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Australian Telstra Monopoly Dead 100

Posted by timothy
from the let's-see-what-happens-next dept.
philmarcracken writes "The Senate recently passed a bill through the Lower House for the separation of Telstra's retail and wholesale arms and now that same bill has just scraped by in the Upper House; 30 to 28. The deal is worth $11 billion AUD for Telstra and is welcomed by them despite Coalition opposition. This paves the way for the governmental body NBNco to use Telstra's existing assets and expedite laying fibre optic cables to the larger population densities."
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Australian Telstra Monopoly Dead

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  • If a monopoly is happy to go along with a government decision to break it up, you can bet that there's some massive upside for the company. That doesn't necessarily mean better anything for the customer.

    • by WillKemp (1338605) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:03AM (#34356924) Homepage

      They've got no choice. They fought it as long and hard as they could. The only options for them now are the easy way or the hard way - and they're welcoming the easy way.

      But, of course, the government wants to make it as favourable as possible for them as they're still major shareholders.

      • Mod parent up. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mjwx (966435)

        They've got no choice. They fought it as long and hard as they could. The only options for them now are the easy way or the hard way - and they're welcoming the easy way.

        The fact that this was not done years ago (heavy Kevvy was talking about it since he was elected) was the fact that Telstra fought it tooth and nail. But it's done now and there is nothing more Telstra can do about it.

        Realistically this is something the Howard government should have done when Telstra was privatised in the 90's.

    • Telstra is not really a monopoly any more, they are a large telco but due to effective regulation cant force the market into following them despite owning most of the copper in OZ.

      Telstra's wholesale arm no longer has any impetus to protect Telstra's retail arm. This will be good for the consumer as Telstra can no longer engage in (as much) anti competitive activities.

      This is something that should have been done with the privatisation of Telecom Australia back in the 90's (Public utility Telecom Austr
      • by imroy (755)

        Telstra is not really a monopoly any more, they are a large telco but due to effective regulation cant force the market into following them despite owning most of the copper in OZ.

        Tell that to customers of Foxtel - Telstra ran the Cable Internet part of that venture and they dragged their heels moving to the DOCSIS 3.0 standard [broadbandguide.com.au] (providing 100Mbps). The reason? They had no competition. Why spend a huge amount of money providing a desired service when your customers are stuck on your service anyway? Just sit on your arse and keep taking their money!

        And Bigpond still had preferential treatment for ADSL service. A bit too far from the exchange? Your chosen ISP said Telstra knocked back y

        • the "rack" was full and nobody in his neighbourhood could get ADSL through other ISP's

          Happened to me too a few months ago. Still waiting for new naked ADSL slots to be made available.

          Telstra was a monopoly and abused their position, no doubt about it. I'm glad it's finally being broken up.

          Very much so.

    • by Pax681 (1002592)
      a very similar thing happened to British Telecom and British Gas.. the retail and wholesale branches were split by law to allow for competition.....

      same plan... different country is all. it HAS meant BETTER deals and increased competition here most notably for the telecoms industry
    • Well I think that http://www.itnews.com.au/News/215939,nbn-co-to-buy-telstra-network-for-11-billion.aspx [itnews.com.au]$11,000,000,000 counts as a "massive upside" in anyone's books...

    • by jonwil (467024)

      Telstra supports it for 2 reasons:
      1.Not separating means they would be locked out of buying spectrum for next generation LTE services
      and 2.By separating, they get to sell the copper network to the government for $11 billion whereas if they dont separate and sell to the government, the government builds the NBN anyway without Telstra and Telstra is left holding onto an obsolete copper network that cant compete with the NBN.

  • About time! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WillKemp (1338605) on Saturday November 27, 2010 @05:58AM (#34356908) Homepage

    Not a moment too soon! Telstra should have been split up when it was privatised. Their constant anti-competitive antics have held Australian telecoms back ever since.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 27, 2010 @06:05AM (#34356928)

    The Australian Senate is the house of review - the upper house. It is the House of Representatives that is the lower house, and that introduces legislation. The legislation passed the House of Representatives; it passed with amendments in the Senate; and now the House of Representatives needs to vote on those amendments (it looks likely that they will pass). Only once all of this is done will the legislation be done and dusted.

    In one sense, this could end up being a case of "out of the frying pan, into the fire", since the NBN will be a telecommunications wholesale monopoly provider - nobody's going to be in a position to compete against them on anything more than a very small scale, and in this game, if you're talking small scale, you're talking high costs. That's not necessarily an issue, though, since telecommunications is a natural monopoly. With the appropriate checks on NBNco's hold on telecommunications, it will be a net positive - certainly compared to Telstra (which had the infrastructure monopoly, plus a retail arm that took full advantage of that power - witness all the wrangling that ensued every few years when Bigpond dropped their prices to below what other ISPs could manage on reselling Telstra's wholesale service) it will be a huge win for Australia.

