FryUp: Of Telecom and Government

Top Stories: - Telecom gets tizzy with it - Government gets virtual

Top Stories:

- Telecom gets tizzy with it

- Government gets virtual

- Telecom gets tizzy with it

In news just to hand, Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung chastises all New Zealanders for not simply direct crediting their wages to Telecom accounts.

"You owe us. You know you do. Pay up, you freeloaders," says Gattung from her bunker in Wellington. Office. Office in Wellington.

I'm sorry but the noises Telecom made about rural installations, the TSO and Telstra's chairman was the most spectacular hissy fit I've seen since I told my seven-month old daughter she couldn't play with the cables at the back of my PC. Talk about lose the plot.

It's like this. Telecom, if you don't want to provide service, don't. Someone else will be happy to. What's that you say? But the government demands services in exchange for selling you the local loop? Well there's a simple answer to that, as I've mentioned before. We'll have it back, thanks.

Threatening to stop maintaining or upgrading the network is childish. Complaining about the new regime being unfair is childish. Dragging your feet for six months in negotiations over residential line resale is childish. Decrying your competitors/customers for not being nice to you is childish. You've also upset the government now. Fresh from his "successes" with the teachers and the rugby world cup, Trevor Mallard is clearly itching for a win. He's keen to wade in and sort the whole thing out for you. Don't say we didn't warn you.

TelstraClear is (ahem) clearly loving this whole thing, though. I have to admit I detect a certain glee in the press release announcing the latest round of "off to the commissioner's office you go". TelstraClear wants to offer one-bill services, but to do that it has to disentangle Telecom's grip on the line rental and maintenance bill we all get each month. Telecom will still collect the money but from TelstraClear instead of us, should we choose to switch. TelstraClear gets to offer a one-stop shop, just the way Telecom does now, for all things communicable. Cellular, toll, local call, rental, ISP - all on the one bill.

Customers like that kind of thing. It makes life easier for them. Telecom knows this - its ability to bundle services in such a manner was one of its deal breakers when negotiating the new telecommunications share obligation with the government.

The Telecommunications Act seems pretty clear on this. Telecom must wholesale this kind of capability to any telco that wants it. The problem seems to be centred around who will be responsible to whom should something go wrong. Fair enough, but six months is a long time to be negotiating.

I don't care how they do it in Australia either, Theresa. Get over it. Yes, they fight nasty over there. Yes, Telstra has treated everyone appallingly and, yes, they're laughing at you. They're also mad none of the Aussie women CEO made it to the Fortune list when you did, so best take the dignified high ground here.

TelstraClear gets backing over approach to commissioner - IDGNet

Premature end to TSO meeting not necessarily bad - IDGNet

Telecom, what were you thinking? - IDGNet

Gattung comes out swinging at results briefing - NZ Herald

Telecom prepared to move on phone costs - NZ Herald

Telecom posts $146m first_quarter profit - NZ Herald

New TSO figure from Telecom could be half original estimate - IDGNet

Vodafone closing in on Telecom for mobile customers - Stuff

- Government goes virtual

Speaking of government, it's finally launched its long-promised portal.

I hate that word. A portal is a grand entranceway (and something to do with the liver). This is a website. It has links to many other websites, sure, but don't they all?

This one will eventually be the first port of call for any interaction you may wish to have with government, short of actually voting. Want to badger your MP? Go to the portal. Need to know about work permits or visas or how to register a birth, death or marriage? Go to the portal. Want to find a walking track in the Marlborough Sounds that allows you to take your dog and doesn't charge you for access but is close to a winery? You got it -- go to the portal.

The site is designed to run happily over the slowest connection, so it's a tad bland to look at and very much text-based. Long lists of options lead to more pages of text, so it can be a bit daunting, especially since the font size seems so tiny on my monitor. All told, though, it's a valuable resource.

Currently there aren't many interactive options. You can't pay your tax bill or things like that and it doesn't link to legislation online -- though some of that's at http://www.legislation.govt.nz -- and we should see more functionality added as time goes by.

The search engine, part of the reason for the delay in the launch, is far superior to the old site's search capability. It actually finds things that are remotely relevant to the terms of the search. The old one gave up looking for things a long time ago and just returned 100 pages chosen at random.

My favourite part of the site, however, is the "participate in government" section, where you can have your say on issues and proposals they are "currently consulting on" . Clicking on the link brings up ... a blank page with a link to archives of previous participatory schemes. Clicking on that link brings up ... a blank page. Not only do they not want your opinion now, they never did! Hopefully this page will be, er, populated with things as time goes by.

PM plugs in portal - IDGNet

New web portal for government services - NZ Herald

Government website opens access worries - NZ Herald

Government portal

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