A potential deadline for national broadband network proposals has emerged, with acting Communications Minister Anthony Albanese today releasing a final document detailing the network information carriers have to disclose in order for bids to be submitted.
Proponents needed to have the information, such as where fibre has already been deployed, to be able to complete informed bids for the government's $4.7 billion national broadband network.
Carriers will now have until 22 August 2008, or 10 working days from tomorrow, to cough up the information outlined in the document.
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.
If all went to plan, this would lead to proposals coming in around the end of November for perusal by the government's expert panel.
Telstra has already provided the department with some network information, which the department will share once carriers have appropriate security measures in place to protect the data. Although a spokesperson for the telco said the company believed it has handed over all the necessary information, the government has to finish reviewing it before it can confirm that.
Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy introduced legislation in Parliament in March to make it compulsory for telecommunications providers to supply the required information.
Failure to provide information as required could lead to the termination of a telco's licence. It could also result in a dollar penalty of up to $10 million.
The news came on the same day as Shadow Communications Minister Bruce Billson criticised the Rudd Government's silence on the network. Billson said the silence stemmed from trying not to draw attention from broken deadline promises.
He accused Conroy of dithering and criticised him for not being able to provide information to proponents so they could develop their proposals.