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Dateline: 24 February 2000 Early Edition
Read The Previous Edition
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Editorial
Frustrating Local News Sites And The Telecom Inquiry
My God, the local news industry is really useless when it comes to getting news to the Web!

There was plenty of publicity about the government inquiry into Telecom yesterday so I went to the country's top local news sites to get the good oil this morning -- here's what I found at just after 8 am:

  • At One News, I found just four paragraphs dated Wednesday 23.

  • Over at The NZ Herald I got this result when trying to access any part of the site. However, forty minutes later, when the site was back up, The NZ Herald provided the most timely and comprehensive coverage of this story -- full marks to editorial -- demerit points to those responsible for the technology.

  • At the XTRA NZ News site I found nothing at all about the inquiry and noticed that the news content hadn't been updated for more than 13 hours.

  • Likewise I could find no reference to the story on The Press website.
So... points to TVNZ for at least having a server that works and a brief mention and points to the NZ Herald for having good coverage even though their server seems to have trouble getting out of bed occasionally -- come to think of it -- the Herald site is acting a lot like the old NBR site used to -- is the common (frequently breaking) link Cold Fusion I wonder?

However, I've got to say that on this example one could be forgiven for exhibiting more than a little frustration at trying to find early-morning national news on the Web.

Don't fret too much though, we are in good company. Attempts to contact the Sydney Morning Herald site this morning uncovered the fact that Telstra's damp string must have dried out somewhere -- it was down too!

However... The Government Inquiry Into Telecom:

I wonder if this inquiry isn't going to turn into yet another Labour/Alliance witch-hunt where, rather than the inquiry being challenged to find out whether there's a problem and whether action should be taken, it is instead told in advance what its findings must be and all it therefore needs do is find someway of justifying them.

Regular readers will know that I'm no supporter of Telecom's abuse of the monopoly they hold on the local loop -- but I get very worried when I see a bunch of career politicians and failed schoolteachers (no offense intended to successful schoolteachers) embarking on a move to wade in and tell Telecom exactly how they should run their business and how much profit they are entitled to earn.

Such moves may be acceptable in the very small area where Telecom's local loop monopoly provides them with unfair advantages -- but I heard a member of the government asserting that the price of Internet access was a target of the inquiry. Excuse me -- but there are plenty of people matching Telecom's $39/month flat rate -- with plenty of others bettering it and some charging more. That sounds like a fairly healthy situation to me.

So long as the inquiry remains focused on the few key issues of interconnect agreements, number portability, 0867 and abuse of the local-loop monopoly then there will be no problem -- but Anderton's sabre-rattling as deputy PM and Minister of Economic Development worries me a lot -- because the very fact that he's outspoken in his desire to nationalise Telecom must throw doubt on the objectivity of any inquiry into the operation of this public company.

As always, your comments are gladly received.

 


General News & Current Events:
7am.com | NZL News | AUS News | GBR News | World News

TODAY'S KEY NET-NEWS HEADLINES


Load in new window Govt mulled court action on Telecom
The Government considered going to court to overturn Telecom's introduction of 0867 internet access, but decided that regulatory approaches to be determined by its telecommunications inquiry would provide a quicker solution...
NZ Herald

Load in new window Telecom opens arms to probe
Telecom has welcomed the Government's inquiry into the telecommunications industry as being forward-looking and well balanced in its terms of reference...
NZ Herald

Load in new window Microsoft's ActiveX Too Active?
Web-traveling code from Microsoft doesn't always knock before coming through your computer's back door to change things around. Simplicity, says the company. Dangerous, say security-watchers...
Wired

Load in new window Hacking hysteria invigorates insurance industry
The dividends of this month's DDoS attacks against high-profile sites Yahoo, eBay, Amazon and others just keep multiplying. Now it seems the insurance industry is going to hand the security industry a tidy windfall...
The Register

Load in new window New hacker software could spread by email
A group of anonymous programmers has released a new version of the software that may have helped shut down Yahoo and Amazon.com earlier this month--one that makes it far easier to launch attacks, computer experts say...
CNet

Load in new window Amazon Launches Mobile UK Internet Site
Bookshop browsers in the habit of going home to check the prices on Amazon before committing themselves to a purchase can save themselves a journey: the Internet retailer's UK Web site will be available on mobile phones from Thursday...
Yahoo/Reuters

Load in new window Judge Undercuts Microsoft Defense
The decision on whether the Microsoft Corp. violated U.S. antitrust law now rests with the trial judge, following a contentious final day of courtroom arguments and the judge's own blunt rejection of an important legal defense for the software company...
Yahoo/AP

Load in new window German company invents the plug-inter-Net
Veba plans to launch a new way of connecting to the Internet, through plugs installed for electrical appliances, by the end of this year...
Fairfax

Load in new window MSN drops newsgroup support
Microsoft's MSN Internet site is dumping support for newsgroup discussions, the latest sign that the pioneering online chat format is being bypassed by the commercial Web...
CNet


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