OPEL has funding signed

The federal government has decided it will sign a funding agreement with OPEL for $958 million dollars, showing the public that Telstra’s legal action is vexatious and unwarranted.

The OPEL funding agreement hands $958 million to an Australian company, OPEL, who will manage a wholesale only infrastructure network for regional australia and offer services at metro comparable prices.

This move is likely to see Telstra scream for more, and see the return of Fat Phil back in the media after weeks of silence. – I knew something was brewing, I even posted on whirlpool that there was!

So, here we have it. The government has the funding deed signed, OPEL is going ahead, there’s nothing any government can do to stop OPEL rolling out services to regional Australia now, and they even already had started work on the network!

Telstra challenged Coonan’s decision on giving the $958 million to OPEL, believing in their crazed minds that it was unfair.

What’s unfair? Telstra trying to get $600 million to do something it already has rolled out in many areas, or asking for $600 million and not offering anything of their own to differentiate the proposal.

In fact, if I were the government, I’d have ruled the proposal as not for Telstra to bid on, considering it is for underserved areas, and those areas are areas Telstra already services, just to a very poor level, and charges through the roof for it.

The government is proposing to independantly test OPELs network to ensure that coverage is acheived at a very high standard, and the services and prices are metro comparable (as were the terms of the tender – which is one clear point why Telstra didn’t win).

Just on the court case however, in an interesting twist, Telstra demanded to see all of Coonan’s decision documents relating to the OPEL decision.

In a nice twist, Coonan’s department have asked for access to all of CEO Sol Trujillo’s emails, including board meeting minutes.

This is a interesting request, because in those emails and board minutes the likely discovery is they will find that the earlier proposal by Telstra that did not get submitted, which offered some of Telstra’s own funding was not submitted.

This goes with the same story about the ADSL range extension devices, which 200 of these currently sit wasted away in a Telstra warehouse, wasting shareholder funds again.

The court case is likely to go no where, as both Telstra and Coonan’s department have little to see in each others documents that can’t be assumed already anyway.

This will however, result in a likely vexatious litigation strike against Telstra, and they should indeed consider legal action differently in the future. Sure, if the proposal they had didn’t fail 3 of the criteria, I am sure the case would be worth fighting, but that’s not the case, and the criteria for accepting applications didn’t exactly change, just what they were bidding on changed, but they were aware of that from the word go, as it was stated there was the oppourtunity for more funding – is it the governments fault Telstra didn’t bid for more? Is it the governments fault Telstra are greedy pigs?

– Of course not.

Telstra’s response to the OPEL agreement is that it is a waste of taxpayer money, and they aren’t suprised to see Coonan sneaking the announcement in on APEC’s sunday afternoon.

Well, let’s think about waste of taxpayer money shall we?

What’s a bigger waste of taxpayer money:
1. Funding competition in regional and rural areas to force price and technology innovation.
2. Funding Telstra’s HiBis and Broadband Connect rollouts and users being denied access to the technologies true potential as an agenda for furthering Telstra’s greed?

I think I would spend the dollars on competition before allowing Telstra any more funds for their greed, wouldn’t you?

Sure, Telstra has shareholders to think of, but the Australian Government has consumers to think of, and naturally, when it comes to consumers, Telstra just cannot win. It’s not the governments fault they are monopolistic pigs, is it ?


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