Telecom New Zealand’s Australian subsidiary AAPT has withdrawn from the Terria consortium, which plans to bid for the national broadband network (NBN) tender, the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting. The decision to pull out is understood to have been taken following parent company Telecom New Zealand’s announcement that it would invest AUD574 million (USD397 million) in the roll out of a new mobile network in New Zealand. Terria, led by SingTel Optus, has confirmed it still intends to bid for the NBN tender, with submissions due by 26 November. ‘AAPT’s owner…is undertaking major capital investment in New Zealand and I can understand it wanting to focus on its home turf. However, the decision will not affect Terria’s bid.’ said Terria chairman Michael Egan. Following AAPT’s withdrawal the Terria consortium is comprised of Internode Systems, iiNet, Macquarie Telecom, Optus, Primus Telecom, Soul and TransACT.
Additionally, earlier this week the consortium announced that the global financial crisis had forced it to seek alternative funding for its bid, while Telstra, the group’s main rival in the tender process also claimed that the drop in value of the Australian dollar could increase the cost of the NBN project. Communication Minister Stephen Conroy has however reiterated plans to conclude the selection process by March 2009, despite these concerns.