The Australian government has signed a funding deal worth nearly AUD1 billion (USD827 million) for the Opel consortium to provide broadband internet to the bush, despite an unresolved legal challenge from Telstra. The government awarded the AUD958 million contract to the joint venture of Optus and Elders in June to build a wireless internet network for rural and regional areas. Opel will contribute a further AUD900 million to build the network. Opel had already begun work on the network, which has a completion target of June 2009.
Unsuccessful bidder Telstra has challenged the deal in court, alleging that in choosing the bid the government did not follow proper procedure.