The office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has confirmed the controversial $25 million National Broadband Network implementation study will be released before the Federal Budget in May.
Conroy reportedly told journalists about the release earlier today, and his spokesperson confirmed the timing of the release this afternoon. Further information about how the decision was made to release the document was not available.
According to its original brief, the implementation study will determine the operating arrangements for the NBN Company, as well as detailing network design and financial details — for example, attracting private sector investment. It was put together by consulting firms KPMG and McKinsey.
However, since NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley came on board last year, the company has already taken action on a number of fronts which the tender documents mentioned would be covered by the implementation study — such as key decisions on network design. The NBN Co has also kick-started various procurement processes associated with the NBN build-out.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam had threatened to pull the party's support for the Federal Government's controversial telecommunications reform legislation due to Stephen Conroy's decision not to yet release the National Broadband Implementation study during the last Senate sitting.
Ludlam successfully passed a Senate order requiring Conroy to hand over the study. At the time, the senator said he had grown tired of waiting and had warned the government was "basically burning the goodwill of the crossbenches".
Conroy had defended the decision not to put the study into the public domain yet, saying it was a Cabinet decision.