The phony war is over, the real battle is now on -- the government's expert taskforce has published its full list of guidelines that would-be bidders for Australia's urban high speed broadband network will need to abide by.
The bidders, expected to include the Optus led G9 consortium and Telstra, have until 15 February to submit tenders for the network. Once the proposals are returned, they will be subject to public review and may be presented to a public forum at a later date, the taskforce said.
While the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) has not mandated which technology is to be used, Telstra and G9 are expected to submit proposals based around fibre-to-the-node (FTTN).
Deutsche Telekom has also expressed interest in building the network but, in a recent submission to the taskforce, suggested that the time limit given for submitting a proposal is too short to allow it to get involved.
According to the guidelines, the network should improve speeds, pricing and geographical availability of high-speed broadband across urban Australia. The network must also be open access, according to the guidelines, and promote competition.
Unlike the recent bush WiMax network, which attracted AU$1 billion of government funding, no public cash will be provided for the metropolitan network. However, the Coalition has committed to passing legislation or making any regulatory changes considered necessary to the creation of the network.