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Alternative Dimensional Business and Engineering Analysis 

Submissions to the Australian Government

 

Inquiry into the Australian Telecommunications Network (2002-2004)

 

In 2002, it again became obvious that the Australian Federal Government's Department had again lost the plot and another inquiry was initiated by the  Minister for Telecommunications, Information Technology and the Arts (Senator the Hon Richard Alston), and this media release includes the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry into the Australian Telecommunications Network.  

In light of the situation, I provided a response in the form of a 13 page submission that covered most aspects of the Terms Of Reference (TOR) for the inquiry, and it was not at all surprising that virtually none of this response was reflected into the 227 page  Australian Telecommunications Inquiry Report 2004 - as obviously what I had said in my submission was not meant to said by me!  

The Official Report did however reflect in its Conclusions and Recommendations what I had said in my submission where I had broadly concluded and stated that: almost all areas outside the metropolitan regions had such poor telecommunications facilities that businesses that utilise mobile and/or (Broadband) Internet could not operate there - so were forced to work from major metropolitan offices (Conclusions 7.1 - 7.7), Telstra had a legacy of obsolete equipment (caused by privatisation creaming off the reinvestment revenue, Rec. 1),  Voice-based Pair Gain Systems (PGS) are essential in non-metropolitan areas to increase the access length beyond 7 km, and these PGS compromise data speeds making rural and remote Internet almost impossible (Rec. 2), ADSL on ageing copper pairs is a temporary metropolitan solution for pseudo Broadband Internet (Conclusion 7.12), the Universal Service Obligation needs constant upgrading to tighter specifications (Rec. 5, 6, 7, 8,10), the Inter-Exchange Network (IEN) structure beyond metropolitan areas is far too thin (Conclusions 7.16 - 7.19), that the ACA should have a register of all telecommunications infrastructure (Rec. 16). 

The negatives in the Official Report were that: smaller telecommunications companies to be given contracts instead of Telstra (Rec. 18)  - (this is self-defeating as these same smaller companies will never have the economy of scale to be business-efficient, a short-term life policy, and are there primarily for profit - not for providing a long-term service); that Telstra be restricted from involvement in Government programs (Rec.17) (This is biting the hand that feeds the government and will cause the share price of Telstra to continue to free-fall).  

In reflection that Networking the Nation appeared to me to be a fragmented disaster with a large amount of piecemeal work being fielded back to Telstra - as it had the necessary infrastructure - it seems incredible (without credit) that Rec. 17 and 18 were included, and to cap off the stupidity, Rec. 19 then applauded Brokers to develop incentives for increased competitive infrastructure.  

 

Copyright Malcolm Moore, 2002-2004.   Comments and Corrections are welcome