Conroy mum on broadband questions

Estimates committee told to refer to tender documents.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has kept mum in the face of burning questions on structural separation and regulation for the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Conroy on Tuesday took questions asked in a Senate Estimates hearing on notice, citing probity, and refused to discuss the NBN further than narrating tender documents.

He said doing so would undermine the RFP, and "risk inadvertent comment".

Liberal senator for South Australia Simon Birmingham criticised the minister for refusing to confirm whether the NBN will require structural separation.

"RFP appears to be open to structural separation [which] leaves open all manner of possibilities," Birmingham said.

"You have avoided scrutiny on the process. The government had every opportunity in the world to change the RFP [and] it's amazing you have shut down any discussion in the development stage.

"You seem to think the same ASX provision that applies to a public float would apply to the broadband tender. Every question is ruled out."

Structural separation is not a requirement of the RFP, however page nine of the tender document states that bidders with wholesale and retail operations should "demonstrate" what structures they have in place to avoid a network monopoly.

Conroy took questions on structural separation requirements on notice regarding statements earlier this month at the Sydney Institute where the minister said he would "carefully look at structural arrangements similar to those adopted in countries such as UK , NZ and Singapore" for the NBN.

"Anything more than opening statements I'll take it on notice," Conroy said.

The minister confirmed he consulted Finance and Deregulation minister Lindsay Tanner, the former broadband expert taskforce, and central department agencies regarding network separation, but refused to divulge discussions between the two.

Labor Senator for the ACT Kate Lundy attacked opposition statements that NBN proposals issued by the Tasmanian government would jeopardise the network,

"The Coalition has completely bungled it up and has egg on it's face," Lundy said, speaking in regards to a press release issued by shadow communications minister Bruce Billson.

The RFP considers NBN proposals submitted by states and territories, provided they meet network requirements and can contribute to coverage.

Shadow minister Billson said government has littered the NBN with gag clauses.

"This government has so far gagged a senate inquiry, gagged potential bidders from discussing it, gagged parliament from debating legislation relating to it and now in its latest attack against the parliamentary process has attempted to gag estimates," Billson said in a statement.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?