Matthew Hooton is telling anyone that will listen that he’s going to get the press gallery and IT journalists to fall for his latest campaign.
He reckons he’s so clever that he will have journalists eating out of his hands.
In fact, he has been openly saying that the journalists are always falling for his PR lines, and it’s now no longer a challenge for him.
The tip line is running hot with reports that Hooton is launching a campaign on behalf of Vodafone and Internet NZ tomorrow against the Government.
I understand the campaign is about a review the Government has underway about the relationship between pricing for the legacy copper network and pricing for the new fibre network.
One of the main policy planks of National in 2008 and 2011 was the big step-change in ultrafast broadband through fibre-optic cable rollouts.
National proposed a hefty $1.5 billion taxpayer contribution to help accelerate the rollout. It was, and is a bold plan to make New Zealand a more advanced, productive and connected nation. The use of fibre to improve peoples’ lives through better connectivity will be profound.
Chorus is using the money it makes from its copper network to fund the ultra fast broadband network. That makes sense.
But then the mad dogs at the Commerce Commission come out with some crazy determination that New Zealand’s copper broadband pricing should be based on what they do in two Scandaavian countries. Hardly relevant to New Zealand’s situation.
That means the Commerce Commission is proposing to slash what Chorus can charge for the copper network. Effectively this means that there is a risk the ultra fast broadband network could be delayed for years due to the Commission’s knee-jerk decision.
The fact this determination was so crazy was probably one of the reasons why the Commission replaced the main mad dog, Ross Patterson.
I’m told that Hooton is going to try and spin the campaign so people think the price they pay for their copper broadband will increase.
That’s all well and good, except for one problem – under the Government’s proposal, the price people will pay for their copper broadband will actually drop by up to $7.50 a month. That means everyone’s broadband bill will be cheaper each month.
It is important to note that all three proposed options would result in the total copper price dropping from its current level, as this is higher than the entry-level fibre price range.
The current total wholesale copper price is $44.98, so the price reduction would be between $2.48 and $7.48 per month.
This approach means consumers get the benefit of lower prices for their existing services in the short term, and will also have access to the long-term benefits of replacing the copper network with a modern fibre network.
So, I’m actually looking forward to seeing how Hooton tries to spin that the price people pay for broadband will increase.
I understand that there are a number of groups funding Hooton’s campaign including Vodafone and Internet NZ.
Quite why Vodafone has decided to turn itself into a political activist group is anyone’s guess, but I can’t see it ending well for them.
Yesterday, I highlighted how Communications Minister Amy Adams is fast developing a reputation for not taking any crap, I can only imagine the conversations she is going to have with these groups.
Vodafone kicked-off its political campaign in the Dominion Post this morning.
I found it hilarious that Vodafone is criticising the UFB project. They haven’t even launched an ultra fast broadband product.
So here they are criticising from the side lines, but they are so far behind the eight-ball that they are being behind left in their competitors’ dust.
The key to ultra fast broadband being a success is companies like Vodafone actually developing cool products that people want to use. But instead of doing this, Vodafone is bitching and moaning.
And they can’t even get their copper broadband network in order. Even Kim Dotcom’s bitch is moaning.
— Vikram Kumar (@vikram_nz) September 9, 2013
I guess Vodafone’s decision to run a campaign against the Government shows some inexperience on their part, probably sucked in by Hooton, who is keen to line his pockets with some corporate money.
What Vodafone need to remember is if they campaign against the government, than in all likelihood their access to government will be restricted.
Why would ministers bother to meet with Vodafone when they are trying to stab the Government in the back. I bet Hooton didn’t tell them that.
Senior Labour member Jordan Carter is also behind the campaign. He’s now the head of Internet NZ, and has quickly turned it into a political organisation and is now pushing Labour’s agenda.
I hope the press gallery and the suck-up IT journalists don’t fall for Hooton’s spin, but it’s more than likely they will. Watch Farrar push it.