FryUp: Share the wealth: Million dollar waste

Top Stories: - Share the wealth, share the pain - The million dollar blunder

Top Stories:

- Share the wealth, share the pain

- The million dollar blunder

- Share the wealth, share the pain

The telecommunications share obligation (TSO) is the document that governs all those lovely goodies that Telecom was forced to commit to when it bought the old Post Office infrastructure all those years ago. Things like free local calling and rural users not to be charged more than urban and so on.

Now the TSO cost has to be worked out so that the other telcos can pay their fair share, and that's a good thing.

Telecom worked out the numbers, and keep in mind this is the estimate for how much it costs to keep the commercially non-viable customers (CNVCs) connected, and came up with $450 million a year.

The commissioner sent Telecom back to the drawing board and after re-evaluating the cost of finance, it reduced the number by about half. Not good enough, said the commissioner, dealing a further blow by saying he isn't going to use Telecom's model for working out the TSO cost at all.

On the one hand, you have the cost of keeping customers on the network who just aren't profitable. Telecom's forced to keep its service to them at a certain level so surely Telecom should be compensated for that?

On the other hand, it's a national network and every company that services such a broad area has to consider the cost of pulling out of the marginal points of presence. The closure of post offices, hospitals and schools has made headlines for all the right reasons - they're needed in these areas to keep the community alive. We need those communities because, let's face it, we're a farming nation still and farmers tend to be remote.

Vodafone has a national network. Part of the problem with that is that it's required to put a cell site or two up in remote parts of the land that nobody really uses on the off chance that I go there on my summer holidays and will complain if I can't get service. It's just something that Vodafone has to put up with if it wants to have a national network.

Telecom is in the same boat. Actually, it's in a much bigger boat because it's not only saying "remote customers are bad, mmmkay?", it's also saying "remote customers are really good, mmmkay?" by pitching for the government's Project Probe tenders and by signing up with Fonterra to provide broadband to the regions.

The commissioner has called for discussion on this matter - there will be a draft determination and then more discussion and a final ruling later this year. Fur will fly in the meantime.

Commission slams telco TSO model - Computerworld Online

Undervaluing TSO will strangle Telecom, says Parkes - Computerworld Online

- The million dollar blunder

A million bucks. What could you do with a million bucks?

You could live on it quite comfortably for the rest of your life, that's what you could do, just by investing it in some slow return fund.

You could buy a McLaren F1 car - but you couldn't insure it.

You could almost buy two of the scanning devices that Auckland Hospital has just bought for its neurosurgery department that allow the surgeons to see what they're doing as they cut into your brain. This is quite important I believe.

You could also buy a domain name if you were really bloody stupid and didn't care where your money went.

Oh look - that's what's happened. For the domain name the government in the form of Trade New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand has spent $1 million, after unsuccessfully trying to grab it from the rightful owners.

Do you know how much domain names sell for these days? You can pick up a name for under $50.

Let's not forget that we already have an online marketing presence in the form of Pure NZ on which we've spent millions and that in this day and age nobody cares what domain name you have so long as they can find it on Google.

Sometimes I think government departments forget that they're part of a larger picture and that while a million bucks might not be much to a health system or to a tourism branding campaign or even to a conservation programme, to the individuals who make up this country a million dollars would make all the difference in the world.

This was a bad call, on top of a bad call. It smacks of government officials believing they are civil masters rather than civil servants and sends the message that they're completely out of touch with the rest of the country. It ranks up there with trying to change Starship Hospital's name simply because it wasn't your idea in the first place.

You all have better things to do with your time, you in government. For instance, you could try communicating with your other government departments a little more frequently. Perhaps then you'd have seen the report written for the Ministry of Economic Development which said this kind of move is unnecessary.

The million dollar domain name blues - Computerworld Online

Cybersquatters Thrive While Taxpayers Suffer - Aardvark

- A great review of what other countries have done to secure their names

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