Tassie government lodges $5 million broadband bond

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Tassie government lodges $5 million broadband bond

The Tasmanian government has lodged the $5 million bond required to take part in the federal government’s $4.7 billion national broadband network project, rounding out the now known participants to seven.

Although Senator Conroy this week declined to divulge the identities of the other parties who have also paid the $5 million bond, it is known the Tasmanian government will join six other companies.

Those parties to have confirmed their participation include Telstra, the Terria consortium (formerly G9), Optus and TransACT. Both the Macquarie bank and Canada based Axia group are also believed to have lodged the bond, but are yet to publicly confirm their involvement.

Parties that lodged the $5 million bond before Friday May 23 will gain access to secret telco network infrastructure information.

Consumer action group, Digital Tasmania, welcomed the Tasmanian government’s intention to compete for the NBN tender, but warned it must not further delay the commercialisation of the Basslink optical fibre.

“This announcement shows that the state government does recognise the unique challenges Tasmanians face in getting affordable and fast broadband access through their chosen ISP,” said Digital Tasmania spokesperson Andrew Connor.

“We have already seen considerable delays in awarding Aurora the Connect Tasmania tender. We understand this was partly due to the state government waiting for the outcome of last year’s Broadband Connect Infrastructure Program, eventually awarded to OPEL Networks. The state government must not make the same mistake twice.”

Connor said that even though the Basslink fibre project was on the drawing board before the NBN was even conceived, the two projects would remain complementary.

He said that the commercialisation of the Basslink fibre would serve large enterprises and the wholesale market, while NBN was aimed at consumers and small business broadband users.
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