- According to the father of Australian telecom competition Bob Mansfield, the federal government still needs to solve the difficult question of how to best regulate NBN Co even if the industry remains healthy.
- Manfield points the problem of running a network capability in Australia as compared to countries like Singapore, Hongkong and Korea.
- Mansfield said that he believed the liberalised telecom regime had been broadly successful. This regime took effect in 1997.
According to the father of Australian telecom competition Bob Mansfield, the federal government still needs to solve the difficult question of how to best regulate NBN Co even if the industry remains healthy. This is because the resolution will determine the degree of operator profitability in the future.
Mansfield said, “The CVC issue is one that’s still very much alive and hasn’t been settled.”
“The government wants NBN to make money because if it makes money, it can sell it. It’s as simple as that. But, in order to make money, you can really only do it by making it tough for the other guys to make money. And if you don’t do it properly, the other guys will make the money and you won’t. It’s that balance that I think the government’s still battling with at this point in time.”
Now the chairman of Vocus, Mansfield said that he believed the liberalised telecom regime had been broadly successful. This regime took effect in 1997.
Mansfield explained “I’m basically an optimist. In hindsight you can always do things better, there’s no two ways about it. But if you look at the world today, Telstra is in relative health, Optus is in relative health. Competitors abound, everywhere. You’ve got NBN in the middle of it. You’ve got [the] adoption of new technology. Now, could it have been done better, in hindsight, knowing what we do today? The answer is yes. But it was a muddling through regulatory situation that is impacting every country in the world.”
“And when you look at Australia, the problem you had, you’re comparing against Singapore and Hong Kong and Korea. The geography of running a network capability around Singapore is so much simpler than running one around Australia, because of the sheer geography and the size. So, we were often compared against countries when you looked at it, and said, it’s not a fair comparison. But in hindsight, and I’m talking as a consumer, let alone as a telco executive, I think it’s served the country pretty well.”
Back in 1992 when Optus was founded, Mansfield reflected on his role: “My role was to be the conductor of the orchestra without being the best player of any particular instrument, so I had to establish the culture and...not myself, me and the team, obviously. And that was my major challenge. I still say now, humorously, when I do a speech anywhere that, I didn’t know how a telephone worked back then and I still don’t. But, I had a lot of people around me that did, and that’s what the art of management is in my view, that you don’t have to be an expert in everything yourself, but you have to be able to pull everybody together that is an expert and make it work.”