The Western Australian government is fielding
strong interest from local parties after it asked for proposals
to attract funding from the federal government's AU$1.1 billion
Connect Australia broadband package.
The state's 2 April request for proposals came after federal
communications minister Senator Helen Coonan said on 8 March she
was considering setting aside a large part of Connect Australia
to fund regional broadband infrastructure.
Coonan has subsequently confirmed that idea is likely to go ahead and
asked for consortiums of telcos to put forward proposals on how
the funding would be spent.
The deputy director general of Western Australia's Department of
Industry and Resources, Stephen Grocott, told ZDNet Australia his department "has been very pleased with industry response to its request."
Eighty-two people attended information sessions held last week
by the department, Grocott said in a statement e-mailed late yesterday.
"With a further 38 that were unable to attend and who have
been briefed by e-mail and through the Web site specifically
established for this purpose," he added.
Grocott also welcomed Coonan's announcement this week that she
was developing a broad-ranging plan to coordinate public and
private investment in next-generation broadband
The plan will contain "clearly delineated roles for state,
territory and local governments," said Coonan at the time.
"The department welcomes the opportunity to continue to work
with the Commonwealth government and other jurisdictions on
long-term strategies to meet the needs of Australia," said
The state is expected to have assessed proposals by the end of this month, and will start working with successful parties on putting forward ideas to Coonan's office after that point.