Australia’s Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has announced that the government has received the final report from the expert panel with recommendations on bidders for the National Broadband Network (NBN) project, itWire reports. Following the 26 November 2008 deadline the panel has been considering all bids put forward, whilst also communicating with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding the regulatory elements of submissions. Mr Conroy has confirmed that the government will now consider the report, with negotiations with recommended bidders likely to be the next step; previous reports suggest that the winning bidder may be selected by end-March 2009. The Federal Opposition has criticised the government however, after it was revealed that it would not release the findings of the panel.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, six bids were received for the NBN project, worth an estimated AUD4.7 billion (USD3.06 billion). Whilst bids from Optus Network Investments (ONI), Axia, TransACT, Acacia, and the Tasmanian Government are still being considered, incumbent Telstra was excluded from the process in December 2008 based on a technicality.