National broadband data: who's late

Summary:Today is the deadline for Australian telcos to hand over information on their networks so that the federal government can use it in its process to build a $4.7 billion national broadband network. ZDNet.com.au investigated who's on time and who's late.

update Today is the deadline for Australian telcos to hand over information on their networks so that the federal government can use it in its process to build a $4.7 billion national broadband network. ZDNet.com.au investigated who's on time and who's late.

Potential bidders to build and operate the network needed to have the information, such as where fibre cable existed already, to be able to complete informed bids for the NBN tender.

Ten days ago, acting Communications Minster Anthony Albanese, filling in for Stephen Conroy, released final documents detailing the information carriers needed to supply by today.

Once the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has verified all the necessary information has been provided and has reached proponents, bidders will have 12 weeks to finalise their proposals.

ZDNet.com.au investigated which carriers outlined in the Department's document had given their information in to the government.

Carrier Information In?
AAPT Yes
Agile Communications "Absolutely"
Amcom Unknown
Digital River Networks Will be coming in today
Macquarie Telecom Yes
NextGen Networks Unknown
Optus Networks Yes
Pipe Networks Unknown
Primus Telecommunications Yes
Soul Unknown
Telstra Yes
TransACT Declined to comment
Vodafone Yes

Telstra said it had already received written confirmation from DBCDE that it had met its information provision requirements.

However, a spokesperson for Commmunications Minister Conroy has as yet been unable to confirm this. Telstra said it had submitted its information sometime before 7 August.

"Last week, Optus CEO Paul O'Sullivan claimed Telstra was holding up the NBN by not complying with its network information requirements," Telstra's incoming group managing director for public policy and communications, David Quilty, said today.

"This confirmation demonstrates that O'Sullivan's claim was a falsehood and he should now apologise for misleading the Australian public," he said.

"We look forward to assessing the quality of Telstra's information — after its numerous attempts to get it right," an Optus spokesperson said.

Ravi Bhartia, CEO of Primus Telecom said: "In this particular case, beauty is in the eye of the user," meaning that the proponents will be the judge of whether the information is useful or not.

The documents the department issued only defined the format and the actual content of the information, he said, and not whether it could actually be used by someone.

Matt Healy, Macquarie Telecom national executive regulatory and government, agreed with Bhartia.

He also, however, dug the boot into the department for its lack of transparency, being unable to tell ZDNet.com.au which parties had lodged their information already and whether Telstra's information had been approved.

"One party says I just got a letter, na na nee na na, and the department can't even acknowledge that. It's crazy," he said.

He said he thought Conroy was committed to a transparent process, but that the department was "stuck in a paradigm of the past".

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

About

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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