Conroy to override ACMA; Google faces more antitrust claims; Internode launches NBN phone services


By Andrew Collins
Monday, 26 November, 2012


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Welcome back to The Week in IT, where we examine the more interesting tales to come out of information technology in the last seven days.

In this last week, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy appeared to make good on his previous claims that he could force telco execs to wear red underpants on their head.

Conroy has now told ACMA that he will personally set the reserve price for the government’s mobile spectrum auction - a task ordinarily reserved for ACMA.

According to one reporter, Conroy is under pressure from the government to get a good return at the auction, in order to boost the federal budget into surplus. ACMA would probably set a more conservative price than Conroy would like, so “he is likely to set a higher reserve price than the independent arbitrator, for purely political reasons”.

The move is likely to favour Telstra and Optus, and inhibit Vodafone’s chances at the auction.

Google faces more antitrust claims

In legal news this week, search engine DuckDuckGo has claimed that Google practices are hampering its ability to compete in the search business.

DuckDuckGo purports to be a Google alternative that doesn’t track users’ personal information.

Specifically, DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg claims that it’s hard for users to make DuckDuckGo the default search engine to Google’s Chrome web browser and Android mobile OS.

The claim comes as the US Federal Trade Commission is reportedly putting pressure on Google to change its allegedly anticompetitive ways.

Internode launches NBN phone services

Aussie ISP Internode has launched “traditional PSTN-type” phone services that are delivered over the NBN.

The service boasts untimed phone calls to any fixed line in Australia for 18 cents, with a $29.95 monthly subscription fee. Various bundling options are available.

Internode Product Manager, Jim Kellett, said: “Some folk want just a plain old telephone service [POTS], the same as they’ve always had, so now we can provide them with that service. From the customer’s perspective it’s exactly the same as a regular landline. They just plug in their existing phone handset and start to make calls.”

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