(U) During February of 2014, Australia had 41 internet service providers (ISPs) delivering nationwide services such as ADSL, mobile, NBN, satellite, cable, and fiber. By 2012, 88.8 per cent of the population had connectivity to the internet.ii Statistically, Australia is twelfth in the world in terms of how deeply it has permeated the total population with connectivity. The percentage of people connected has steadily risen every two to three years by nine per cent since 2007.iii If this momentum continues, Australia will have 97 percent of its population connected by the year 2015.iv
Australia has 22 peering/public exchange points in or near Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.v Peering is an interaction between multiple ISPs which allows for an exchange of traffic among various networks. As peering takes place, the ISPs do not charge one another for the transmission of data. Amid the multitude and variety of peering in Australia, there are enough interconnected networks that the probability of isolating or critically impairing any of the major ISPs is unlikely.
Three of the leading ISPs in Australia are Telstra, Optus, and iiNet Broadband. Telstra is the oldest and largest telecommunications/internet service provider in the country, offering an extensive array of products in broadband, media, global satellite, managed network, and global cloud services.vi Telstra is also a provider of essential services such as mobile and internet connectivity, and local and long-distance phone service to the majority of Australia’s businesses and private residences; this year, they are likely to resume drawing in vast numbers of 4G LTE mobile broadband customers as a result of having a larger network footprint than its challengers.vii
Telstra’s beginning extends back to 1901 when the government owned Postmaster General’s Department (PMG) regulated all telegraph, postal, and domestic telephone services.viii In 1946, the Commonwealth Government created the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (OTC), which connected Australia to the rest of the world in every facet of telecommunications.ix The PMG detached into two entities in 1975, creating the Australian Postal Commission and the Australian Telecommunications Commission, which operated as Telecom Australia.x In 1981, Telecom Australia initiated the nation’s first mobile network, and by the mid 1990’s Telecom Australia unified with the Overseas Telecommunications Corporation and changed its name to Telstra. During this time period, the internet developed into a principal share of their business, thus establishing BigPond and a high speed wired internet service.xi
Telstra undertook a limited privatization, commonly referred to as T1, in November 1997 where the government sold roughly 33% of its shares to the public.xii During that year the government passed the Telecommunications Act 1997, which directed Telstra to organizationally separate, or confront a range of regulatory controls...