NBN countdown looms

Network owners, bidders must sign-off on privacy.

The countdown for bidders to get in proposals for the National Broadband Network (NBN) will restart within days, following the retrieval of crucial network data by telecommunications carriers.

A spokesperson for the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) said the 12 week countdown will restart “within several days” following a government review to ensure the necessary network infrastructure data is available and distributed to bidders.

“Once the department has confirmed it has the required information [from the 13 carriers] there will be security considerations that require proponents to sign so the information can be made available to bidders,” the spokesperson said.

“It will take several days to make the information available. [The DBCDE] will make a statement today.”

He said the gag order imposed on bidders as a condition of the Request for Proposal (RFP) will stick for the duration of the bidding process, preventing proponents from publicly discussing their bids.

Telstra public policy group managing director David Quilty said it will formally press the government to recommence the bidding countdown.

“Telstra has fully complied with the government’s requirements on a voluntary basis and looks forward to the earliest possible announcement that the 12-week RFP lodgement period has been triggered,” Quilty said in a written statement.

“Every month that a NBN is not built, Australia forfeits at least $200 million in economic benefits.

“It is time to get this show on the road. Let the building begin.”

Quilty said Telstra has developed its NBN bid since August 2005, which involved plans to deploy some 2000 nodes across Australia for a Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN) network, including upgrades to its ADSL network.

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