Consulting firm KPMG and technology consultancy Consultel have been awarded new contracts to provide the Federal Government investment and technical advice for the Tasmanian National Broadband Network roll-out.
The two new contracts, both valued at $410,000, were awarded last week by the Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy, bringing the two companies' earnings under the project to $860,000 a piece. The contracts were disclosed as part of normal government contract procedures.
They follow two earlier contracts for the two companies' work in Tasmania between April and June, worth $250,000 each.
The government is currently pushing to meet its estimated start date of July for the construction of the Tasmanian leg of the NBN, though; besides these contracts it has revealed little else. A spokesperson for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said the Tasmanian and Federal governments were in advanced negotiations, but would not provide further detail on how it intends to proceed with the Tasmanian deployment.
The new contracts, however, extend KPMG's work in the state to February 2010, which is when the government hopes to see the report from its mainland NBN implementation study released. The spokesperson for Conroy was not available for comment on the contracts today.
"It looks like they either expect to take a while in selecting the lead advisor from their shortlist, or that the lead advisor really is going to have to work with consultants of the department's choice," Unwired's regulatory affairs spokesperson David Havyatt said today.
KPMG is one of several consultancies that are believed to have been shortlisted for the lead advisory role.
It's still unclear whether the Federal or Tasmanian government intend to issue a tender for equipment and services in relation to the Tasmanian roll-out. A spokesperson for state-owned energy utility Aurora Energy, which will deploy the network there, recently said a tender for equipment would be released. But given the proposed start date of next month there is growing speculation that Aurora will fall back on its existing supply arrangements.
It is also still unclear whether Aurora will own the network before selling it to the Federal Government, or if it will be contracted solely to roll it out.