The telecommunication industry in Australia is experiencing a massive and rapid economic boom with various reports showing a great value of performance orientation by its respondents in the industry. The industry is mainly made up of businesses that provide telecommunication services to the public either by cable, wire or radio.
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The major activities of the telecommunication industry in Australia include internet services, operation of radio relay stations, telephone services, operation of television relay stations, teleprinter and telex services, network communication services, cable and communication channel services, and satellite communication services.
The industry is fundamentally event driven with diminutive execution of planning in areas other than finance or marketing.
The lack of planning is evident in contemporary Future Orientation with the conveyed desire for future orientation, but the introduction of intensive competition has recently promoted more product planning and the general business planning in the market.
However, elements such as size, novelty, and politics of the present-day industry environment has contributed in depicting planning less effective than otherwise expected.
The interference by such factors in the telecommunication industry has protected the free-to-air TV networks, and at the same time contributed to Australia’s holdup in rolling out high-speed internet access through the National Broadband Network initiative.
The ever changing market and technology has brought in a real forecast in the capitalization and elevation of Future Orientation, and this brings in the likelihood of Australia following the paradigm of America and other European countries in developing strategic mechanisms of capturing the market’s vast potential.
The growth and immense potential in this industry saw the planned roll out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) project, which is meant to take advantage of the existing economic and social opportunities in the digital sector.
While delivering an affordable, high-speed broadband to every corner of the Australian society, the project is projected to drive the country’s economy for decades to come by migrating from copper to the fibre optic network
When the Australian government went ahead with the privatization of Telstra, which is the country’s largest telecommunications company, there were major concerns on the contradictory role of the government as regulator and owner of the telecommunication giant.
Major concerns also remain in Telstra’s potential capability of abusing its monopoly power to impediment regulatory outcomes through belligerent use of its litigation. Delaying in making a satisfactory public bid for access to its network and inflating the prices of its wholesale services such as fixed and mobile network are some of Telstra’s alleged abuses.
In order to level the competitive telecommunication field, the Australian government instructed Telstra to separate its retail and wholesale arms for the NBN project. Telstra vehemently opposed this idea and the draft legislation that would separate its structures within its telecommunication network.
Regulatory and judicial proceedings still mar Telstra with numerous disputes with its competitors over access to its network rights. Despite this, various stakeholders have since entered the scene with ardent interest.
The NBN initiative is projected to create a network that will handle an assortment of data that is increasingly complicated, therefore amalgamating the media and the information technology industries with telecommunications.
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The media and communications industries has undergone through changes in its general corporate organization with mounting competition between media segments on the maximum gain and use of content being produced (Stuart Cunningham, Graeme Turner 4).
This means taking advantage of the capability to present and modify the same content on numerous platforms of delivery and distribution. By restricting concentration of ownership in broadcasting sectors, the ownership and control of media is regulated across the media.
Foxtel which has a substantial majority in the pay-TV market is half-owned by Telstra and the roll-out of the NBN project is seen to have rules and regulations that limit the number of providers, while shielding the incumbents against entry by neglecting diversity In Australia, all free-to-air television Programmes have a strict domestic content requirements through the Australian Broadcasting Services Amendment Act that require 10 percent of programme budgeting on new Australian drama programs (Ron Kirk 27).
Although traditional media has occasionally been warned on the radical changes they face with the development in the digital media arena, they have basically been absent from the debate surrounding the NBN project.
However, the National Broadband Network will generate new changes and options that will see media players taking leadership roles in search of trans-sector opportunities the NBN has to offer. They can possibly copy their archaic models onto the NBN brand via the wholesale services of a telco since they have a strong brand with millions of users.
Although it is not defined, foreign nationals seeking proposals that relates to portfolio shareholdings into the media industry are subjected to a ‘national interest test’ since foreign investment in the mass media is limited (Chang and Thorson 16).
Media stakeholders should therefore gear up to with mechanisms that will help them profit from their audiences with the convergence of media and internet-based technologies through high-speed broadband even as they continue to enjoy protection from outside competition. (Butcher 127).
Despite this projection, most media companies are still looking and grounded on their core competencies rather than stirring towards media innovation.
Advantages of Public owned Telecommunications towards NBN Rollout.
The NBN initiative will produce and promote a prevalent network that is competent in handling both broadband and narrowband requirements with equal adept in managing interactive and broadcasting services.
One feature of this project is that it involves and embraces the elaboration of neo-liberal views and ideas of economic regulation.
In this view, public ownership of telecommunication infrastructure and services is seen as a central point for national pride and sovereignty with a common feeling of owning a piece of a vital national infrastructure (Fairbrother 52).
Public views and ideas would initially be ‘measured at heart’ for the NBN project and this would douse any thought of manipulation by ‘outside’ parties, and also bring public calm with general accountability to the project.
Public ownership would not cultivate into the current climate of crisis brought about by the free market that would dictate the wages and conditions of each and every Australian. Public ownership of the NBN roll-out would basically promote a unified and coherent platform for the whole initiative.
Disadvantages of Public owned Telecommunications towards NBN Roll-out.
Since there is never a conclusive concept from the general public, such ownership would only promulgate indecisions and slothfulness into the implementation and completion of the NBN initiative.
According to the 2010 report by the Business Council of Australia, ‘’ the public ownership of the NBN initiative would elevate investor uncertainty with various companies rescheduling or withholding investments, and would only impede new technologies from getting into the market with the country’s general output falling behind ( 4) ‘’.
Such a scenario would only create ambiguity over NBN’s future operations.
Advantages of Private owned Telecommunication Infrastructures towards NBN Rollout.
