Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Dear Ministers

Honorable David Cunliffe, Honorable Paul Swain,

I would like to congratulate the Labour party's efforts to drag the country back to the dark ages with your communications and information technology policy.

Last year you had an opportunity to create a competitve and exciting ICT environment in New Zealand that would be beneficial to the economy. The Labour party's decision not to unbundle the local loop makes you culpable for a significant portion of the tens of millions of dollars that were likely lost today as a result of the communications failures that impacted the whole country. I personally have had reports of service failures from Dunedin to Auckland - and across a wide spectrum of services (internet, mobile, PSTN, EFTPOS and others).

I am in fact wondering if you had some advance notice of today's impending failure. Clearly you knew in advance that your policy decisions were going to create some challenges ahead.

It is highly ironic, that the $10.4 million announced in the recent budget for improving business productivity was probably lost in one foul swoop today. Businesses closed, EFTPOS failed around the country, the sharemarket was closed.

Now, why am I linking this to the decision not to unbundle the local loop, and why am I blaming it on you? Had you decided to implement LLU, you would have created a truely competitive telecommunications environment. Telecommunications companies would invest in networking infrastructure, and more options would be provided to businesses and consumers - including the ability to diversify telecommunications providers.

Instead, we got Unbundled Bitstream Service (UBS) as a weak attempt to expand broadband in New Zealand. Unfortunately there is a major failing with UBS - the actual service is still provided by Telecom! This is significant when you consider that in June 2004, over 80% of broadband in New Zealand was provided by Telecom. UBS does nothing to decrease our reliance on a single provider - there is little diversification, as was evidenced by the near total coverage of Telecom's faults all over the country today.

The decision not to implement LLU means that we will never see a practical alternative to Telecom step up to the plate to provide telecommunications services to businesses in New Zealand.

Clearly the phrase "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" never sunk in did it?

It is unfortunate that most people won't recognise the delicious irony that one of the failures occured in the Rimutaka electorate. Would it have been too much to ask that the other occured in New Lynn? The loop would then have been complete.

Regards Bernard

Unsuprisingly, I'm not expecting a reply ;)


Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Silly Me...

Thank you for your e-mail message. Ministers receive a considerable volume
of correspondence, but the points you have raised will be considered and a
further response may be provided

... and ...

On behalf of Hon David Cunliffe, we acknowledge receipt of your email.
Thank you for the information you have provided.

6/21/2005 01:28:00 AM  
Blogger David Farrar said...

To be fair to Paul Swain, he actually recommended to Cabinet they do unbundle the local loop. Cabinet (ie Helen) over-ruled him.

6/21/2005 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

I realise that, I blogged about that on the post on Labour Scandals a few months back. However, as the Ministers responsible for Communications and ICT they are still ultimately answerable to problems caused by not unbundling the local loop. Perhaps I should forward a copy to Helen...

6/21/2005 02:48:00 PM  

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