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19 May, 2007

Politics: The Art of Defining Things Advantageously

Perhaps someone in the Australian government would like to read the Ars Technica article on what is going on in the USA. There is pressure there from some politicians to persuade the FCC to change its definition of 'broadband' – from 'anything above 200 Kbps' to 'anything above 2 Mbps'. They also want the way broadband availability is measured so that the current practice of just one person in a particular postal district having broadband allowing the government to say that the whole district has it, can be stopped.

If the Australian government were to adopt these rules, access to broadband here would be revealed for the shambles it really is – since almost nobody here gets a service of or better than 2 Mbps and many suburbs that supposedly have access, really only have partial access. The fact that most new connections at the moment are by wireless (as in the USA) means that broadband access would be shown not to be increasing at all because wireless speeds are so slow, no wireless customer would have broadband under the new definition.

Telstra – Australia's ex-state-monopoly telecoms provider – should also read the article. Currently, the company is lobbying the government to let it expand its broadband infrastructure on a tariff basis that would effectively exclude competition and maintain its extremely high customer charges. I don't have much time for the present government of Australia but when it comes to judging which is more likely to have consumer interests at heart – Telstra or the ACCC (the government regulator) – I tend to put my faith in the regulator.

Both Telstra and the government should also note the passage in the Ars Technica piece which mentions in passing that in Japan, 'most residents can pay $30 a month for 50 Mbps fiber connections to the Internet.'

We're not quite third-world, I suppose, but definitely second rate.

1 comment:

Bex said...

Vote Labour!

Kevin Rudd sent me a flier last weeek outlining his $4.7 billion dollar broadband-for-all plan:

~ Daughter.

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