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Telstra Kicked Out of $15bn Broadband Project 158

Posted by timothy
from the yeah-but-those-are-australian-dollars dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Australia's largest telco and ISP, Telstra, has been kicked out of the bidding process to build a national broadband network (NBN) estimated to be worth $15 billion. The Aussie government had earlier given assurances that the proposal would be considered, however it now won't even be evaluated by the expert panel, which will make the recommendations to the Senator for Broadband and Communications. The government may now take steps to legislate so that Telstra can't build a network that competes with the NBN — leaving the incumbent to focus on wireless HSPA+ technology instead."
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Telstra Kicked Out of $15bn Broadband Project

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  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday December 15, 2008 @02:12AM (#26116917) Homepage Journal
    I hate Telstra as much as everybody else in this country but it seems to me that eliminating the biggest telecommunications carrier will reduce competition and push up prices.

    At the very least it would be difficult for whoever wins the bid to not work with Telstra at some point, because of the amount of infrastructure they control.
  • by StrahdVZ (1027852) on Monday December 15, 2008 @02:14AM (#26116933)

    Now I am one of the last people to defend Telstra, but this smacks of Conroy's handiwork.

    1) Telstra refuses to participate in "live" trials of Conroy's much-maligned internet filter.
    2) Telstra denied chance to bid for national broadband network based on a technicality.

    Coincidence? I hardly think so.

  • by Max Littlemore (1001285) on Monday December 15, 2008 @02:33AM (#26117029)

    You say eliminating the biggest provider will reduce competition? Eliminating a virtual monopoly is bad for competition? Wow.

    I think it's a bit silly not even reviewing their proposal, but that's ridiculous.

  • by mcon147 (960793) on Monday December 15, 2008 @02:33AM (#26117031)
    Coincidence? .. hell yes. Conroy didn't need Telstra in the trials. He just needed a single isp, there's more than one in Australia. Rudd does need Telstra to build the network, Telstra knows the other carriers cant get credit to actually build the damn thing without the government backing it. Telstra knows the other carriers are there so it looks like there was a fair try, at not giving all the business to the dominant player. This isn't Conroy being stupid or evil, this is Telstra toying with him (You could argue he deserves it though).
  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday December 15, 2008 @02:43AM (#26117083)
    No. Sol has been playing politics on this broadband plan from the start. The trick to win the bid without putting in a proper bid would let him set his own terms.
  • All or nothing bet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shirro (17185) on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:09AM (#26117203) Homepage

    Sol gambled and the shareholders lost. A triumph of greed over common sense. Has his reality distortion field finally shattered?

    The current Telstra management seemed to have brought a lot of anti-regulation baggage with them from the US. They seemed unable or unwilling to adapt their management style to the realities of operating in Australia.

    A lower return to shareholders would still have been a return but they had to be greedy. Now they might be a footnote in the countries broadband history.

  • by mcon147 (960793) on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:09AM (#26117209)
    The network wont be fully funded by the government. Hence the carriers are taking on some risk aswell.
  • by macraig (621737) <mark DOT a DOT craig AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:19AM (#26117251)

    At the very least it would be difficult for whoever wins the bid to not work with Telstra at some point, because of the amount of infrastructure they control.

    So... how about forcing them to sell it back to the People for whom they built it? It's common shared infrastructure, like roads, after all. It will be ridiculously costly, but leaving it in their control will mean that you'll all pay for it time and time and time again. This is exactly the same advice I had for our own Public Utilities Commission; I hope you don't (continue to) repeat every bloody mistake we've made! We had Bush, you had Mini-Me Bush John Howard....

  • by c_g_hills (110430) <> on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:20AM (#26117255) Homepage Journal

    "Trujillo's final dramatic quote to the analysts was "Nothing Stops Telstra"." (Business Spectator [])

    The man reeks of arrogance. Nothing good can come of letting the incumbant monopoly. I hope that Australia ends up with the network it really needs, rather than the one that Telstra has given them.

