As a mainland capital city dweller, like most Australians, including those who live in major regional centres, I'm spoiled for choice for broadband services. I can get HFC cable, ADSL2+, pretty fast fixed wireless and, depending where I happen to be, good mobile broadband. In addition, I'm finding more and more of my favourite coffee hangouts offering free WiFi.
However, for around 85% of us, good reasonably priced broadband is available and, as a result of competition and sensible regulation of the dominant carrier, prices are getting cheaper not only for broadband but also for voice services.
Now the NBN arrives courtesy of the taxpayer and, lo and behold, a number of the larger ISPs are now offering NBN broadband, to the few places that can get it, at prices that are comparable and in some cases even cheaper than DSL services.
Now if the NBN comes down my street and it turns out to be cheaper than my HFC service, I'll seriously consider switching. But that's not going to happen is it (rhetorical)?
The reason I won't get to choose between the NBN, HFC and ADSL2+ is because the Government has mandated that there will be no competition between the three networks. The two perfectly acceptable and functioning HFC and ADSL2+ broadband networks will be switched off and decommissioned so that there will be no obstacles to the take-up of the NBN.
So instead of making the Australian fixed line telecommunications market more competitive by offering a new additional competing service, the Government is proposing to recreate the Government owned monopoly we used to have, which was slowly being broken down when Telstra was sold and heavily regulated, allowing competing carriers to emerge and drive down prices.
So let's imagine what life will be like under the proposed new Government owned fixed line NBN regime.
The Government will once again be the sole wholesaler of fixed line telecoms services including voice and broadband. There will be competition among retailers to resell the same services of course but the delivery network and wholesale prices will be the same.
Unless of course the players with deep pockets like Telstra and Optus get better prices because of their ability to buy bigger chunks of bandwidth - which should make the smaller players happy'¦NOT!
Now the Government, absent of any competition from other fixed line network providers which have been disintegrated, advised by its advisors, will set the wholesale prices of broadband and those prices will be regulated by'¦'¦the Government! What a great business!
In case you were wondering whether wireless could possibly save you from being forcibly dragged back into a fixed line telecoms monopoly, well you can stop right now.
As we all know and are repeatedly told, wireless broadband such as LTE and beyond, will never be able to compete with NBN fibre because it defies the laws of physics.
But, just in case the physicists haven't covered all their bases - however unlikely that may be - advertising wireless broadband as an alternative to the NBN will be verboten and must only be sold in olive green packaging.