National broadband network consortium Terria said today that AAPT's withdrawal from the group would not affect its ability to hand in a bid on 26 November.
Terria chairman Michael Egan (Credit: Terria)
Although Terria chairman Michael Egan regretted
AAPT leaving the group, he understood the desire by the carrier's parent Telecom New Zealand to focus its money on the home
market after its profit warning yesterday as it
half a billion dollars for a new 3G mobile network.
Egan said that AAPT's leaving would not affect the
consortium's bid financially or otherwise as AAPT had always said it
did not intend to invest significant equity in the bid.
"It's not as though there isn't any cash around in the
world," he said. "Getting finance always depends on the quality
of your business case."
Egan was convinced that Terria's commitment to roll out first
to rural areas would create more new customers first than
resupplying broadband customers in metro areas and would therefore
provide more revenue in the start of the roll out. Telstra, on the
other hand, he said had indicated it would take eight years to reach rural
AAPT's decision would not affect its operations in the future,
Egan said. "They'll be an access seeker," he said, receiving
open access to wholesale services like any other carrier.
He denied that AAPT's departure might have had an ulterior
motive, saying that Terria was still a happy consortium.
Maha Krishnapillai (Credit: Optus)
Maha Krishnapillai, director of government and regulatory affairs at Optus,
which has, unlike AAPT, committed to spending its money on a Terria roll-out, echoed
Egan's confidence that AAPT's decision would not have any affect
on the bid.
"Optus has indicated for some time that we are keen to invest
one to two billion dollars in the Terria broadband bid along with
other equity investors while AAPT has indicated for quite some time
that it will not be a significant financial investor for Terria," he said. "[AAPT's departure] will have no impact on the fact that this is a
very strong infrastructure investment and we'll be putting in a
complete bid on 26 November."
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, speaking at a press conference in Canberra today, wasn't
concerned about the carrier's departure from Terria.
"I'm still very confident that we're going to have some very viable proposals
on November 26," he said, adding that there was plenty of competitive tension
over the project. "You wouldn't be seeing all this commentary if there wasn't lots of lobbying, jockeying, positioning to put in for the tender," he said.