The future of Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) will be decided on November 26 when the deadline for proposals will close.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today announced the recommencement of the NBN tender process which will give bidders 12 weeks to get their network designs in to the government. The process was stalled for almost four months while the government retrieved additional network infrastructure information at the demand of bidders.
Tender documents require the NBN to service 98 percent of Australians with a minimum of 12Mbps downstream, but do not discriminate against technologies.
Minister Conroy said bidders have received the confidential network information and will be able to form proposals.
“Requested network information has now all been received from contributing carriers, reviewed for compliance with the government’s request and is now available to all proponents,” Conroy said.
“It has always been the government’s position that the provision of appropriate network information to proponents is vital for the success of the NBN process and that this should be done as soon as possible.”
Conroy said the delays, which spurred heated criticism from shadow communications minister Bruce Billson, were necessary to allow bidders to form adequate proposals.
Details including regulation and access pricing for NBN will be hammered out over the next 12 months by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and industry; however, the government’s gag policy will still be enforced during the remainder of the bidding process.
Industry has debated issues of structural separation, access rights and technology, including the viability of a Fibre-to-the-Home network during the course of the tender process.