Every now and then it seems prudent to remind ourselves why the National Broadband Network is necessary, by reacquainting ourselves with how screwed up the current Australian telecommunications industry is. Old mate Ben Barren provides in spades today, detailing yet another sorry story of monopoly and market failure.
BB's work is spectacularly difficult to parse in detail; in my experience, it is best to assume he knows what he is talking about and let his stream of consciousness wash over you to get the general effect, rather than get bogged down in his unique phrasings. (He's the reason Cliffs Notes were invented.) The story is one of Telstra owning the dominant mobile phone and data network hardware, at a scale so large that none has dared seriously challenge them for decades, and playing them like fiddles to control resellers within the ecosystem.
The NBN is not going to solve competition in the mobile network - at least, not in the short term - but this case is not materially dissimilar to the Internet service provider industry, which it will transform by turning Telstra into just another reseller. Gen Xers like me and Ben haven't known the broader telco industry to be any different in our adult lifetimes.Unfortunately Australian telecommunications market always tends towards these types of monopoly or at best oligopoly. But as Telstra has the only quality mobile network at the volume end of the market with an adequate level of performance (the NextG 3.5G network urban and regional reliable coverage in dense city and remote country areas) - mobile telephony is tending towards a monopoly.Just when you have a breakout such as Kogan’s $29 unlimited calls and text with 6gb mobile data, market forces are brought to eventually favour the monopolist not the consumer.
The NBN is Ethan Hawke, wearing that stupid daggy shirt but promising a much more interesting life than boring corporate dweeb Ben Stiller. Ethan is currently in Chicago attending his Dad's funeral, but hopefully he'll see the light and return home to start a beautiful relationship.