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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?