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Australian gov't calls for offers on city, bush broadband

Australian gov't calls for offers on city, bush broadband

The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy has issued a Request for Proposal for the government's A$4.7 billion Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN) network.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has called for industry to submit proposals to build Australia's national fibre backbone and regional networks.

"The government has committed up to $4.7 billion and to considering any necessary regulatory changes to enable the roll-out. The government encourages interested parties to come forward with innovative proposals [which] will be assessed by the panel of experts announced on 11 March."

The panel will issue their recommendations to the government by year's end, when the department is expected to announce the contract winner

According to local analyst Paul Budde, interest in large telecommunications networks is divided between manufacturing firms who can supply the infrastructure, and seasoned telcos who can deliver the service.

"If [the telcos] are serious, they will get a bid in," he said.

To this end, Budde says Telstra should consider breaking-out an infrastructure branch to allow it to aggressively compete with Opel, a joint venture between Optus and regional service provider Elders.


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