[This story was originally written for Crikey, where it was published on 12 January 2009. I’ve linked to it previously Here it is in full, along with a wonderful follow-up comment from a Telstra PR guy and my extremely snarky reply.]
Confused by Telstra’s rejected low-cal bid for the National Broadband Network? Let’s stir some new jargon into the stew: “DOCSIS 3” and “dark fibre”. Suddenly Telstra’s strategy makes sense — for Telstra — but it delays the rollout of high-speed broadband even further. Again.
DOCSIS 3 is a new system for cable internet which increases speeds from the current 17Mbit per second of BigPond Cable (30Mbit in Sydney and Melbourne) to 100Mbit or more. Last week Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo revealed that the technology is being deployed, but implied that it won’t be offered until they’re forced to by a competitor’s actions.
“We have [DOCSIS 3] as an option if somebody chooses to compete and to compete with us,” he told a conference in Phoenix.
“The only difference is we’ll be there a lot quicker a lot faster a lot bigger, a lot more integrated and with more capabilities than anybody else.”
How does Telstra do it quicker? By quietly stashing away its secret weapons, ready to be unleashed when a competitor tried to deploy their own big guns. Remember how Telstra didn’t sell ADSL2+ broadband, even from exchanges where equipment was already installed, until ISPs like iiNet started selling their own ADSL2+?
This time Telstra will do it quicker by using dark fibre — optical fibre cable that’s already in the ground but not yet “lit up” by the data-carrying laser beams.
Continue reading “Telstra holds back broadband speeds. Again. (Revisited)”
I didn’t like the first episode of Newstopia on SBS last year. I thought Shaun Micaleff was trying too hard to sound like he was being satirical. “I. Am. Telling. A. Joke. Now. And. I. Am. Clever.” But last night I changed my mind. I watched the latest episode online: he’s relaxed into the role, and much lolz. Maybe I’m finally over the fact that I found Mr Micaleff to be a painful arsehole back when he was at the Uni of Adelaide with me. (Weren’t we all, though.) Maybe it’s because I was, as Christian Kerr alleges, the first person to play him Supernaut’s I Like It Both Ways.
Most of my Saturday mornings start with a quiet, reflective time. ’Pong has gone to work, the cats are fed and have finally shut the fuck up and gone back to sleep. It’s not yet time to join the Snarky Platypus for our regular gym, lunch, shiraz and sarcasm session. I’ve got a couple of hours to sit, still unshaven and often in my underwear, sort through the newspapers and my notebook, turn them over in my mind, and see what emerges.
What emerges this morning is laughter. About John Howard.
Not a belly-laugh, though, nor that loud, pointing, “Haw haw haw! Hey Charlene, will ya just look at that!”
No, it’s a quiet chuckle. A roll of the eyes and a slow shake of the head which says, “Oh, you bloody idiot.” And this moment of amusement is certainly helping to make up for the anger of the last fortnight.
Continue reading “A pre-election meditation”
When I returned to focus on politics after a busy morning yesterday, I discovered that not only was John Howard still PM, but also that there was never a leadership challenge. Really. How can this be?
I happened to read Crikey first, where Christian Kerr wrote:
Nothing happened in Canberra this morning. Nothing in a Samuel Beckett sort of way. A nothing that means plenty. A nothing that is quite profound.
You’ve right there, Christian! Every newsroom and every politics junkie in the country including myself arced up — prepared, as I said, for the biggest political story in a decade. And then come the time, Howard et al strolled out of the party room meeting as if nothing had happened.
Finally, at 12:45, Tony Abbott appeared. There had been “full and frank discussions”, he said, but there was “absolutely rock solid support for the Prime Minister”.
Continue reading “The Leadership (Non)-Challenge”
The entire evening was filled with politics yesterday
and the chafing this morning is quite painful and I learned a lot.
Christian Kerr, the national affairs editor for Crikey, was promoting his book “in conversation with” Antony Green, the thinking woman’s crumpet — a combination too good to miss! We went for dinner afterwards.
I didn’t realise I’ve actually met Christian before, until he saw me. “I know you,” he said. “You were the first person to play me I Like It Both Ways with Shaun Micaleff at 5UV.” I have no recollection of this event, Your Honour. However Christian recalled sufficient details for me to be convinced the event probably did happen. Somewhere. He knew certain obscure hand gestures. Stop asking questions.
In a preview of the federal election and subsequent conversation I learned:
- Christian thinks that the election won’t be fought over industrial relations, as many pundits are saying, but over the economy. It’ll be about the Howard government’s “sound economic management” (as they describe it) versus the It’s Time factor.
- Unless something changes, it will be a Labor victory. For all the talk of “the polls are all over the place,” Antony Green says this is the most consistent series of polls he’s ever seen.
- There is a Big Yabby in Alexander Downer‘s electorate, at Goolwa, which is symbolic somehow.
- Malcolm Turnbull could still win the federal seat of Wentworth thanks to his Fabulousness Factor.
- No-one seems to understand why John Howard won’t support gay-related issues. And I’ve just finished reading his biography — nothing there gives a clue either.
Now where’s that moisturiser…?
I’ve already reviewed The Crikey Guide to the 2007 Federal Election, so I’ll keep this brief. Editor Christian Kerr is in Sydney at Gleebooks this Thursday night, conversing with über-analyst Antony Green. There will be maps. There will be a long white pointer stick!