OPEL signs $1bn WiMax deal, Telstra preps lawyers

OPEL signs $1bn WiMax deal, Telstra preps lawyers

Summary: Despite an ongoing legal stoush which threatens to derail the network, the government and OPEL have finally sealed the deal that will bring WiMax to the bush.

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Despite an ongoing legal stoush which threatens to derail the network, the government and OPEL have finally sealed the deal that will bring WiMax to the bush.

The Communications Minister Helen Coonan yesterday announced the funding agreement with OPEL, a joint venture between Optus and Elders, has gone ahead. The new network, which will use long range wireless broadband technology WiMax, will deliver 12Mbps connectivity over 63,000 square km, according to the Minister.

The deal will see the government contributing around AU$938 million to the WiMax development with Optus and Elder investing around the same amount in the joint venture.

OPEL is scheduled to have the network live by June 2009, and will act as a wholesaler for access.

The bush WiMax network, however, is still the subject of an ongoing legal battle between the government and Telstra, which had previously submitted a tender to build the network.

The telco and the Minister are now engaged in a court case after Telstra alleged Coonan refused to give the company access to papers revealing how the winning tender was selected. According to Telstra, only OPEL was made aware of an increase of around AU$300 million in the amount of funding available for the network.

The Minister rejected Telstra's assertions saying the case resulted from sour grapes after the telco was beaten "fair and square" by its rival.

A spokesperson for the Minister's office told ZDNet Australia: "The case is back in the Federal court this week and this is a separate matter that takes its own course... This is going ahead, it's an important rollout for the country -- it will take broadband from 90 percent, where it is now, to 99 percent. That's a massive jump and nothing is going to stop that happening."

Despite the conclusion of the deal, Telstra plans to press ahead with its case and is still considering further legal action.

A spokesperson for the telco said: "We have not started these proceedings contingent on the deal being signed or not. If we are successful and after reviewing the documents, we will be seeking an order to get the Minister's decision revoked."

Topics: Broadband, NBN, Telstra, Optus, Telcos, Networking, Legal, Government AU, Government, Wi-Fi

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17 comments
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  • Excellent Outcome

    Obviously the only conditions that Telstra can operate in is under a Monopoly. As soon as they get some competition, they sook to the government about how unfair it is. This is great news !!!!!!
    anonymous
  • Fantastic news for regional consumers!

    People in rural areas will now have choice and competition - If they even HAD the possibility broadband before!

    This is EXCELLENT news.
    anonymous
  • Political Spin

    How can 63000 square km's account for 99% of the population?

    From my understanding Telstra rolled out the Next G nextwork to 2,000,000 square km's and accounts for about 99% of the population.
    anonymous
  • Typo

    It's actially 630000 km's. They left the last 0 off in this story.

    Please also note the part where Coonan says that this will take broadband from 90% population coverage to 99% - it is only meant to make up the difference.

    Telstra rolled out Next G to cover 99% of the population from scratch, not to subliment existing broadband coverage - that is why Next G covers a much bigger physical area.
    anonymous
  • Typo ... What a Joke ...

    Looking at the Maps I am a little confused.

    1. 630,000 sq km is still far short of 2,000,000 sq km and no money was asked by Telstra from the government. Don't try and claim Telstra was still government owned as we all know they built it as a private commercial venture.

    2. Much of this is in metro areas so how is this benefiting the bush?

    3. Telstra's CDMA covered 97% population with 1,400,000 sq km so to go from 97% to 99% they needed an extra 600,000 sq km, so how could you go from 90% to 99% using the same land area?

    If you want to correct someone else's typo please state a source or don't be "a non u ass".
    anonymous
  • funding question

    I heard a rumour that although the government is providing $938,000,000 in CASH the OPEL group are only providing about $200,000,000 in new capital and the rest ot the capital to make up their share is being supplied by selling existing services to the group. This would include the Optus ADSL infrastructure already installed.

    Is this correct and if it is then how is this really contributing to the country? I would see the only people taking a commercial risk are the Taxpayers.

    Also are Optus selling them at the real market value or at an inflated cost? If it is the later that would mean they would not need to put in as much new capital.
    anonymous
  • The Opel brand is the European version of Holden

    Interesting name of a venture... Op(tus)El(ders) marketing teams must have worked very hard for to come up with such a "great" idea. In an age of the importance of brands it's interesting to see that such a simple combination of the initial two letters of the entities forming the new venture is actually already a brand in Europe. It's now the GM version of the Holden cars and unfortunately it's not associated with quality, top service or creative design... Opel was founded in Germany 1863 and started to manufacture sewing machines.
    Best of luck to the team building this as a strong brand here locally and best of luck with all the challenges in Internet based marketing given that it's already a well established brand...
    anonymous
  • I am also confused by the maps

    The maps I have seen show a large number of WiMax cells, all of which are exactly circular and exactly the same size, so clearly they have not actually investigated local issues such as terrain, typical atmospheric conditions, etc.

