Broadband bidders slam lax fibre tender

Industry issues a Request for Policy.

Rumours circulated through the industry of a possible clandestine deal between Conroy and Telstra which would render the RFP a token gesture, after Telstra spokesperson Dr. Phil Burgess told The Australian it will win the FttN contract, a day prior to the RFP announcement.

Dalby debunked the theory, but said the former government monopoly holds a significant advantage over its rival bidders because it holds the most information on Australia's network infrastructure.

He said the telco has used its lion's share of data to develop FttX plans over the last three years and gain an advantage over rivals.

The government triggered an industry backlash after it requested copies of sensitive network information from infrastructure owners to frame the RFP. The DBCDE has submitted a bill to parliament to build in privacy assurances and will soon re-issue the call.

Macquarie Telecom spokesperson Matt Healy said the RFP's weak policy framework has made it more difficult for bidders to create the best fibre network for Australia.

"The [RFP] seems to be a lost opportunity for the government to make clear policy statements," Healy said.

"The later the information is made publicly available, the more difficult it will be for companies to make a plan.

"There is no use to naval-gaze at whether the deadline is enough; the Minister has the power to set the date and we dance to that tune."

Healy said policy transparency will remove any chance of bidder favouritism and ensure the best network model will win the contract.

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Darren Pauli

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