Election 2010: what ISPs want

ISPs talk about the issues they want addressed in the upcoming election

Optus, Telstra and iPrimus have signed up for the interim filter but Lindsay saw that as nothing more than support for the Labor Party in the impending election.

“It’s not like there is a list ready to go and it’s not like there’s network infrastructure ready to go,” he said. “We’re talking about two of the largest telecommunication companies here [Telstra and Optus] in Australia.

“It is going to take them years to implement what they have committed to here and this is something that has been stitched up in order to attempt to kill a toxic issue in the election campaign.”

But even Lindsay admits rage against the filter is unlikely turn voters off Labor.

“Internet filtering is going to be a huge waste of time and money and that bugs me,” he said. “But having an NBN is more important to me than the Government trying to censor the Internet.

“That is a simplistic analysis but that is not to say if the Coalition introduced some sort of NBN that we should vote for it but it would be much easier to do so.”

Internode is sceptical of the $43 billion pricetag on the NBN but said the Government’s goal of building a wholesale only broadband network is “entirely admirable and worthy of support”.

The NBN also serves to quash Telstra’s dominance in the telco space as it effectively structurally separates the company by making it a retail service provider of the new network.

“Labor is going to put more pressure on Telstra to separate through the NBN but if the whole NBN process fails, then what?” Lindsay said. “But I can’t see the Liberal Government, in its current incarnation, actually applying enough pressure to ensure the separation of Telstra.

Adam Internet

For Adam Internet, certainty about the NBN’s future is at the top of its agenda.

The ISP’s managing director, Scott Hicks, is unnerved by the Opposition’s promise to scrap the NBN if they are elected.

“I think the policy that is in place at the moment with the NBN is the right way to do it,” he said. “… There is still heaps of challenges ahead but I still think the current plans are as close as you can get to a silver bullet is the solution that is proposed today.”

Sharing Internode’s sentiments, Hicks would prefer to see some clarity regarding the possible structural separation of Telstra.

“We are spending an absolute fortune debating things with Telstra at the moment, both through legal recourse and on my own private time,” he said, referring to unsavoury wholesale access arrangements with the telco giant.

“Telstra separation needs to be clear, whether it is happening or its not,” he said. “It’s the only way. You can’t have the Dracula in control of the blood bank; Its never going to work that way.”

When it comes to the mandatory Internet filter, Hicks doesn’t believe ISPs should be responsible for a national clean-feed. He also doubts the Federal Government commissioned report claiming a filter will not degrade the quality of Internet access.

But Hicks admits the Coalition isn’t winning him over on the issue of content filtering.

“They’ve really skipped [the filter issue] totally so far, like a lot of their policies,” he said. “… I want to try and remain political party neutral here but based on policies alone, at the moment, what I’ve seen when it relates to my business, Labor has the best solution.”

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Tags iprimusfilterAdam InternetinternodeNational Broadband Network (NBN)optusbroadbandTelstranetwork

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