Federal communications minister Senator
Helen Coonan has asked the Australian telecommunications industry
for proposals on how to use government funding to build new bush
The move is a formalisation of Coonan's plans to use chunks of
the government's AU$878 million Broadband Connect package to fund
new broadband networks in regional Australia.
Such funds had previously been allocated on a per-customer basis under the old Higher Bandwidth Incentive Scheme (HiBIS).
Since Coonan made her plans public several consortia of telcos
have formed to try to attract the funding.
The so-called "Expressions of Interest" (EOI) documents detailing the government's requirements for proposals can be
"The EOI puts forward likely assessment criteria that would
apply under an alternative funding approach, with commercial
viability and future scalability to higher speed services to be
major considerations," said a statement issued by the minister
"Consistent with the government's pro-competitive approach to
telecommunications, the EO also discussed the need for fair and
reasonable wholesale access arrangements to enable competition at
the regional level."
Interested parties will need to respond to the EOI by July 14.
The minister has also released revised guidelines for the existing, per-customer type of funding arrangements under the Broadband Connect package. The guidelines are available here.