I’ve always liked the idea that the web is there for everyone. That no matter where you are from if you have access to the web you can find out just about anything or go just about anywhere right from your own little corner of the web.

What I dislike about the web here in Australia is that access to it is controlled by an oligopoly and that these few sellers are further restricted and even hampered by the lack of infrastructure. This situation is compounded by the fact that the majority of the available infrastructure is controlled by a previously wholly government owned giant.

What I dislike even further is the exorbitant cost these Telco’s charge for such a poor product. Most people, Australians at least, have seen the series of Telstra Bigpond® ads with the iconic Aussie Battler and his son talking about getting Broadband. A few have even made it onto YouTube:

This ad portrays the need for his family, and many other Australian families for that matter, to have broadband services. The series goes through a couple of versions, one where they are on the road and, after a suggestion they find the all the words to a classic song, experience wireless broadband access courtesy of their passenger and another where they go around to someone else’s place and “borrow” broadband access.

I think these last two sum up well the situation for quite a few Aussies in that despite the need for broadband, many just cannot afford it, especially Bigpond’s version.

Of late I have noticed that there has been a slight change in the spiel about coverage in that it is no longer 98% of Australia covered but 98% of the Australian population covered.

There have been many justifications supplied for the continued sell off of the once publicly owned Telstra. One of which is that it would be required to improve the ailing infrastructure throughout Australia. Of late this giant is often seen in the news acting like a spoilt child when it comes to its equipment. Often times sprouting the reason for lack of investment into the infrastructure is that it does not want others to be allowed to play with its toys.

I recently received a pamphlet via snail mail where this giant sets about to blame everybody else for the reason that “Australia is being left behind in high-speed broadband.” However this is different to the PDF version that is floating around which is headed “Broadband is ‘a disgrace’ ”

This pamphlet has us ranked 17th out of 30 developed countries in broadband penetration and 25th in the world in available bandwidth. All this placed beneath the capitalised red title “AUSTRALIA IS MISSING OUT” It goes on to claim that the government and regulators are not giving it a fair go. It then hits us with what any business or savvy internet user already knows and that is a list of reasons as to why high–speed broadband is so important.

To add injury to insult it then tells us to get up off our collective butts and whinge to everyone and anyone, other than themselves, in an attempt to get this problem fixed.

Well I am sorry Telstra but this is something that you yourselves have forced on the people of Australia and it is up to you to pick up your game and to improve the situation. If you cannot, or are unwilling to, do this then the government should step in and remove ownership of the infrastructure to an independent (Publicly owned?) organisation so that all players are on an even keel.

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