Is Telecom NZ a good corporate citizen?

, posted: 29-Mar-2006 09:44

The Australian's IT section talks about Telstra being quizzed by a parliamentary committe on if it's a good corporate citizen, which is intriguing. Over there, Telstra hasn't got anywhere near the dominant position that Telecom enjoys in New Zealand, yet the Aussies are concerned about its behaviour.

A similar inquiry here, which would look into large corporations interests beyond those of their shareholders, would be a good idea. As one of the largest corporations in New Zealand Telecom needs to understand that its government-protected monopoly position comes with responsibilities as well as easy earnings. It's not just a "sweatable" asset for Telecom, and I think it's high time the public through its elected representatives delivered that message to Theresa and Rod.

There's just one problem with the idea though... our elected representatives have so far shied away from tackling Telecom in any meaningful way. When I've talked to parliamentarians across the political spectrum about this the response has been a sort of mumbling wait and see - you definitely get the feeling that MPs are afraid of Telecom, and don't want to go anywhere near the issue. I don't know what's behind the fear, but looking at what's happened in the past, you can see that Telecom has pretty much been able to ignore all attempts at reining it in.

Paul Hewlett wrote an exhaustive piece on how New Zealand telecommunications were deregulated that covers the years up until 2000. It's long and detailed, but worth a read and goes some way to explain why for instance the Commerce Commission is pussy-footing around Telecom currently.

Going back to Australia, Telstra has not had Telecom's easy regulatory ride. Why are we doing things so differently across this side of the Tasman?

Other related posts:
TDD vs FDD for LTE
Huawei TDD LTE demo aboard the Shanghai MagLev train
Apropos that new Telecom logo

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