Western Australia hires broadband chief

The Western Australia state government has hired a telcommunications and IT services group that will appoint a key executive to oversee the development of its planned AU$1 billion state-wide network (SBN).The state has awarded the executive project manager to Consultel, according to the state's Department of Industry and Resources (DoIR), which is overseeing the project.

The Western Australia state government has hired a telcommunications and IT services group that will appoint a key executive to oversee the development of its planned AU$1 billion state-wide network (SBN).

The state has awarded the executive project manager to Consultel, according to the state's Department of Industry and Resources (DoIR), which is overseeing the project.

"Details are still being finalised, but the department expects one of their [Consultel] officers will be taking up the position in the next few weeks," a spokesperson for the department told ZDNet Australia today via e-mail.

The SBN is an initiative announced by WA Premier Alan Carpenter in November, that will see the state government's annual AU$100m telecommunications spend pooled into a 10-year project to build and operate a state-wide broadband network for both government and commercial use.

The DoIR spokesperson also clarified the funding background behind the project, implying the SBN would put an end to individual agency contracts for telecommunications.

"This aggregated amount [AU$1 billion] is the current amount spent by all WA government agencies combined," they said. "Each agency currently negotiates its own telecommunications contract with its chosen supplier."

"The initial AU$100 million spend quoted does not include telecommunications hardware such as switches, routers, PABXs etc," they added.

The state will commence an expressions of interest project in the first half of 2007 to discuss the SBN with the local telecommunications industry. Following that process, the spokesperson said the WA government would enter a formal request for tender process for a party to build the network.

The successful tenderer will sell access to the network to third parties (who will deliver last-mile access to end users) as well as providing an end-to-end solution to the state government.

"Depending on the outcome of the EoI exercise, the government will consider packaging mobile, data, voice and video in a request for tender for the SBN during 2007," the spokesperson said. They added the local industry reacted positively to the SBN proposal in a 29 November briefing with the Premier.

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