The Asian arm of one of Europe's largest telcos, Deutsche Telekom, has announced it may join the race to build Australia's urban fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) network.
According to a response to guidelines on the proposed network published on the Department of Communications, IT and the Arts' Web site, Deutsche Telekom Asia (DT Asia) is interested in taking part in the fibre rollout as part of a consortium.
"In terms of the investment required, DT Asia is confident that appropriate financial partners are available to support such a strategic infrastructure opportunity.
"DT Asia has a preference for public private funding with an appropriate commercial return. It should be noted that due to the nature of the Australian demographics, targeted subsidies may be required to reach the desired coverage that would otherwise not fit within 'normal' economic models for the wholesale broadband operator," the submission said.
The draft guidelines, decided by an expert taskforce who will preside over the FTTN network's development, will remain available for public consideration for a period of four weeks. The taskforce will then publish a final set of guidelines and interested parties will be able to tender for the network for 17 weeks afterwards.
Deutsche Telekom Asia expressed some concerns about the process in its submission to the taskforce, including the timeframe for the project, which it does not believe is sufficient.
"The timeframes provided do not permit the formation of consortium and for consortia to access the necessary technical information required for the assessment by the expert taskforce. Interested parties require sufficient time to consult on the availability of assets, access agreements to these assets and to be given time to examine and consider this information and its impact on the technology choice and the business plan," the submission said.
Should Deutsche Telekom Asia decide to join the fibre fray, it will likely find itself competing with the Optus-led G9 consortium and Telstra -- both of which have already made their own submissions to the expert taskforce.
In its submission, the G9 group echoed Deutsche Telekom's concerns that not enough time is available, both for consultation on the draft guidelines and for interested parties to create their proposals.
Labor is also planning its own fibre rollout should it win the upcoming election. Earlier this year, the party announced a AU$4.7 billion plan to deploy fibre to the node across the country, in order to deliver 12Mpbs connectivity to 98 percent of Australians.