Broadband bidders slam lax fibre tender

Industry issues a Request for Policy.

Australia's National Broadband Network will suffer because the government's tender documents lack detail and an adequate policy framework, according to telecommunications providers.

Contenders to build the Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN) network claim the government has not provided enough details and allocated sufficient time to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to design the best possible solution.

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) recently issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to design, build and operate an $8 billion fibre optic network to supply minimum Internet speeds of 12Mbps to 98 percent of Australia.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy set an ambitious three month window for bidders to submit proposals, with the winner to be chosen in October.

It seems [the government] is keen on having a photo opportunity at Christmas

iiNet

Internet providers called on the government to provide more detail on network architecture, standards and regulation requirements.

iiNet chief regulation officer Stephen Dalby said the lax details and narrow timeframe place unnecessary pressure on bidders at the expense of network design.

"I can say with absolute confidence that that there is not enough time for companies to construct a bid. It seems somebody is keen on having a photo opportunity at Christmas," Dalby said.

"There is no design information in the RFP, it just states it will be an FttN network. They have to make 101 assumptions in their bids

"There's lot's of assurances saying 'she'll be right', but that's not good enough for a multi-billion dollar network that's going to be around for decades."

The tender specifically lacks information on standards and protocols, interconnections, wholesale services and regulation regime, he claims.

Dalby said bids submitted under the current RFP will be built on assumptions and filled with entry and exit clauses.

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Darren Pauli

Computerworld
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