Chinese manufacturer Huawei has bet on Australia's newly crowned national broadband network (NBN) hub with a deal to train Melbourne university students in next-generation networking technologies.
RMIT and Huawei today signed a memorandum of understanding to build a next generation technology training centre which, over the next five years, will train 1,000 students nationally, including 500 students in Victoria.
Huawei will contribute equipment and permanent staff to train students in long term evolution (LTE), gigabit passive optical network (GPON) and next-generation broadband applications.
The deal came less than a week after NBNCo indicated it would locate its network operations centre (NOC) in Melbourne.
It was signed this morning by Huawei Australia CEO Guo Fulin and RMIT acting vice-chancellor and president professor Daine Alcorn, in the presence of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Victorian ICT minister John Lenders [pictured, gallery top right].
The value of the deal wasn't disclosed.
Conroy said the deal wouldn't improve Huawei's chance of winning lucrative NBN Co contracts.
"The NBN is a commercial organisation that works on a commercial basis. We don't have any say or role and shouldn't have any say or role in the actual issues when it comes to going to tender," Conroy said.
"I'm not in a position to comment on decision criteria on which [vendor] selections are made.
"The NBNCo runs a genuinely commercial process as it should, and I'm sure it'll take into account all the sort of support that is necessary for all of the network, or parts of the network."
Today's deal follows meetings in China between Victorian Premier John Brumby and Huawei's chairman last month, and Lenders and Huawei executives last year.