Earlier this week, my colleague James Hutchinson wrote in his blog entry that Wednesday, the final day for bids for Australia's national broadband network, was just another day in the circus that is the NBN.
Predictably, that circus shows no signs of slowing down.
Yesterday, Telstra lodged a bid to build and operate the NBN, after months of threatening not to do so. Well, that depends on what your definition of "bid" is, of course.
Telstra lodged a "proposal" that didn't comply with many of the governments criteria.
It would see any potential broadband network built by Telstra covering 80-90 per cent of the Australian population. One of the government's criteria was that the NBN must cover at least 98 per cent of the population.
In addition, Telstra proposed a charge of $39.95 per month for a 200MB download quota and speeds of 1Mbps. I'll repeat that again: $39.95 per month for a 200MB download limit, with speeds of just 1Mbps. No, that isn’t an error. This proposal seems ridiculous and plain arrogant.
Is it honestly a surprise though? Not to us. And not to too many other Australians either. As an example, Telstra's Next G mobile phone network offers excellent coverage (no surprise when you own all the infrastructure, right?), but the costs are much higher than the competition.
Telstra apologists will point to the fact that users will and should pay a premium for a quality service, but that isn't the issue. Proposing speeds of 1Mbps and download quotas of a paltry 200MB when countries around the globe wouldn't even know what a download quota is and would associate 1Mbps speeds with the Stone Age — now that’s pathetic.