The government has put out a tender for technical advice to help assess private sector proposals for the rollout of its national fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network.
The tender, put out last week by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, signals the next step in Labor's implementation of the national fibre-to-the-node network -- a key issue in November's election. The network is scheduled to provide broadband services of at least 12Mbps to 98 percent of the Australian population and will entail an injection of public funds of up to AU$4.7 billion.
Part of the successful tenderer's responsibility will be to develop strategies on how the government will achieve its FTTN objectives as well as to outline technical issues which need to be considered during the selection of the eventual fibre network supplier and to identify technical information to be included in development proposals. Methods of assessing the performance of the new network will also fall under the advisor's responsibility.
The Department expects the successful applicant to be experienced in all aspects of telecommunications, with emphasis placed on "the ability to accurately estimate network and service coverage by premises and population".
Work with the Department will start immediately -- tenders close 29 January -- and will run for the whole of 2008, although the Department reserves the right to the advisor's services up until the end of December 2009.
The move to obtain a technical advisor follows Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy saying last month that the government aims to have tenders for the rollout of the network awarded by mid 2008.