Bids for Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) are in and the tender is closed, signalling the end of the year-long battle that has seen vicious fighting between contenders and harsh criticism of the government's broadband policies.
The fate of the $4.7 billion NBN is in the hands of communications Minister Stephen Conroy who will pick a winner from one of four contenders including Telstra, the Terria consortium led by Optus-SingTel, the Victorian Acacia group led by businessmen Doug Shears and Solomon Lew, and Canadian network wholesaler Axia NetMedia.
All eyes will be on Telstra to see if it adheres to its promise to boycott the tender now that the government has not ruled out structural separation. The company's media department would not confirm if it has lodged its prepared bid, and told Computerworld Telstra will be making an announcement soon.”
State-based NBN bids include Acacia for Victoria, Aurora Energy for Tasmania, and Transact for the ACT. The governments of Tasmania and South Australia may bid for their respective states.
Axia NetMedia has an equal stake in Singapore’s national fibre network which is owned by Optus parent company SingTel.
Conroy told a recent meeting at the American Chamber of Commerce the NBN process would have been hindered if regulatory policy was decided beforehand. "Our view, as I have stated previously, is that prescribing specific regulatory settings at the start of this process would have unnecessarily narrowed the scope for innovation and competitive tension," Conroy said.
“When we put $4.7 billion on the table to invest, we anticipated, and encouraged this debate. It is fair to say that we have not been disappointed. “But the government is focused on outcomes in the NBN process, not regulatory totems.”
No date has been set by the government for the announcement of the winning bid.