The Howard Government and Telstra were each singled out as major inhibitors to Australia's digital progress in an address given last week by IT industry analyst Paul Budde.
According to Budde, Australia now stands as "one of the only countries in the world" without any regional information technology infrastructure. "We are so far behind the rest of the world it's mind-boggling," he said.
Budde estimates that Australia's ISP industry is lagging roughly four years behind its overseas competitors. The cause of this, he believes, is Telstra's deliberate delaying of high-speed cable Net access and the Government's effective blocking of digital television legislation, which Budde described as "pre-Stalinist".
He accused the Government of deliberately stifling all advancements in digital television to satisfy unreasonable commercial requirements of private datacasters.
Furthermore, he complained that Telstra refused to embrace the possibility of radically new pricing models that would emerge as a result of constantly connected broadband Internet.
Budde believes that broadband Internet will see Net access become free, with charges likely to be embedded in online content sales.
Budde claims that although overall carrier operational costs are only 1 per cent of what they were 10 years ago, consumers have seen pricing decreases of as little as 25 per cent over the same period. Rather than using increasing profits to invest in nationwide broadband deployment, Budde believes our largest telco carriers are using funds to deploy vertical e-commerce technologies, making customer transactions 35 per cent more expensive.