01/06/2004 - 22:00

Last-mile access a critical factor

01/06/2004 - 22:00

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TECHNOLOGY and Industry Advisory Council spokesman Rob Meecham told those at the WA Business News luncheon that access to existing telecommunications infrastructure already in the ground remained problematic as it was too costly for businesses to access.

Last-mile access a critical factor

TECHNOLOGY and Industry Advisory Council spokesman Rob Meecham told those at the WA Business News luncheon that access to existing telecommunications infrastructure already in the ground remained problematic as it was too costly for businesses to access.

“There are hundreds of megabytes of capacity sitting in the ground that are just not being used,” Mr Meecham said.

“Some of my knowledge is a bit outdated in terms of Fremantle, but we know that we had 100 megabytes coming into the building, which we can’t use because we can’t afford to switch it on.

“One assumes that Telstra has professional managers making commercial decisions that are finely tuned.

“I heard someone quote a figure the other day that if Telstra was able to get its current market price for all the cable that is in the ground it would recover its investment in about 20 seconds.

“There is a fantastic amount of cable in the ground. Telstra doesn’t make that capacity available because of the commercial decisions it makes on the balance between making that capacity available and its operating prices.

“If far more of that capacity that is actually there sitting in the ground, not switched on and not being used, was available to our economy, how much more successful would our economy be? How much more productive would our economy be?

“Three per cent of the fibre that is in the ground is actually switched on and being used.

 “If we make more available, our returns are not going to be high enough to make that cable more available.

“Telstra is sitting there and managing the availability.

“The point, simply, is that if access was available to the physical hardware that is in the ground, our economy may be functioning far more effectively.”

Amcom chief operating officer Clive Stein agreed.

“Isn’t that is what it is all about? The last mile when we are talking about the metro area,” Mr Stein said.

“You can have as much infrastructure in the ground, but if it doesn’t connect to the residential consumer it doesn’t have any relevance to the consumer as to what capacity is being used because it is really about accessing the customer.

“So if, for instance, those businesses in Malaga don’t have access, which they didn’t, there is no benefit and in fact they could turn on as much as they want, but it is the last-mile access that really makes the difference.”

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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