First World Country, Developing World Telecommunications

The telecom situation in Australia is appalling. Some things you can’t help like the size of the country versus the population distribution. But seemingly simple things like setting up a landline are absolutely infuriating. I’ve done a bit of research and it’s pretty obvious to me that there are 2 parties to fault for this sad situation, Telstra and the government. Telstra used to be the government owned national telecom company. Over the past 15 years or so Telstra was privatised in stages. The Australian government still owns a share in Telstra today. I can’t say whether it was the craftiness of Telstra or the general failure of the government but today Telstra has a monopoly over all physical telecom lines. If you want a line setup, you have to call Telstra.

You would think that since the government owns a part of Telstra and the fact that Telstra has a monopoly the government would implement some oversight and regulatory authority over Telstra but that hasn’t been the case. It seems that Telstra merely does whatever it wants when it wants. And due to this situation, Australia is extremely disconnected due to Telstra’s monopoly and exorbitantly high rates. The government here has authorized billions of dollars to build out a national broadband network (NBN) with one of the big mandates that it connect over 93% of the Australian population. Telecoms were invited to submit proposals to win the bid to participate in creating the NBN. Telstra’s proposal only included 90% of the population so they were not included in the final list of proposals that were accepted. Ever since then Telstra has been making moves to stall the NBN and screw over customers further by raising rates.

Telstra is known throughout the country for charging outrageous rates and having very poor customer service. They also have the most reliable service and best mobile coverage, however this mainly due to their monopoly and never-ending efforts to make it extremely difficult to use other service providers who are forced to use Telstra’s lines since there is no other option. I really can’t see why the government hasn’t broken up Telstra’s monopoly already.

I’ve been trying to get broadband access in my flat for weeks now and finally was able to one setup without having to contact Telstra. The order was put in on 12 Apr, our provider then requested Telstra to setup our phone line. Telstra didn’t respond till 18 Apr and said the earliest they can setup the line is on 28 Apr. 6 days till Telstra responded only to say that they couldn’t come for another 10 days! WTF! The fact that this is standard practice in Australia is downright appalling. I know people who live in developing countries who got their broadband lines setup in half the time.

Telstra, thank you for screwing over the Australian public and leaving the country’s telecom infrastructure in a very sad state.

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