Big trouble in little China

Big trouble in little China

It was hard to escape the coverage of the handover of Hong Kong to China last week. In the days leading up to the event on 30 June, the story topped news bulletins for days. But it was hardly the stuff that would have any major impact on our lives - especially the lives of us in the IT business.

Something was happening far closer to home that would have a much greater impact on us. Yet it received very little coverage.

The same day the Brits were hauling down their flag and the Chinese were running theirs up the pole, Australia became a deregulated market for telecommunications.

There was very little comment on the move. Telstra's MD, Frank Blount, said Australia was set to become the most hotly contested market for telecommunications services in the world.

Both telecommunications watchdogs said they were on the ball. The Australian Communications Authority said it would swiftly look into complaints of anti-competitive behaviour. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which has become the competition regulator, said it would also be vigilant.

But the best comment came from The Australian Consumer Association. It was reported as saying that not everyone will benefit from the open wires policy.

The association said that while there are clear benefits to deregulation, the benefits of competition may flow only to those with commercial accounts or in high-density areas.

That sounds like good news for network resellers.

But it will mean increasing the workload as you try to find which of the competing carriers to use for the WANs you are putting together.

It could also mean a testing time as end users dispute which carrier you have elected to choose - claiming it would be cheaper to use another. With up to 30 new carriers predicted to start soon, that could be tricky - trickier than negotiating the handover of Hong Kong.

John Costello

Tel (02) 9902 2778ÊFax (02) 9438 2410

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