The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) has invited organisations to submit expressions of interest for the establishment and operation of a high-speed broadband network for the vocational education sector.
The contract would initially span three years and was the first stage of the government's $80m Vocational Education Broadband Network (VEN) program.
Announced in April 2009, the VEN aimed to provide training institutions like TAFEs with access to educational content, data and communications.
Similar networks exist, or are in development, for the higher education sector and schools.
"Currently, broadband connections in the vocational education and training (VET) sector are variable in quality and speed," the DEEWR wrote in a report detailing its implementation strategy (pdf).
"The education and training sector needs access to broadband infrastructure on terms that are affordable, predictable and priced in ways that ensure it can be used to maximum educational effect."
Up to $70 million was expected to be available for the broadband implementation project, which involved rolling out a national backbone network with points of presence in all capital cities.
The network would be scalable, include redundancy mechanisms, support near-high definition video conferencing, and leverage as much of existing and upcoming NBN infrastructure as possible.
According to the DEEWR's tender documents, it hoped to spend less than the allocated $70m, so that more funds would be available for the second stage of implementation, which involved extending the network's capability and reach within states and territories.
Expressions of interest were invited until 6 April. The DEEWR expected to invite no more than five respondents to submit responses to any subsequent request for tender.