Industry slams government's $4.7bn broadband tender

Industry slams government's $4.7bn broadband tender

"Working off one central infrastructure isn't going to work on multiple layers. It stops the competitive environment, solidifies the business model we have to follow going forward, and dictates the services consumers have to buy," he said. "We will pay more for FttN than what we pay today."

In a statement, Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said the government has committed to providing up to $4.7 billion in funding and will consider any necessary regulatory changes to enable the rollout. In recent media reports he has also been quoted as considering a structural separation of Telstra to ensure competition.

"We don't need $4.7 billion if we want to address the regulatory environment and have the right framework in place," Budde said. "The Labor government, like the previous one, is struggling to do what everyone is telling them to do."

But IDC's Cannon said the debate about next-generation services should be taken away from technology and onto social usage factors. The tight schedule set by the government for the FttN rollout would only limit these discussions.

"The thing about FttN and the choice of technology is that it doesn't address the social reasons for why we're building this network," he said. "What do we want to do with it? Is it to make improvements to healthcare and connectivity in the bush? Is it to reduce waiting times and accessing doctors from home? Is it so people in regional areas can videoconference with their counterparts in metro areas? Or is it so hospitals can transfer large files from one location to another? In some of these cases, you don't need the 50Mbps or more access speeds fibre will provide.

"That's why the argument overall is flawed. If we get agreement on what we want the network to do, then add the bandwidth requirements to that, the question of what technology to rollout will be answered."

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