Expert panel to pick the winning bid for the fibre backbone

Group ready to accept proposals by the end of March

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has announced a panel of experts to decide who will build Australia's $8 billion Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN) network.

The panel contains six members from industry, regulators and government and is chaired by Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) Secretary Patricia Scott.

Conroy said the panel will issue a request for proposals to build the network at the end of this month but did not announce a deadline.

"The government will formally call for innovative and competitive proposals to roll out the new network with a view to having construction under way by the end of 2008," Conroy said.

"At the same time as it issues the request for proposals, the government will also call for comments on policy and funding initiatives to improve access to affordable broadband in remote areas."

Members include former Australian Communication Authority chairman Tony Shaw alongside Treasury Secretary Dr Ken Hendry, both former members of the previous government's expert task force.

John Wylie, CEO of advisory firm Lazard Carnegie Wylie, joins Allphones chairman Tony Mitchell, University of Melbourne Professor Rod Tucker and University of Adelaide Communications Professor Reg Coutts.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will provide advice on pricing and regulatory issues through a written submission to the panel. DBCDE recommendations will also be considered.

Shadow communications minister Bruce Billson said the panel must be allowed to support proposals to build the FttN network entirely from private investment.

"Hopefully the expert panel hasn't been simply instructed to shape a response to fit Labor's broadband rhetoric, regardless of sound public policy considerations, or how unnecessarily costly it will be to the taxpayer," Billson said.

"The ACCC and Productivity Commission must not be sidelined to suit Labor's political ambitions in the same way the Minister has sidelined his own department as a source of advice in a 'put in a submission and the panel will make up its own mind' mode."

Conroy also announced an additional $95 million would be added to the Australian Broadband Guarantee to fund metro-comparable broadband in regional areas.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?