Talk to Me! I LOVE VOIP. I worry about Telstra.

Voice over IP is the coolest thing since the invention of the telephone.

It will grow far quicker than the net.

It will be far more popular than the WAPs, iModes and other technologies.

It is the future, currently being offered by numerous companies, such as Skype, Vonage and Net2Phone.

The point is – why pay for a phone line physically connecting you to an exchange which then physically connecting you to another exchange which then physically connects to to the place you’re trying to call? In an analogue world, when wire had to touch another wire for a call to go through, then of course it was the only option.

zig.jpg
Out of the company and in the closet

But now, packets of information flow around the world at light speed, routed through any means, the quickest and most efficient with flow control and error correction. We’re talking a modular digital information flow.

Do you think Ziggy Switkowski fully understood this? The bloke was bright, yes, A PhD in nuclear physics, but as an opportunist, as a strategist the guy sucked. He was almost Bill Gates-esque in his inability to see the future develop (remember that in his 1995 autobiography, the Road Ahead, Gates failed to predict, or even mention the rise of the internet – he later updated the book to omit this massive misjudgement). Telstra will no longer survive as a company if it continues to covet it’s copper. It still thinks like a pipe company when it should be thinking like data communications company. It might sound logical, but to the Telstra management, they’re still stuck in the ages of public monopolies.

I have some questions which I’d like to throw out into the ether:

What has Telstra done about the threat of wireless ISPs and investment in mobile broadband networks (such as Unwired) bypassing the “last mile”?

What has Telstra done about reviving the once mighty Telstra Research Labs (TRL) and providing Aussie ingenuity with an outlet and opportunity for innovation and export income (not stupid investment in PCCW and Reach)?

What has Telstra done about the abysmal takeup of broadband in Aussie homes?

What has Telstra done about laying a public relations framework and on an organisational level, TRULY preparing itself for T3?

Why is it that Telstra has sat on its pile of cash and achieved bugger all during the greatest information boom in the history of the world? (Oh I forgot, they couldn’t buy Channel Nine or Fairfax so they bought the Trading Post).

Let’s hope the next CEO of Telstra will answer these questions and put together a philosophy for the company which will make it the BHP Billiton of communications and information. Further, we plead to the Federal Government to sell the company, quick sticks.

Constantine Frantzeskos

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