in brief Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will reportedly tomorrow (Wednesday) set 26 November as the final deadline for companies to submit bids to build and operate the government's planned $4.7 billion national broadband network (NBN).
Quoting the minister, The Australian newspaper has reported that Conroy will announce the timing tomorrow. The first services over the network were slated to be up and running by the end of 2008; however, the project's schedule has been pushed back, primarily due to the need to retrieve network information from telcos needed for accurate bids.
Telstra and a coalition of its rivals known as Terria are seen as the main contestants for the funding, although a variety of others such as the secretive Acacia group of Australian business people and the Tasmanian state government have also thrown their hats in the ring.
The bids will be evaluated by an expert panel appointed earlier this year by Conroy.