Bandwidth is the problem

March 20, 2006 — Leave a comment

Mark Cuban, god to many in Web 2.0, makes a good point. TV isn’t going to be replaced by the internet any time soon because of bandwidth constraints. If he thinks it’s bad in the States he should try Australia. There are still large parts of Australia (admittedly low population centres) that don’t even have basic ADSL. I’m moving house Friday week, and I still don’t know whether I’ll get ADSL. The saving grace is that the new estate has 2mbps cable so if Telstra can’t provide a private operator can. They say it’s possible but can’t confirm…get this…until I have the phone connected at the new house. It’s like pot luck, and there is every possibility I’ll be without broadband for weeks. Last time I physically moved house it took 3 weeks to transfer the broadband across. It’s what you get when you live in “the country”, or as our beloved leaders would put it: “regional and rural Australia”.

Now I can’t understand why people are against the Government selling their remaining 51 or 52% stake in Telstra. I mean, what business does Government have in telecommunications? Competing against the private sector unfairly?. What I do have concerns with however is that they aren’t going to split Telstra up and we’ll have our own version of AT&T. I can’t help that think that we’d be better splitting Telstra into wholesale and retail, and then selling the retail arm. Any profit from the wholesale arm could then be reinvested in better infrastructure for all Australians, should it be retained by the Federal Government. Allowing Telstra to retail and own the last mile into the home means that a privatised Telstra will always have an unfair advantage in the market.

But again, to all those hippies who think the Government is the best owners of Telstra, does anyone remember Telecom Australia? When we’d pay $2 a minute for an STD call or $4 a minute overseas? Governments can’t run this shit, they’ve never been able to. We will be better off with a privatised Telstra, but only if it competes on a level playing field.