Australia’s new National Broadband Network is the country’s biggest infrastructure project in years, and there’s (up to) $4.7 billion in government subsidies up for grabs. But our largest telco Telstra says it won’t tender if it faces “functional separation” into wholesale and retail divisions. Diddums.
Geoff Booth, managing director of Telstra Country Wide says:
We cannot submit a tender, we will not submit a tender… people think we’re playing a bluff here, but I spoke to the chairman yesterday, and the CEO this morning, and the message is clear: we will not bid if separation is not taken off the table.
Well, Telstra, don’t bid then! [shrugs] Honestly, no-one cares.
What’s the “bluff”, Telstra? That the government will just choose another entity to give the funding to? One which doesn’t piss away their time and energy with all this bitching and moaning? One which doesn’t have the overhead of a bloated, inefficient workforce working within bloated, inefficient silo structures?
Ooooh… I’m so scared!
Dear Telstra, the sooner you realise that you’re no longer the only telco which can do business in Australia, the sooner your senior executives stop acting like spoiled-brat children with all this attention-seeking tantrum-throwing, the sooner you simply shut the fuck up and get on with the job of offering value-for-money services to the Australian public and therefore making a healthy profit for your shareholders, the happier everyone will be.
Oh, and while you’re at it, just drop this whole “We’re a content company” bullshit. I know that television is a whole lot more sexy than building comms networks, but you don’t have the experience and you’ve got more important issues on your plate. Stop with the “look at the shiny objects” routine which is — clearly! — a strategy to distract shareholders from the core problems which you really, really need to address.
Telstra does have some good bits. I’ve been playing with the NextG mobile broadband network and I’m impressed — I’ll write about that another time. But too much of Telstra believes its own hype about being a “premium service” when the service is exactly the same commodity comms that other telcos provide, but with less-effective customer service.
Honestly, Telstra, you have the key advantages of the biggest market share, the biggest mind share and inheriting a massive taxpayer-funded infrastructure. What else do you want? If you can’t make it work with this huge head start then just piss off and leave it to someone who can.
The National Broadband Network should be completely independent of any existing retailer, or even upstream user like a media company or content provider.
We’re talking about the national data network here… the very nervous system for our nation’s future. It’s too important to be left to “market forces” and a bunch of squabbling schoolchildren.
[Disclosure: Telstra Country Wide provide me with a free NextG account and HSUPA card.]