Moore & Moore Consultancy Services

Alternative Dimensional Business and Engineering Analysis 

Submissions to the Australian Government

 

The Demand Aggregation Program (2003)

 

This is an area that I found particularly difficult to comprehend the rational logic behind the irrational strategy, and believe me I really tried very hard to comprehend the rational logic!  

In 2003, the Australian Federal Government as a follow on from Recommendation 19 of the Official Report into the Inquiry into the Australian Telecommunications Network recommended that Brokers be introduced to develop incentives for increased competitive infrastructure.  

As I understood it the Australian Information Advisory Council were apparently responsible for the Inquiry into Broadband and its report,  and so the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) seemed to have received the nod to proceed with the National Broadband Strategy - and not the Department of Telecommunications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) - which should have been the national centre of excellence for telecommunications and IT!  In any case the Howard Government eventually identified this blatant duplication of functions and finally merged the two entities - making the NOIE part of both the DCITA on about 22 October 2004 and with the Australian Government Information Management Office, within the Department of Finance and Administration, on 8 April 2004!  This is where the funding fits in!

With a touch of astounding stupidity bordering on genius, the National Bandwidth Inquiry had its status apparently raised to become the backbone for the National Broadband Strategy, and "Other key elements of the NBS include the Coordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund (CCIF) and the Higher Bandwidth Incentive Scheme (HBIS). Each of these programs are designed to complement each other but will be administered separately" - these words came out of the Demand Aggregation (DA) Broker Program - Consultation Paper, and if ever I was looking for a comedy piece then this was it.  

Sadly this document was actually for real and there was full intent to contract Brokers to sell Broadband Internet without infrastructure knowledge, and this begged for a 7 page submission from me to show why this strategy is fundamentally flawed. 

The fundamental problem is that Brokers are basically sales people that seriously lack the engineering insight required to make value decisions, and as the telecommunications networks are essentially an engineering infrastructure, and one role of engineers is to convert peoples wish-lists into reality through developing specifications.  Another role of Engineers is to use these specifications to create telecommunications networks.  Another role of engineers is to manage the performance of networks to ensure that they stay within engineered design tolerances and develop specifications as necessary to alter the structures so that the demand is met.   

Looking back in history inside Telstra to before about 1992, there was a distinct push by Executive Management (who were by then to a large degree Lawyers and Marketing oriented) to reduce the number of Engineers and increase the number of Lawyers to assist them in meeting the legal demands in marketing a much wider range of retail products.  Give this a decade and we now have a distinct lack of Engineering expertise and far too many Lawyers, and this is one of the reasons why the telecommunications infrastructure in Australia seriously lacks the engineering dimensions necessary to meet the demands of what is required by Business and the General Public.

 

Copyright Malcolm Moore, 2003.   Comments and Corrections are welcome