Telstra split and Brendan Nelson: 2008 predictions revisited

Sol Trujillo: photo courtesy Telstra

I’ve read so much about the Telstra break-up this week, and written and spoken about it so much, that my brain’s still fizzing. But here’s one thing: I predicted this more than a year ago!

On 2 January 2008 I wrote, as part of my Predictions for 2008:

Telstra will be forced to separate its wholesale and retail businesses. Meanwhile the Sol Trujillo-led management team will continue to play nasty with the government, causing them to be increasingly sidelined — especially over the Rudd government’s new broadband rollout.

OK, I got the timing wrong. But it does seem that I was reading the signs correctly.

Looking back at those predictions, I’m saddened to see that former defence minister Brendan Nelson hasn’t been investigated for his role in that deal to buy $6 billion worth of Super Hornet fighter aircraft — even if someone has since pointed me to their potential use in an electronic warfare role — but has instead been made ambassador to the EC, NATO, Belgium and Luxembourg, and special representative to the World Health Organisation.

Not quite the outcome I was after, unless some Eurospook’s going to give the good Dr Nelson a thorough probing in Brussels.

If that happens, I don’t want pictures.

So, I’m updating my 2008 predictions score to 56.25%, which is now a pass instead of a fail. That’s fair, right?

[Photo: Former Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo, courtesy Wikipedia. I’m so thoroughly confused by the implications of the licensing on that image and a recent Creative Commons report on how people define “non-commercial” that I’ll just say this post is licensed by whatever Creative Commons license it needs to be to shut everyone up. FFS write in Plain English, people!]

Bonus links: This week’s writing about Telstra

Links for 12 September 2009 through 19 September 2009

Here are the web links I’ve found for 12 September 2009 through 19 September 2009, posted not-quite-automatically.

Telstra closes blog, loses friends

Crikey logo

Australia’s biggest telco closed down their corporate blog nowwearetalking without warning yesterday — and deleted all the content. While I can understand they want to put the often-controversial forum behind them, I think the move was a mistake.

I’ve already written about this for Crikey, Telstra consigns nowwearetalking to the memory hole. It seems odd to kill NWAT just as it was changing for the better – even more so given there’s no replacement. There’s comments from Stephen Collins and Fake Stephen Conroy, as well as Telstra’s official spokesperson Craig Middleton. It’s free to read. Off you go.

But I’d also like to publish the full interviews I did for that story. So here they are.

Continue reading “Telstra closes blog, loses friends”

Telstra holds back broadband speeds. Again. (Revisited)

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[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)”

Crikey: Telstra holds back broadband speeds. Again.

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The story I wrote for Crikey today has ended up being their lead item, under the completely not provocative at all no Sir headline, Telstra holds back broadband speeds. Again. And it’s free to read.

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.

The comments have started to come in, starting off with: “Can you please get someone with a real name to write the technology articles?” Poor thing.