Joe Hendren

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Rudman on Jenny Gibbs and Telecom

Good to see Brian Rudman in yesterday's Herald taking up a couple of points I made on Thursday last week about Jenny Gibbs and her inability to access broadband internet on the leafy Paratai Drive.

This is worth noting in the context of the venomous Herald on Sunday editorial criticising blogs for "rarely researching" their offerings, when the editoral itself was really just a poorly researched rant.

I regularly see more evidence of research on the blogs than I do in the newspapers these days. Pushed for time many journalists are forced to spout the public relations lines given to them by newsmakers. Could it be the editors of the newspapers are feeling a bit sensitive on this point as they rarely give their journos the time to adequately research their stories?

But back to Brian Rudman's column on Telecom.

A) Jenny Gibbs, former wife of Telecom privatiser Alan Gibbs, gained some of her wealth from the privatisation of Telecom

"Not until Mrs Gibbs, angered by weeks of Telecom come-on promotions for broadband, came to the Herald, with the damaging publicity for the company that ensued, did the monopoly lines provider leap into damage control and suddenly do the impossible.

Sadly for the rest of suffering humanity, Mrs Gibbs was not set on becoming the people's champion. As soon as she gained the ability to download art prints from foreign parts at high speed, it was up with the drawbridge and, "Sorry, I'm all right, Jack, I don't want to talk to the media any more."

Which was a shame. Telecom would have found it harder to flannel the rest of us with one excuse after another if one of the privileged class was there to keep them honest. It seemed so little to ask of someone whose wealth, in part at least, derives from former husband Alan Gibbs' part in the privatising of Telecom.

B) If Telecom shareholders like Ms Gibbs had taken less out of the company in terms of dividends Telecom would have had more capital to invest in infrastructure and the residents of Paratai Drive would be more likely to be able to access decent broadband services.

"One can only assume that, like the privatised rail system, Telecom has been squeezed for profits by its new shareholders, at the expense of basic infrastructural maintenance and improvement. Meanwhile, while the infrastructure groans and splutters, the Telecom sales staff are pitching away like used car salesmen, promising Rolls-Royce performance from a secondhand Lada network."

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