Now that the NBNco board has been announced and the lead advisors appointed for the implementation study, a spokesperson for Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy confirmed there are at least five major next steps to be taken in the Federal Government’s ambitious National Broadband Network (NBN) plan.
In no particular order they are: 1. NBNco CEO, Michael Quigley and his five fellow board members must decide on the location of the newly-formed company’s headquarters. So far, Victoria, NSW and Queensland have flagged their interest in playing host. But this week reports surfaced that Quigley may just decide to split the spoils between several locations.
2. The lead advisors for the implementation study – KPMG and McKinsey – will start their work as soon as possible with a view to finishing by February 2010. The advisors will receive submissions made by the industry to a consultative process on the legislative framework for the NBNco to assist this process. A spokesperson for Senator Conroy said the submissions may be made publicly available online.
3. The Tasmanian rollout of the NBN, to be overseen by TNBNco and Aurora Energy, will begin by or in October. A tender released by Aurora Energy for fibre optic cable to supply the rollout closes on Friday, August 14. The the winning bidder will be announced following an evaluation process. It is not clear how long this process will take.
4. The winning bidders of a tender to build, operate and maintain backbone transmission links to regional towns will be announced prior to September. Locations identified in the Regional Backbone Blackspots Program as first off the rank include: Wonthaggi, Leongatha, Korumburra, Inverloch, Foster, Yarram, Victor Harbor, Broken Hill, Darwin, Geraldton, Emerald and Longreach. Construction is expected to begin in September.
5. Legislative changes to enable the NBN to proceed will be tabled in Parliament. The spokesperson for Senator Conroy said the government “aims to introduce legislation later this year”.
Other questions as to whether a roadmap for the NBN has been created or if the NBNco board have been directed to produce one, were not answered by Senator Conroy’s spokesperson. As a result it is still unclear what other developments are likely to take place.