  • by ElAurian (133656) on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:45AM (#26117355) Homepage

    There's no L in Straya. Mate.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:46AM (#26117357) Journal
    "Senator Conroy's handiwork?" - I wish politics was that simple...

    1) Conroy rarely comments on the filter because he does not support it. The only reason a filter is being "trialed" is to placate senator Fielding from the "Family First" party who under certain circumstances can hold the balance of power in the senate. (ie: the govt of the day is buying his vote by spending ~$100K on his pet project). It's political theater that most people expect to see die in the senate (including Telstra, who called it a 'pipedream'). One of the IPS's who is taking part in the trial is iiNet who's CEO wanted to take part in order to "prove it was unworkable".

    2) The NBN has been in the works longer than Conroy has been in his position. When Telstra leaned it was not going to be handed the contract on a silver platter they very publicly refused to play by the rules of the tender. Personally I applaud both our current and previous governments for refusing to bend over for a large corporation.

    How does a religious nutter like fielding get elected in the first place? - Culled from wikipedia: "In Victoria, Family First, the Christian Democrats and the DLP allocated their senate preferences to Labor, in order to help ensure the re-election of the number three Labor Senate candidate, Jacinta Collins, a Catholic who has conservative views on some social issues such as abortion. In exchange, Labor gave its Senate preferences in Victoria to Family First ahead of the Greens, expecting Family First to be eliminated before these preferences were distributed. In the event, however, Labor and Democrat preferences helped Family First's Steve Fielding beat the Green's David Risstrom to win the last Victorian Senate seat and become Family First's first Federal parliamentarian."

    In otherwords Fielding was a pawn that nobody expected to win, let alone hold the balance of power! Now that he does, both sides of the house come knocking on his door in an attempt to sway his vote.
  • Re:No Competition? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:51AM (#26117371) Journal

    They submitted a 13 page 'proposal' at the last minute while (apparently) even the smallest of the bids were throughly detailed.

    Having been in The Machine before (what Australian contractor hasn't been that hungry at least once?) I suspect they simply couldn't get it together to make the bid. Sol decimated the Telstra bureaucracy. This is both good and bad; the latter because they have utterly no clue how to communicate internally any more. No way is that executive team going to do any bid work to that level any more, they just don't have it in them. Big isn't necessarily muscular. That dog is too old to go hunting.

  • Re:No Competition? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gideon Fubar (833343) on Monday December 15, 2008 @04:10AM (#26117457) Journal
    Yes, may. As opposed to have.

    Turns out that speculation about the future doesn't directly influence fact in the present, no matter how hopeful it is.
  • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Monday December 15, 2008 @04:15AM (#26117477) Journal

    Not to mention that most customers would prefer to spend their money on a vendor they can trust. With their saber rattling over regulatory constraints (and deregulation is not a popular song just now, is it?) using some fairly egregious terms, I doubt that anybody would want to spend money in Telstra's direction.

    You can only insult your customers so often before you lose their attention. We know at this point it would be simply good money after bad, just like the US Bush-era Information Superhighway spend. I don't care if the competition has its HQ in Singapore. Screw 'em if we can't get a decent ROI.

  • by deniable (76198) on Monday December 15, 2008 @05:23AM (#26117767)
    The government did ask for it. It was in the Request for Tender. Those things are iron-clad for a reason. If they don't bounce non-conforming tenders any slashdotter could submit a one-page proposal and expect equal treatment. Now, there's a thought.
  • Re:No Competition? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gideon Fubar (833343) on Monday December 15, 2008 @09:18AM (#26119027) Journal
    Point taken and noted ;)

    In this case though, the real story is that Telstra basically told the government they weren't going to bother with a FTTN network if they didn't get funding for it, and then made a token effort in the selection process. If Telstra don't make a new fiber network, it won't be because the government mandates it; They'll just be focusing on mobile and wireless stuff instead.

    Besides, i think it's pretty obvious that laws forbidding Telstra from building a network are pure speculation on the part of the poster. I really hope so anyway.

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