A new entity called the Tasmanian National Broadband Network Company (TNBNco) will be formed to oversee the first stage of the Federal Government's NBN rollout in Tasmania.
At the official launch of the Basslink telecoms project, Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, revealed plans to start the company, which will be a subsidiary of NBNco and jointly owned by Aurora Energy. The announcement follows the Tasmanian Government’s $12.7 million equity contribution from the state’s budget to the electricity company’s optic fibre system as part of an NBN initiative.
The plan is to build a fibre network that connects 200,000 Tasmanian residential and commercial properties with 100Mbps connection speeds. The remaining premises will receive wireless or satellite broadband that is slower, at around 12Mbps.
As part of stage one of the $43 billion NBN deployment, Aurora will open up tenders for resource and equipment procurement to facilitate construction of the fibre-to-the-premise network in Tasmania. The company is starting with calls for fibre optic cable suppliers.
The contract up for grabs is for provisioning and managing the cables. According to the tender description, Aurora reserves the right to award a contract to one supplier or to establish a non-exclusive panel for the supply of the cables for specific projects.
The deal will run for three years with a possible extension for another two on a year-to-year basis.
An Australian fibre maker which has expressed interest in the NBN, Optimal, said it will definitely submit a tender but expects competition from national suppliers as well as overseas contenders.
Aurora refused to comment further on its role and how responsibilities will be delegated between itself and TNBNco.