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National Broadband Network (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 16-December-2008  00:01:58 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

As reported earlier, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has confirmed that Telstra had been kicked out of the National Broadband Network bidding process earlier this morning, after it failed to submit "a small to medium enterprise participation plan". "There was nothing to stop Telstra from submitting a complete proposal and competing vigorously with other proponents in this process," Conroy said, claiming the RFP was a level playing field. "However, the Telstra board sought special treatment by proposing its own process."

This decision hasn't gone down well with the opposition communications spokesman, Senator Nick Minchin, who has labelled Government's decision to cut Telstra out of the NBN process as "beyond a joke". "From the beginning this process has been based on the flimsiest of foundations. The tender documents are so vague and open to multiple interpretations, they are not worth the paper they are written on," Senator Minchin said. "This has been compounded by the manifest failure of the minister responsible, Stephen Conroy, to provide proponents with even a hint of clarity regarding regulatory non-negotiables. This is just the latest instalment in an extraordinary saga of ineptitude, delay and confusion in the government's management of a $4.7 billion project."

However, according to some industry onlookers the Federal Government is likely to be forced into a legal battle with Telstra. "The senior management continues to believe that being, to quote a trading phrase, 'big swinging dicks', is going to get them what they want." "I hope that the Federal Court tells Telstra to pull their heads in when the inevitable case comes before the full bench," says Stephen Collins, a web strategist and founder of the acidlabs consultancy.

David Braue of ZDNet Australia posted an interesting blog article titled; Dear Telstra: pack up your toys, go home. If you've ever played a board game with a young child, you've probably dealt with the internal struggles one faces in trying to establish a fair contest. Do you just let them win to boost their confidence; do you whip them outright to build their constitution; or, perhaps, do you agree to their requests for one-sided rule changes that favour their particular capabilities?

Meanwhile, Greens are saying that if the private sector was incapable of building the NBN then the Federal Government should look at rolling out the National Broadband Network itself. Greens leader Bob Brown says the previous Howard government's decision to privatise Telstra was a "colossal blunder" and Labor should be prepared to build the network itself. "The government's got to be looking at providing broadband to Australia if the private sector can't do it," he told reporters. "We are now left with Telstra having its own interests, not the national interests, at the forefront.

As always, you can keep up to date on this subject HERE.

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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.