The Age (Editorial, 4/8/05) is worried about "overpriced and substandard services" for rural and regional telecommunications customers. "Overpriced" isn't when a farmer in the back blocks of Mapunga East is charged more than an apartment-dweller in Docklands for a phone. "Overpriced" is when efficient high-density urban customers are paying extra to subsidise the lifestyle choices (or failing businesses) of others.
"Substandard" isn't when that same farmer can't get email on his tractor. It's when the take-up of new technologies is hampered in areas where it is feasible, lest the industry be obliged to offer it (uneconomically) across the board. (Broadband adoption in this country has lagged the world and impacted negatively on our innovation.)
Assuming that prices and standards should be the same everywhere willfully ignores the realities of physics and economics (sparse population + fixed costs = higher prices). Worse, it uncritically buys into the National Party's special pleading: universal mobile phone reception is not a basic Human Right!