Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sometimes it doesn't take long (amended)

Sometimes it doesn't take long to find new information that would have improved an earlier post. In NBN madness I noted that Telstra shareholders who thought they were buying a network that would be operational for 25 years were delusional.

Then I saw the this story from David Braue about his personal experience with broadband. Yes folks - ead what he says about the PSTN being fundamentally broken.

As an industry practitioner I can understand a lot of what is going on in he processes here. But to deliver customers both high speed service and provider choice the NBN will indeed be the solution.

But in the interim we should also note the way our crappy processes affect customers.

Another example was on offer today - this time on a mobile. In reality this should be more configured as a problem for the banks because at core it is the problem of declining payment on authorised regular debits because a credit card expiry date has been reached. Do the banks realise just how many suppliers we'd have to update? Could the banks offer us a service that provides us with an automatic authorisation update?

in this case it might also be a telco problem, because as an industry it actually has a core of debt problems and so often has harsh credit terms, or harsh terms imposed by its bankers.

I wrote about one such experience last year, and also about customer service and regulation. This is the motivation behind recent comments by ACMA chair Chris Chapman.

It will be nice if the industry can respond well.

1 comment:

ian said...

I am surprised that an industry insider would have bought T3.

I bought T1 (at close to my estimated maximum of its worth) - not because I thought the business was well run, but because I was counting on the inertia of its customer base.

Telstra has a excellent network, but its prices are excessive, except for heavy users. I have never understood why so many people do not go to its competitors.

On another point, it is easy to be wise after the event (I am referring to many of the commentators you quote). When competition was introduced everyone expected this to be in long distance and international, with future growth in mobile. Data was a growing segment, but largely confined to business, with only a small retail dialup market.

No one really expected the actual growth in mobiles. Telecom Australia's mobile network was expecting 100,000 customers. I still remember the amazement when the AMPS mobile customer base passed the 1,000,000 mark.

The legislation failed to anticipate the changes. The access network is and was a natural monopoly, but not a particularly profitable one. Its main role was seen as just providing access to the profitable parts of the network. Telstra successfully turned this around when internet access became a profitable product.

The PSTN is dead. Not because of any particularly Australian conditions, but as a result of technological and demographic changes.

Telstra would be rolling out its own NBN (or at least similar technology) now, and indeed will do so if it fails to negotiate a deal with NBN.
This is because this is now the most cost effective means of providing access, and other telcos around the world have started to do so.

It will be unfortunate (for society) if this happens - we don't need another fiasco like the duplicated HFC network.