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Tech Talk Radio Show 17 of 2009
Transmission date: April 27, 2009

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Ep 17: TTR Ep 1709: Blue Track, Babyshakers, iPhones and iPods make Apple recession proof, Ice TV's High Court win over the Nine Network, Win7 RC date announced, Firefox patches and more...

April 27 , 2009

With the pending roll out of Australia’s National Broadband Network, the shake up and fall out of the telecommunications industry continues. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the project would be fast tracked, meaning the construction of the backhaul component of the project, that is, the telecommunications links that connect suburbs together could start as early as September this year.

The announcement a few weeks ago by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that the Government would ‘go it alone’ in building the network came as a surprise to many, and probably none more so, than the current players in the Australian Telecommunications Landscape.

The government would create an entity to roll out the NBN which would be 51% government owned, leaving the remaining 49% open for interested parties to buy into the project to a level of no more than 15%.

Many rejoiced in the realization that this would be the end of Telstra’s monopolistic approach to communications in Australia, others in the fact that this was the largest infrastructure project in Australia for decades. Parallels were drawn to the building of the snowy river scheme and the national road system.

The reality is that the copper that runs to every house in Australia, is about to be replaced with a fibre optic in the next several years, moving Australia well and truly into the modern, connected world of the 21st century. A delivery platform that should last well and truly beyond our life times. But let’s look at the current dilemmas faced by the telcos.

Telstra has never been as quite as they are right now. With the exodus of the three amigos and their hench men, and the governments new NBN plans, the monopolistic and arrogant attitude of the company is being humbled by the leveling of the playing field, something that Telstra has never had to deal with until now.

Separation of Telstra’s retail and wholesale businesses is almost a certainty something that the telco has been dead set against for the past few years, in fact, it was the underlying reason why it didn’t tender a valid bid to build the NBN. It wanted a guarantee from the government that it wouldn’t be separated a guarantee that was not forthcoming.

The NBN announcement has also had a major impact on the business plans of smaller telcos. ISP IPrimus has all but given up the installation of new DSLAMs, now preferring to quadruple its coverage area for ADSL2+ by doing a deal with Telstra to resell its ADSL2 products. This begs the question What about the other ISPs?

What incentives do they now have in rolling out expensive DSLAMs on a copper network which will soon be redundant. Will other ISPs go the way of IPrimus? If so, what happens to competition in the next 5 years or so, will Telstra win by default? Time will tell, but it seems that the rocky road of broadband in Australia will remain unmade for the next few years at least.

Also on the show this week:

Adam Turner takes a look ICE TV’s high court win over the nine network
It was Google last week, this week it’s Microsoft’s turn for profits head south
Apple red faced over an offensive game which made it to their online store
We find out all about the technology behind Blue Track