Telstra's exclusion from the NBN

Telstra has been informed by the Australian government that it was excluded from the National Broadband Network (NBN) request for proposals (RFP).

This means the NBN won't be built or run by Telstra, Australia's largest telco.

The official reasoning given for the exclusion was that Telstra did not include a plan for how to involve small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in their proposal.

Predictably, Telstra responded to the snub by claiming the exclusion was "trivial".

While the company may have a point, more trivial was Telstra's "bid" for the NBN — an eight-page document that failed to comply with a number of the mandatory requirements of the RFP. At the time of its bid Telstra believed the letter complied with all the legal obligations of the bidding process. According to Minister for Broadband Stephen Conroy, though, it didn't.

The question has to be asked: why was Telstra's the only bid that didn't comply with the bidding requirements? Why did it require special treatment by only submitting a proposal and not a full bid?

The remaining bids — Acacia, Axia NetMedia and SingTel Optus — all managed to submit a proposal that followed the government's guidelines. Why not Telstra?

To be fair, Telstra has raised some worthy issues in regards to the bidding process, specifically surrounding the financials. It is the only company to have submitted a proposal with a real financial commitment of $5 billion dollars. And the company is right in saying that if a substandard NBN is built, Australian consumers will suffer immensely.

At the end of the day, Telstra can whinge and moan all it likes, but it played hardball and lost out this time.

Sadly, it only has itself to blame.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
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