    Hopefully the proposed privatisation of NBNco won't go ahead; I see too much value to Australia in keeping it as a government-owned corporation compared with selling it off a few years after the rollout is complete.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Hopefully the proposed privatisation of NBNco won't go ahead; I see too much value to Australia in keeping it as a government-owned corporation compared with selling it off a few years after the rollout is complete.

      As much as I agree with you, as soon as the Liberal party gets into power they will sell it off regardless.

      It doesn't make much sense to sell it off but these are politicians, since when do they do a sanity check on anything.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by muphin (842524)
        from what i've heard the greens and others wants a law preventing this, i hear its going through its motions, this will prevent one party from selling it off like it did with telstra. it had to ask parliament for permission.
      • Our governments just love to sell off vital infrastructure, don't they?

        • by Tacvek (948259)

          All governments love to do that. Even the US (especially at the State Level) tends to privitize quite a bit. There are very few public utilities left. I mean I find it patently absurd that prisons have even been privatized.

          Basically if a state/local public utility could be profitable, it is usually privatized. Those that cannot turn a profit are often, but not always kept public. If it would not be profitable the only option is for the government to pay the difference. The easy way to do that is to run it d

      • by skegg (666571)

        Liberals may be quicker to sell-off assets, but Labor is ALSO fond of selling our (taxpayer) property.
        How many times has NSW Labor tried to privatise various utilities? (especially under Iemma)

        Sell-off assets for billions -> promptly spend the billions -> look like heroes to voters

        But what will they sell when there are no assets left?

        And some assets are quite, shall we say, profitable [abc.net.au]

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Hopefully the proposed privatisation of NBNco won't go ahead; I see too much value to Australia in keeping it as a government-owned corporation compared with selling it off a few years after the rollout is complete.

      As long as NBNco is only a wholesale bandwidth provider, their monopoly status doesn't matter because everyone's prices will rise at once.
      Internet is going to become a regulated utility in Australia

      • by thegarbz (1787294)
        You see this is where a lot of the government's ideas are at odds. You'll either end up with a situation where the government privatises the company yet attempts to use legislation to control the company policy, in which case why privatise it at all. Or you'll end up with a monopoly, just like Telstra our only cable company of the time had a completely unlimited 10mpbs service only to introduce one of the most draconian caps western world after it was privatised and then raise the wholesale price to competi
    • The Australian Senate is the house of review - the upper house. It is the House of Representatives that is the lower house, and that introduces legislation. The legislation passed the House of Representatives; it passed with amendments in the Senate; and now the House of Representatives needs to vote on those amendments (it looks likely that they will pass).

      A slight correction of my own: it reads like you're suggesting the Senate can't introduce legislation. They can introduce most types of legislation except appropriation and taxation bills. In practice you're probably right though---most legislation seems to originate in the House of Reps.

  • No more ridiculous $70/month for 20gb or whatever the average is. The most you can get as a consumer is 500gb for something like $250/month, ridiculous.

    Of course there is a limit both on capacity and overselling, but that was artificially increased through the monopoly. Now we should start getting fairer prices, and catching up with the rest of the world.

    • by muphin (842524)
      i'm with TPG and i have unlimited internet, no caps for $75/mo :p
    • by tkdack (325771)
      Bullshit! Ahem, http://www.internode.on.net/residential/broadband/adsl/easy_broadband/ [on.net] 1TB per month for AU$130 a month, less if you bundle I'm currently paying $60 a month for 60GB naked ADSL2, land line on VoIP, so no monthly rental fee to Telstra for a service I don't use. The industry in .au is changing, slowly, but it is changing ... and the NBN is one of the catalysts
      • by metrix007 (200091)

        That deal is upload and download, so still only 500gb download. worse it is split up between peak and offpeak.

        • by Starayo (989319)
          500GB download assuming you upload as much as you download...

          Furthermore, there is no on or off peak on that internode plan. It's a flat terabyte, anytime.

          Add to that the fact that your upload speed will usually be 1/10th or less than your download speed and it doesn't seem too bad unless you're a super heavy user. I manage to burn my way through most or all of 200GB a month pretty easily.
          • by metrix007 (200091)

            It clearly states on the internode site that the terabyte is split between peak and offpeak. It also states that it is a combined effort, so no, 500gb download MAX, half of which must be during offpeak.

