Five years ago Fry Up attended a Local Loop Unbundling party. It was held at the end of an explosive week in telco land. A leaked cabinet paper had revealed the then Labour government was going to open up the copper network to competition and operationally separate Telecom.
What a celebration. Slingshot CEO Annette Presley toasting the change, ihug CEO Mark Rushworth talking up the possibilities for the gutsy ISP. And who was the person dashing between clusters of small talk – none other than Tex Edwards from Econet telling anyone who would listen it was time to regulate the mobile market.
LLU came too late to save Telecom (ironic really, because if it had unbundled earlier there would have been a more competitive telco market and the momentum that swept operational separation regulation into being might not have occurred, nor the $1.5 billion National party promise to fund an alternative fibre network).
But post–LLU Telecom set to and spent millions on a fibre to the node network, which will reach 86 percent of premises by the end of the year (how anyone thought the government could ignore this in its deliberations over who would get the Ultra Fast Broadband, is anyone’s guess, take a bow Dr Freeth, you were right).
This week Minister Steven Joyce finally slayed the Telecom beast. He announced that Chorus has 70 percent of the UFB build and this means the telco will have to rip itself in two.
Shaken and stirred
But is it time for a party? The mood out there is sombre. The players in the deals are tired, it has been long and tough we are told – Crown Fibre Chair Simon Allen told Fry Up the contracts for Telecom and Enable took an hour to print on a high-speed printer (clearly not thinking of the environment).
And there is still so much work to be done and really the margins are being squeezed so tight for all concerned. So if there is no champagne flowing it is because they can no longer afford it (no one can whine like a telco can wine). So not a knees up but maybe time for a Friday cocktail. It can’t be a coincidence that the recipe for a UFB has an eerie similarity to the recipe for a dry martini* (7 parts gin, 1 part vermouth, garnish with olive).
7 parts Chorus
1 part lines company to keep them honest (will dilute as Telecom invests)
Garnish with $600 million of public money, the amount the tax payer will have forked out by the end
*Mixology advice from The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury. The son of Methodist clergyman and a tax lawyer, Embury is considered the most important cocktailian author of the twentieth century.
Shock, horror, Auckland City IT going to cost a bomb
The NZ Herald reports that the Auckland Council needs $300 million over eight years for a new Super City computer system. Apparently councillors voted for an extra $43.2 million in this year's budget to go towards the millions required to merge IT systems.
The latest twist in the strange tale of Auckland IT won’t come as a shock to regular Computerworld readers, who have followed the saga through the work of Rob O’Neill and Ulrika Hedquist.
They work until they pass on
The writers at Musalman – possibly the last remaining handwritten newspaper in the world - never quit. They work until they pass on. Fry Up raises a glass to these dedicated scribes of the ancient art of Urdu calligraphy in South India.