International communication through telecommunications is rapidly becoming the backbone of trade, productivity, and the general business activities which are the linchpins of a growing, healthy economy (Mody, Bauer and Straubhaar 53).
Privatization in the telecommunication industry is seen as a catalyst to development with a significant input. In this view, the streamlining of the telecommunications industry in Australia has made it impossible to find public-owned telecommunication carriers due to the concept of deregulation and privatization.
This model is highly important because it will redefine the NBN initiative into from the typical public good, to a more global-oriented project that is competitive both domestically and internationally with a customer-driven service.
The Telecommunications industry is quite complex in technology and operations, and the only way that consumers can be better served is if more providers are included in the field. Consumers will be offered more competing products, prices, and services in order to meet the ever more diverse demands.
Such private owned companies are also capable of responding quite better to consumer demands than the public-owned corporations that may not act imperatively (Cunningham 151).
Sometimes such projects do halt due to lack of funds that can be brought about by underestimation or even the changing tides in commodity prices, and the telecommunication companies which are private-owned can quickly accumulate for these funds.
This means that the NBN initiative will flourish under long-term macroeconomic relief, and also can carry on and meet deadlines rather than wait for the tedious process associated with the public owned companies.
Generally through private ownership, the NBN project will see a proficient financing and management with the inclusion of professionals who bring real sustainable efficiencies to the whole project.
Privatization is therefore the more efficient solution to the sorry nature of most state-owned of telecommunication infrastructures with its limit on resources and the changing technological know-how.
Disadvantages of Private owned Telecommunication Infrastructures towards NBN Roll-out.
Private ownership of telecommunication systems in Australia will only bring distrust to the fore since it’s a product of an intrinsic capitalistic motive, and will also spread the adage that any control of information leads to the control of both political and economic procedures and the NBN project has not fallen short of such perception.
Since telecommunications is an important industry that connects every sector of the Australian society, it might be used by a single entity or group of companies to create an oligarchy of economical information which can snatch power from the government.
Such a scenario would reduce the government to a mere puppet, while these private entities continue to violate their power in the NBN initiative and act in their own interest neglecting Australian’s welfare (Chhokar, Brodbeck and House 320-331). This will greatly hinder the roll-out of the NBN project since Australia is a society which has a fair history of distrust in private ownership of infrastructure.
Private ownership of the NBN roll-out would not put public interest into consideration and the individual private companies would only be interested in generating shareholder’s profits at customer’s expense.
Privatization would also encourage manipulation and cover-ups of various inconsistencies associated with the NBN initiative since such organizational setups detest public scrutiny.
Privatization will allow foreign competitors enter the telecommunication market indiscriminately and would endeavor to servicing only wealthy businesses and individuals who can afford their expensive services.
In this event, the NBN initiative would therefore leave its core policy of universal service unsettled. It’s hypothetical for privatization to take place without liberalization since such profit-driven enterprises do operate as a monopoly in its selfish achievements that can prove untenable for the government to contain(Leahy and Michael O’Brien 2-5).
Australia is tremendously relying on the NBN initiative to face out its obsolete copper telecommunications network. The pendulum of opinions surrounding the NBN roll-out is due to its importance for the country’s economy, future development, and international competitiveness.
The apparent stratification in the Australian telecommunication industry is quite higher than desirable and is derivative of the existing socio-political level of attitudes.
The rapid restructuring in the industry is significantly affecting collectivism and power expanses, especially with the differing view between those who do not have the slightest clue of the impending changes and those that are knowledgeable of what is to come with the changes.
Although there are calls for either private or public investment in the telecommunications industry, it’s unfortunate that the processes have represented a vicious circle of events that is detrimental to both the economic and political systems.
The emerging picture from the NBN initiative and the general Australian telecommunications industry is the consistent socio-political values that underpin the economical importance of this project to the country at large.
If telecommunication laws are well designed implemented, it would reduce the general fear and uncertainty that accompany the dreary investment in the telecommunication sector. At the same time, Telstra and its competitors should learn in ways they can corporate and be diplomatic about their differences rather than the self-sacrificing we are now witnessing.
Even as the telecommunications industry undergoes through the intense process of change that seems endless, there is no doubt of the massive and infinite benefits that the NBN initiative will bring for generations to come.
Butcher, John. Australia under Construction: Nation-building Past, Present and Future. Canberra: ANU E Press, 2008. Print.
Chang and Andrew, Thorson. A Legal Guide to Doing Business in Asia-Pacific. Chicago: American Bar Association, 2011. Print.
Chhokar, Brodbeck and Robert House. Culture and leadership, across the world: The GLOBE Book of In-Depth Studies of 25 Societies. New York: Routledge, 2007. Print.
Cunningham and Graeme Turner. The Media and Communications in Australia. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2010. Print.
Cunningham, Stuart. The Media and Communications in Australia (Large Print 16pt). Crows Nest:ReadHowYouWant.com, 2010. Print.
Fairbrother, Peter. Privatisation, Globalisation, and Labour: studies from Australia. Leichhardt, NSW: Federation Press, 2002. Print.
Kirk, Ron. National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (25th Ed.). Pennsylvania: DIANE Publishing, 2011. Print.
Leahy and Michael O’Brien. Telecommunications Law and Technology in the Developing World. Volume 22, Issue 1. Boston College International and Comparative Law Review. 1999. Web.
Mody, Bauer and Joseph Straubhaar. Telecommunications Politics: ownership and control of the information highway in developing countries. New York: Routledge, 1995. Print.
N.p. Business Council of Australia. March: Submission on Draft Legislation for the National Broadband Company. 2010. Web.