Fibre rollout: Plans revealed 'in weeks'

Summary:With the expert taskforce on Australia's fibre-to-the-node rollout newly convened, the government has now set out the rules on how the group must make their decision.Under the new guidelines, the taskforce will have to determine the timetable for the fibre-to-the-node deployment, which will provide Australia with high speed broadband in urban areas.

With the expert taskforce on Australia's fibre-to-the-node rollout newly convened, the government has now set out the rules on how the group must make their decision.

Under the new guidelines, the taskforce will have to determine the timetable for the fibre-to-the-node deployment, which will provide Australia with high speed broadband in urban areas. Both Telstra and the Optus-led G9 consortium are hoping to win the bid.

The taskforce will also be responsible for deciding the scalability, coverage, cost, speeds and minimum service standards that would-be providers must meet. As well as deciding the guiding principles behind the rollout, the panel will need to assess how well the submitted bids meet the criteria.

The panel will also decide whether the company chosen to run the network will receive any compensation for coverage of rural areas where it might make a loss on provisioning the network as well as regulating the duplication of networks and any appropriate reparation.

The group will also need to consult with the public before producing final guidelines, the government has decided, with at three weeks given over to the consultation.

In producing their draft guidelines, the group will need to consider the rights of broadband users to get high speed broadband, the rights of providers to make money on the rollout and the government's belief that such infrastructure should be funded by the private sector, the government said.

According to Communications Minister Helen Coonan, the committee has already convened regularly and should be producing its draft guidelines in several weeks' time.

"Following an open and transparent examination, the government will legislate to ensure the nation is getting a top class service which is affordable" and complements other aspects of the government's broadband planning, she said in a recent statement.

Topics: Telcos, Broadband, Government, Government : AU, Optus, Telstra

About

Jo Best has been covering IT for the best part of a decade for publications including silicon.com, Guardian Government Computing and ZDNet in both London and Sydney.

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