Monday, September 01, 2008

TelstraClear damns National's Think Big on telecoms

"political opportunism and a lot of hype",

"What we are seeing is a series of questionable studies and hype"

"At the moment we don't believe that putting fibre into every home is economic or necessary."

Word from the Telstra Clear Chief Executive Alan Freeth, according to the NZ Herald, and given Telstra Clear actually put a hybrid fibre-coax network to the kerb of nearly every home in Wellington, Christchurch, the Hutt Valley and Kapiti Coast, he might know a bit more than your average politician. You see his business is about selling broadband to customers, and he thinks National has got it badly wrong.

He suggests that many homes will just download more movies and porn, rather than become "more productive". Of course, the simple point is that subsidising very fast broadband is subsidising a lot of entertainment. Something the advocates ignore.

I asked where is the demand in April. Why can't those who want broadband pay for it? As Freeth is quoted saying, what good is fibre to every home in Hokitika? Indeed, why should a business that benefits enormously from high speed broadband be subsidised by one that isn't, or a pensioner, or anyone else?

I called it Think Big.

It is headline grabbing, it ignores the risks that government "investment" brings, it ignores the ethical and economic problems of forcing people to pay for something they otherwise wouldn't pay for, and may not even benefit from. It is taking money from people who may otherwise invest it in businesses or their families for what they see as greater benefit.

Labour isn't much better though, but isn't it about time that all of you who don't want to be forced to pay for this stood up and said no? Or are there far more of you who can't wait for everyone else to subsidise your movie, music and porn downloads? Or you are all running enterprising net based businesses that need subsidies right?

1 comment:

Crampton said...

It's a coincidence, then, that Telstra stopped laying out more fibre about the same time that it looked likely that they'd be able to steal bandwidth from Telecom? (sorry...access the local loop at regulated prices...where are my manners)

Whenever the Telstra telemarketers call, I beg them to put fibre down to my house (an unserviced part of Christchurch), that I'd sign on for whatever multi-year plan they'd like if I could get fibre...they usually hang up on me...