...or should that be - The Fear Of All Sums? (with apologies to Tom Clancy who also borrowed the phrase without ascribing its source).
And so the 'bun fight' begins or, if you prefer, Crazy Kevin/Stupid Steve release their "tender" for the building of a national data fibre network for home users around Australia.
Could ANY event in the history of Australia since Federation ever be this dumb? Or maybe I'm using the wrong word - "dumb" - maybe the better word would be "venal".
An American would recognise this "tender" for what it appears to be - a simple political payback to Telstra for its election support - I mean - no-one else can bid for it so it's just a $A5 billion gift from the 'bought' simpletons who now 'run' the country to the incumbent monopoly telecommunications provider.
In releasing their "tender" the dummies have just ended the deregulation of the telecommunications market in Australia that the previous government had attempted (badly) to achieve.
There will only be one bid and Crazy Kevin/Stupid Steve have reversed in one simple stroke the deregulation of the Australian communications market. ("but we're going to appoint a female Governor General and we apologised to the "stolen generation" and we signed the Kyoto protocol so we are a really good government for Australia").
Their stupidity, and venality are breathtaking but I suppose their thinking is that if Australians are stupid enough to vote them in to government they are also stupid enough not to notice that they have to pay back their election supporters just as Labor governments in every State and every Federal election have always done.
Personally I don't care as I, and Exetel, have nothing to lose in this piece of slimy backhanding. I'm pretty sure that Telstra will have to provide 'wholesale' access to the proposed FTTN and I'm also pretty sure that Labor paying over mega dollars to Telstra will result in the fastest possible building of the FTTN - not because of the Labor election promises (which will not be delivered on) but because Telstra will want to wipe out as much competition as possible before the Labor twinks wake up to what they've done - assuming they are still the government when the facts begin to emerge.
(I say that because I think Labor have just 'gifted' the Coalition parties the same election issue as "Work Choices" was in the last election.)
I think there'll be one fully conforming and fully costed in detail proposal submitted (from Telstra) and I think the Labor twinks will accept it and it will proceed with breath taking speed - for 70% of the residential households in Australia - my bet is between 18 months and 2 years for 70% coverage with 50% coverage within the first 6 - 9 months.
In the mean time those companies who wish to put additional DSLAM equipment in to Telstra's exchanges will find there is 'no more room' and 'no plans to add room in the future' until the effects of the FTTN roll out are determined.
Over the 9 months subsequent to Telstra being awarded their 'license to wipe out their competition' Telstra will 'negotiate' with Crazy Kevin to ensure that the wholesale access to the fibre network is even more difficult than the access to the copper network and more expensive.
Telstra will justify the high cost of services on the fibre and will make a logically sensible enough economic case to pull the wool over the eyes of a bunch of dummies who already have their eyes firmly closed.
Telstra will then use its usual smoke and mirrors tricks to convince the regulators that its 'special'/'promotional'/'early bird' bundled deals (at prices below the negotiated, very high 'wholesale' cost are completely legitimate thus ensuring that it actually ends up with a 90% market share of the FTTN users and everyone else loses money on their 10%.
Kerry Packer had his Alan Bond.
Telstra has their Labor Government
Both were bought very cheaply.
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