blog One can’t help but be disappointed to see former Optus executive and now Member for Bradfield Paul Fletcher on Sky News over the weekend questioning whether the rollout of the National Broadband Network will force higher costs on basic voice telephone services — or even calling directory assistance. Quoth Fletcher:
“Will people end up paying more for basic voice services? So when the government comes knocking on your door saying ‘we’re going to turn off your existing phone service — you’ve got to take a new one’, if that means a higher voice price, then there’s a range of other retail political issues.”
Now, I have always respected Fletcher for both his integrity and his opinions. But frankly, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion right now that the MP is barking up the wrong tree when it comes to criticising the NBN on the basis of basic services. When you roll out fibre internet around the nation and start providing broadband services at 1Gbps, the provision of “basic voice services” at an affordable price is the least of your problems. Basic voice telephony will be virtually free at that point (through Skype, Google Talk etc).
Fletcher is demeaning his technical background by focusing on such a pointless argument. You don’t debate the cost of placing a call to Dubbo when the Government is talking about technology that can enable high-definition video-conferencing to every home in Australia. It’s that simple.
Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull