Waiting on a missed connection: government intervention required for Australian high speed broadband

Government intervention will be required to give Australian households super-fast fibre, writes Lucy Battersby.As summer spreads across Scandinavia, thousands of Norwegians will take to the garden with a shovel, digging a trench between their house and a metal box at the end of their street.Altibox, owned by the electricity provider Lyse, has found an ingenious solution to the prohibitive costs of installing fibre broadband to suburban and regional areas. It offers customers a $450 discount on installation costs if they dig a trench between their premises and the fibre node at the end of the street. So far about 136,000 households, or about 80 per cent of their customer base, have got their hands dirty.

The researchers were particularly impressed with France’s approach to telecommunications, and not just the ideological judgments. The French regulator cracked down on anti-competitive behaviour by the incumbent, France Telecom, in 2002, such as predatory pricing, discriminating against competitors’ access to local exchanges and charging competitors excessive labor costs.Since then the average monthly access price in France has fallen from 17€ to 8€ and broadband subscriptions have increased from 3.7 million to 18.7 million.The French government has not directly invested in broadband infrastructure, but is set to raise between €80 to €100 billion for municipal governments to spend on communications infrastructure.To read this report in The Sydney Morning Herald in full, see:
www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/waiting-on-a-missed-connection-20100830-13y07.html

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