Telstra moaning: the media finally catch up

It seems the media has finally caught up with the real story behind Telstra's rants and raves. If I were a conspiracy-minded person, I'd suspect that the proprietors were waiting until Telstra had booked all those lucrative full-page ads before reporting the story. Much more seriously, it's because the media really doesn't get the telco business.

For the benefit of foreign readers, Telstra is the incumbent telco in Australia. UK people think BT with a much more toothless regulator (LLU is still something of a dream here). Americans think if AT&T hadn't been broken up and was still in control. Telstra are frothing at the mouth in an attempt to get the government, in an election year, to make some kind of grubby deal that entrenches Telstra's monopoly and locks out their competitors. Fortunately, and this is unusual for our current government, they've stared them down so far.

And so today we have Why we all hate Telstra, where Mark Pesce (the guy with the American accent who's introduced, cringe-worthily, as a "futurist" on The New Inventors) bemoans the pathetic Internet access in this country. "Everyone in Australia's internet industries hates Telstra, ranging from quiet passive-aggressive fury to spit-the-dummy, foaming-at-the-mouth passion", he says. Something that certainly mirrors my experience.

I remember back when my brother and I got our first phone line installed, paying $300 (this is 17 years ago, so it was a substantial amount of money back then) to get the line installed, then coughing up $30 a month in "line rental". For this exorbitant fee, we were guaranteed nothing in terms of data speed. If our modem couldn't get top speed, tough luck. Telstra claims it invested to build the network. That's just crap, we the consumers paid through the nose for it!

Next is an anonymous editorial from the Courier Mail, Bully boy amigos which interestingly picks up on the xenophobic aspect of Telstra's advertising. Every time they mention Optus or the G9, they never fail to include the terms "foreign owned" or call it "Singtel-Optus", a formal name never used with consumers. What I always found ironic is that this is coming from foreigners Sol Trujillo, the CEO, or the PR flack Phil Burgess, both of whom are foreigners. It's quite amusing seeing them go for the jingoistic approach when they're both "not from 'round here".

So it seems the tide is turning. People are sick of the hysterical ranting from Telstra. I wonder if they're smart enough and will change the tone of their campaign?