Govt seeks NBN lead legal team

The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy has issued a request for tender for legal services in support of its NBN implementation study.

The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy has issued a request for tender for legal services in support of its NBN implementation study.

The government intends to appoint both primary and secondary legal service providers to assist with its nine-month implementation study under a deed of standing offer between the department, the winning bidder, and an unidentified company.

The department expects to receive "plain language" advice on demand throughout the study in relation to communications, intellectual property, commercial, and property and construction law, the tender documents state. Ad hoc transactional services may also be required throughout the study's duration, with the department aiming to establish a panel of secondary service providers.

The implementation study's report is due by February 2010 and is the critical document the telecommunications industry is seeking to provide certainty over how the NBN will proceed. It is also likely to determine the extent to which Telstra and other telcos vend in existing assets to the new network.

The department has already awarded law firm Minter Ellison a $300,000 contract for legal advice relating to the Tasmanian component of the NBN, which Minister for Communications, Stephen Conroy, has said would start before the report's due date. Also currently working on the Tasmanian leg of the NBN are KPMG and local IT consultancy, Consultel.

The winning legal team will work closely with the lead advisor of the implementation study, according to the tender documents. A shortlist of candidates for the lead advisor role was believed to have been asked to submit proposals for the work by this week.

It will also deal with the department's internal legal team within its NBN division, currently headed up by deputy secretary Colin Lyons.

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