National broadband delayed … again

The National Broadband Network has suffered another delay to the point where analysts believe the NBN process is guaranteed to fail.

The deadline for bids for the National Broadband Network, or NBN, has been pushed back to November 26.

After the deadline, a government-approved panel will consider the proposals for six weeks before granting approval, not including an extra two weeks to give the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission time to comment.

And if that wasn’t enough, there are even further delays in order to create new legislation and regulations before the rollout of the NBN can start, as confirmed by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy yesterday.

Senator Michin, opposition spokesman for Communications, said the timetable was going to blow out again and that the final contract negotiations were impossible until all the legislation had been passed.

“There’s no way that a contract, a final binding contract, could be signed unless and until the proponent knows the outcome of all that legislative and regulatory process.”

Industry analysts believe the NBN tender is now more likely than ever to fail.

“Telstra isn’t going to bid and while Terria may make some sort of offer I’m not sure that it’ll be bankable.” said Mark McDonnell, analyst for BBY.

The financial crisis has also taken it’s toll on the NBN, with Terria bid manager Michael Simmons admitting that the global economy has made it unable to find the money to build through debt and equity.

“I think that’s what has happened with the whole global financial crisis is that that construct is just not viable,” Mr McDonnell said.

Source: The Australian

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