The South Australian government has gone to market for a telecommunications carrier to fill Adelaide's ADSL black spots until the $4.7 billion national fibre-to-the-node broadband network (NBN) gets underway.
According to tender documents, South Australia has trailed the rest of the states on broadband usage by over 10 per cent, for which the lack of ADSL access has been named a culprit.
Two main problems to ADSL access have been targeted by the government in its purchasing initiative: when low pair gain systems (LPGS) in Telstra's copper network haven't been enabled for the technology or have limited ports, and when residents live too far from their local telephone exchange.
Around 55,000 premises in metropolitan Adelaide have been suffering from LPGS problems, according to the documents.
The state said in the tender documents that it was open to any answer to the problem, including upgrading pair gain systems, providing alternative fixed line networks or setting up terrestrial wireless broadband. However, the state didn't intend to fully fund any networks to fill the black spots. Instead it is believed to be focused on providing some sort of catalyst for investment.
It acknowledged the federal government's plans to build a national broadband network, and said that South Australia would be looking at short to medium term answers because of that factor.
"Due to the expected long lead time before the NBN is fully implemented, the South Australian government will consider solutions that address the short-medium time frames for broadband availability," the document said.
The government considered 2Mbps downlink and 2Mbps uplink, with a 5GB download limit for AU$40 to AU$60 per month, to be a reasonable standard for broadband.
It also encouraged proposals which considered VoIP services, Wi-Fi hotspots, and video-conferencing services.