    Theoretically my house in the Perth hills will be covered by WiMax, so I really hope it works since I can't get DSL or ISDN.

    However, I won't be holding my breath since the maps suggest an awful lot of dirt (i.e. hills) between the tower and my area... so I expect everyone in my area will be stuck on dialup for another decade or so until the next billion dollars comes along.
    anonymous
  • The maps are all theoretical

    If you read the opel proposal closely you will notice the 600,000 sq km is maximum theoretical coverage and subject to local conditions.

    Telstra's maps are state of the art, are down to street level and take into account hills, buildings and other factors.

    If I was to award a $1,000,000 contract I would ask for maps based on engineering standards and not based on a marketing person with a little round rubber stamp and a map of Australia.

    At least they remembered to include Tasmania
    anonymous
  • The maps are all theoretical ... more

    If I was to award a $1,000,000 contract I would ask for maps based on engineering standards and not based on a marketing person with a little round rubber stamp and a map of Australia. LET ALONE A $1,900,000,000 CONTRACT
    anonymous
  • Fact adjustment

    Many people are aware of Holden's sister company in Germany however Opel is not a recognised trademark in Australia. Nor is any product from an Opel factory marketed under that brand.

    If Telstra is allowed as an acronym of TELecom AuSTRAlia then why can't their competitors blend two words into their brand name?

    Your point is moot and does little to add to the debate regarding the quality of Internet access in Australia.

    On the subject of Germany, Deutsch Telekom wan'ts to come here and build a pure fibre network for everyone. I say let them do it. If it works and is reasonably priced then we'll all be better off. If not then at least jobs will have been created building the network.

    Boards of directors have lost the ability to take risks and their constant streams of bullsh$t dribbling down their chins about protecting investments at all costs just doesn't wash. If people had that attitude 200 years ago we'd still be re-thatching our roofs every couple of years and communicating with tins and lengths of string.
    anonymous
  • Clarification edit

    Where I stated that nothing from an Opel factory was marketed under that brand I mean this to include the Australian car market.

    I'll add that Holden was founded in 1856 building coaches and making saddles so it is the elder of the two businesses, no pun intended. :-)
    anonymous
  • More marketing cr@p

    Brad and the rest of you.

    If you know so much why can't you answer the questions above regarding funding and coverage instead of focusing on a stupd topic such as where a name came from.
    anonymous
  • Errrrm

    I did. Try reading my whole post instead of the bits that set you off like a scalded cat and then you'll know.

    One problem with these comment systems is that they allow too many unknowns in - too many anonymous hotheads and not enough of us putting our names to our thoughts.

    With that in mind I wouldn't object if ZDNet asked us each to register a username.
    anonymous
  • Errrum UM?

    How does this answer the above question regarding coverage? I don't see any clear answer to how anyone can reasonably explain being able to deliver 99.0% coverage, this is not the same as 98.51% rounded up to 99%.

    Also in terms of investment, there is talk of Deutsch Telekom and fibre but this does not answer the other question raised. How can Opel claim to be investing in the country when all they will be doing is buying existing infrastructure owned by Optus (at inflated rates I assume) then building a wireless network using the Federal Government's grant?

    LITTLE OR NO NEW PRIVATE CAPITAL

    ALMOST ALL COMMERCIAL RISK ON THE TAXPAYER

    NO COMMERCIAL GAIN FOR THE TAXPAYER

    I would look forward to any company coming in and investing their own money, and I mean 100% of their own money, to build any network and then claim subsidies on a per active service basis from the federal government.

    The Opel venture is fatally flawed, not because of competition, not because of technology but because of the economic model that has been used.
    anonymous
  • You will never read this on these anti-Telstra sites

    Telstra Wins at the First Global Telecoms Business Innovation Awards

    The first ever Global Telecoms Business Innovation Awards were presented in London on the evening of September 17 2007.

    Telstra won the IT innovation award, specifically recognizing Telstra's IT transformation projects, mostly undertaken in Australia.




    You armchair experts might hate Telstra but the real experts seem to think the other way!!!
    anonymous
  • If Telstra is so bad

    Winner - Best Broadband Supplier, 2007 Australian Telecoms Awards

    Winner - Best Wireless Broadband, 2007 Australian Personal Computer Internet Technology Awards

    Winner - Internet Technology of the Year, 2007 Australian Personal Computer Internet Technology Awards
    anonymous