            • by bds1986 (1268378)

              It is not split between peak and offpeak. See the part where it says "Monthly 'Anytime' Quota"? That's what the "Anytime" part means. Go read the T&C's if you don't believe me, there is no mention of peak/offpeak. If you insist otherwise please describe exactly where it "clearly" states this fact.

              I assume by "combined effort" (I can't see that phrase anywhere on their website) you're referring to uploads+downloads being counted. The previous poster is correct; most users do not upload as much as they do

            • by Tacvek (948259)

              Where does it clearly state that it is split between peak and off peak? The contracts don't even mention the quotas, so the only information is on the plan pages.

              On http://www.internode.on.net/residential/broadband/adsl/easy_naked/plans/ [on.net] I see the following text:
              "Massive 'Any Time' monthly quota - measured as the total of downloads plus uploads. No 'peak' or 'off-peak' restrictions - you can use the Internet whenever you like!"

              That definitely sounds like there is no peak vs off-peak differentiation.

              I also s

    • by TeraCo (410407)

      iinet offer a 1 terabyte plan for 99 dollars a month, although I will concede that it's 500gb peak and 500gb offpeak.

      I understand why ISP's offer offpeak quota, that doesn't mean it doesn't annoy the piss out of me.

      • by metrix007 (200091)

        plus its divided between up and down....so 250gb down peak + 250gb down offpeak.

        • by gizmonty (1636241)

          250gb down peak + 250gb down offpeak.

          No No No No No. I think you need to learn a bit more about how teh internets works.

    • by jonwil (467024)

      Anyone paying $70 per month and only getting 20gb is paying far too much.
      Even if all you can get is Telstra Wholesale ADSL, TPG will sell you unlimited at 8Mbps or 300GB at ADSL2+ speeds for your $70

      Other ISPs like Internode have similar plans.

  • The NBN Co. spent $10b(?) dollars of Australias money to buy Telstra's current perfectly functional underground and cable/telephone network. They will own both the national fibre and copper networks, and in a few years they will rip up the copper network.

    It's a needless loss of a proven piece of infrastructure, instead the fibre should go out to places that aren't adequately serviced by copper; the fibre should coexist with the copper network. Once all of the rural/under-connected areas are connected, only
    • by Namarrgon (105036)

      Important point: It's not an infrastructure loss, it's an infrastructure upgrade, and no copper will be ripped up until all the fibre is in place.

      Leaving in the copper for duplication was certainly considered, but the significant advantages caused by a relatively fast national switchover to high-speed fibre won the day (100% uptake = lower prices for all + much wider market for high-speed data services like IPTV, electronic health record transmission, next-gen internet applications etc).

      Turnbull does have a

    • by jonwil (467024)

      The copper network is great IF you have direct copper back to the exchange AND your copper is in good condition AND you are close enough to the exchange to get ADSL. If you have crappy coper, if you are too far from the exchange, if your line contains equipment incompatible with ADSL or you are stuck on a RIM with no available ports or really slow speeds, the copper network isn't so great.

      With the NBN, all those problems go away.

      Also, they arent going to string the fiber on power lines or poles in most plac

    • Government spin hid that from the public.
    • Most of that copper is old stuff with lead and paper protecting it and only has a few years left. That's right, most of it was from before plastic insulation. Telstra have done very little apart from quick fixes to the copper network since 1996 and they had cut back quite a bit even before then. A lot of that copper needs to be replaced immediately and pretty well all of it within a ten year time span, and the stuff is expensive. Replacing the lot with fibre apparently works out to be cheaper within a d
  • The Senate doesn't pass bills through the lower house; the Senate is the upper house. Perhaps you meant "The Government recently passed a bill through the Lower House..."

    And what are these "larger population densities"? Do you mean "larger cities"? Probably better just to say that then.

    • The King Is Dead.
    • Long Live The King.

    A monopoly by any other name is still a monopoly.

    Having said that, there's a lot of good in theory in what The NBN might possibly do, if it is done well and properly.
    Having said that, there's a lot of evil that may come about as a reuslt of the NBN, if it's done poorly.

    The Devil is in the details.
    Details which we do not yet have.
    Details which are being defined and/or controlled by Them Politicians. (duh bahstids)

    Not that I'm implying that The Will Screw This Up (if th

  • Surely you guys read most of the slashdot articles? By 2040 at current rate of the expansion of internet services 50% of all the world's electricity will be devoted to the internet. The solution to this is optical routers which are < 10 years off.

    What is costing the cash here is the laying of optical cable with a lifespan of over 100 years. Leaving the copper cable in the ground just isn't an option as it has a lifespan too.

    The NBN is buying Telstra's old network to turn it off, mostly. The business case

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