costs and increases community
and market discourse and opportunities.

If you think that Telstra prevented that from happening by their high
pricing policies, or unfair and illegal billing practices then let your
Senator know how you feel.

Thirteen years ago, Australians let Telstra dictate terms to the

We all paid for it.

Don't let it happen this time.


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