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Progress, At Last

Entry 319, on 2006-05-04 at 15:19:04 (Rating 3, Computers)

If you have been reading this blog you will be aware that I don't like New Zealand's main telecommunications company very much. Its name is Telecom, and it is a virtual monopoly. Many people, who don't know any better, think Telecom provides a reasonable service, and doesn't exploit its privileged position too much. But people who understand telecommunications, especially the Internet, know better.

Many people in the New Zealand IT community have been asking the government to regulate Telecom so that we can get decent Internet and communications systems here, because at the moment we have poor, overpriced services provided by a company who use their power to stop better alternatives succeeding.

Yesterday the government announced they were finally going to do something about it. Of course, the alternative providers, and most Internet users, are very happy about this. Many people believe an unregulated environment is best and that we should let the market sort out any problems. Nonsense. That is a pathetically simplistic way of thinking. It clearly hasn't worked for us and government regulation is the best answer. Telecom have been given plenty of chances to improve the services they offer but have responded with an insulting campaign where they advertise faster cheaper Internet but provide something which is more-or-less the opposite.

The supporters of an open market have a very illogical way of looking at these things. They say let the market sort out any problems which occur. But if it doesn't - if we end up with poor services, for example - they just say that's the market in action. According to that it doesn't matter what happens, the market is always right. We could be on the brink of total collapse and crashing to the status of a third world country and they'd still be letting the market sort it out. They're just, plain wrong. Pragmatism must take a higher priority than any current economic ideology.

Today the value of Telecom on the New Zealand share market plummeted and they lost over one billion dollars in value. Isn't that sad? Yeah, right! The more they suffer and the more alternatives can take advantage of it, the better. Its unfortunate in some ways that small investors will lose money, but on second thoughts I say "tough luck". If they were prepared to invest in a huge foreign monopoly and suffer from this as a result, that's good.

So I say "well done" to our government. We have progress, at last - it took them long enough! I hope they will continue to control the power of big multinationals in the future too, because there are plenty of other cases where we are being ripped off by a bunch or corporate thieves.

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