What Telstra didn’t want to hear

OPINION | Telco giant Telstra likes to paint itself as being part of the democratic blogging revolution.

If you believe its spin doctors it is actively encouraging public debate and telling the truth about regulation in Australia revealing the story of how it is merely the underdog earnestly trying to build better networks to serve customers.

The company has recruited and mobilised an army of “Telstra Active Supporters” who post encouraging comments on the corporation’s blog and are encouraged to pepper politicians with emailed letters (1000 a week according to the company) pressuring them to change the law to give Telstra a clear run at the money.

But there’s a hitch in its plan: the stats show that people just don’t agree. Customers are exercising their right to vote overwhelmingly against Telstra in online polls the company runs on its site.

Some inconvenient truths are coming out for Telstra.

It’s all about Sol: and the deeper motivation

For example the current poll on the site asks the question: “Who do you think is blocking high-speed broadband for Australia?”

The inconvenient answer: it’s almost 100% Telstra’s fault according to readers of Telstra’s blog.

The poll result is not an anomaly either. The blog’s editor Rod Bruem says the site is getting 100000 unique users a month which must be providing a pretty decent survey sample.

Telstra’s archived polls reveal the following results:

  • Do you think Australia is over-regulated? No: 65.6%
  • Will reducing staff numbers at Telstra increase efficiency? No: 79.2%
  • What services should be subject to regulation: All services 49% (highest rated answer)
  • How do you think Telstra is progressing with its plans to provide new and better services for customers? I can’t see much difference or it’s going in reverse 65.3%
  • Who is mostly to blame for Australia missing out on a high-speed fibre network? Telstra 40.2% (highest rated answer)
  • Do you think passengers should be able to make mobile phone calls inflight? No 64.7% (Telstra is going ahead as Qantas’ inflight mobile roaming trial partner anyway)
  • Should the ACCC Chairman resign after the regulator was found to have acted illegally towards Telstra? No 73.1%
  • Which feature would most likely infuence your decision to buy wireless broadband: Price 68.8% (Telstra is by far the most expensive wireless broadband provider)

Poor old Telstra. Even on the website that has the highest concentration of sympathisers in the world it can’t even get the stats to support its arguments.

The company is a little prickly about the question of whether it pays attention to what people think. “Yes Telstra does take note of comments coming into nowwearetalking as the front page banner says ‘Telstra listens” spinblogger Rod Bruem told APC.

We’ll wait with bated breath to see how Telstra gets on with the job of rolling out a fibre network in the face of the consumer feedback that it’s to blame for the plan stalling to date.