Australia’s broadband policy

There may well need to be some serious re-thinking of regulation and the responsibilities Telstra have to enact universal access to high speed broadband among Australian residents in ‘light’ of the statements from Telstra’s public policy chief, Phil Burgess, who has said that Telstra will not fund an upgrade to the existing broadband network in line with pre-election Labor policy.

This is a company whose profits this year amounted to A$3.3 billion and are still set to grow another 3-5% in the next financial year. That may not be as promising as some investors would choose, but if we knock Sol Trujillo off the pay roll, I’m sure the entire broadband plan could be accommodated and growth could continue.

I have always been extremely dubious about the sale of Telstra and the disenfranchisement of the people of this country as a result of poor investment in infrastructure. Good customer service should never come at the cost of good infrastructure. Now we have neither. I think the only opportunity is for the federal government to effectively force Telstra participation in this deal for universal access.

And don’t even get me started on a public policy chief who categorically refuses to participate with enabling policy because they “don’t do that sort of thing”.

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