NBN Co, the company charged with building Australia's $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN), today released an expression of interest for companies to provide passive network kit for the national roll-out.
Passive network kit can include cables, sockets, switching panels, repeaters and concentrators — equipment that deals only with electronic signals and doesn't analyse the data contained within them.
"We seek registrations of interest from suitably qualified manufacturers of fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) passive network hardware," the expression of interest said.
Companies that expressed their interest would need to be "invited" by NBN Co to participate in the associated request for proposal process.
"NBN Co will ... consider submissions and at its discretion issue invitations to respond and the associated RFP [request for proposal] documents," the company said.
It will be open for companies to apply for within the next two weeks and closes 22 March. There was no estimate of the value of the equipment sought.
Company spokesperson Rhonda Griffin told ZDNet.com.au that the two weeks notice for registration of interest was because NBN Co was "trying to move quickly".
"It's only an expression of interest so we want to move on it fairly quickly and then move on to the RFP stage."
This month the test sites for the mainland roll-out of the NBN were announced. NBN Co will start connecting these sites from July this year. The first stage of the roll-out involves the laying of passive network components.
NBN Co is further along the purchase process for active equipment, with the company entering the shortlisting stage, according to Griffin.