Telstra Privatisation

Should the Australian government sell all its 51.05 percent of Telstra?

One "promise" by the coalition party is the privatisation Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunication company that is currently having a monopoly on the copper network infrastructure. Yesterday, Tim Costello of Liberal said that it would be delayed until at least 2006, and today John Anderson of National is in the position not to rush the sale. While most broadband users in Australia would cry out "sale sale!", and in general understanding a private enterprise is more efficient than a government one, I do see reasons why Telstra's privatisation should be delayed.

I guess for someone living in metro area it does not really matter. A lot of things we simply take for granted - water, electricity, public transportation, and also our telecommunication needs. No so with those who live in the middle of no where - where the majority of Australia is. Once an enterprise has been privatised, its mission would become getting as much earning per share as possible, instead of serving each individual especially the unprivileged, like what a government organisation should have done.

As someone living in the Sydney Eastern suburbs, I can be ignorantly saying, "forget about the rural area - just serve me and I will give my money to you!" A fully privatised company would perform most of its activities near where the money is - phrase in ADSL2+, lay optical cables in highly populated suburbs, etc. But, by inviting Telstra to work on where the money is, are we selfishly denying the farmers living in the rural Australia from getting their telecommunication infrastructure fixed?

Proverbs 31:8-9 8 Open your mouth for the mute,     for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,     defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Prioritisation should indeed wait until the telecommunication facility in the rural area has been updated. However, I do not think Telstra Wholesale, the enterprise that is responsible for most of our nation's infrastructural need, should ever be solely profit driven. We should, however, split up Bigpond (the retail arm of Telstra) from Telstra Wholesale and fully privatise that instead, in order to eliminate any potential anticompetitive activities. Let Telstra continue to build Australia up, but let retail ISP's compete equally.