Deadline arrives for broadband network builders

By Helen Twose

Photo / Kenny Rodger
Photo / Kenny Rodger

Telecommunications technology companies have until today to register their interest in supplying the basic infrastructure to build the government-backed high speed broadband network.

Crown Fibre Holdings has called for expressions of interest from technology companies interested in supplying equipment such as fibre cable, connectors and roadside cabinets.

A second process is likely to run for the purchase of the specialist hardware and software required to run the fibre networks.

An industry insider said there was vigorous competition from a range of technology suppliers in what will be the biggest telecommunications spend up in years. Tech companies will be shortlisted on December 20, with a request for proposals due to be issued by Crown Fibre Holdings on Christmas Eve.

Crown Fibre Holdings is responsible for negotiating contracts with various telecommunications infrastructure players, including Telecom, Vector and local electricity lines companies, to build a high speed broadband network in urban areas.

To date it has signed up Whangarei's Northpower and Ultra Fast Fibre, owned by WEL Networks, to roll out a fibre-based network in their respective regions.

Crown Fibre Holdings came under scrutiny last month when it responded to criticism by the Labour Party that board member Murray Milner was consulting to Chinese technology vendor Huawei.

Huawei confirmed Milner had worked as a consultant for a period of three months ending in August engaged in work not directly related to the ultrafast broadband project.

Crown Fibre Holdings denied there were any conflicts of interest around Milner's directorship role and consulting gig.

In the expressions of interest documents Crown Fibre Holdings stated its role would be to guide and provide commercial and technical advice and administrative support.

Crown Fibre Holdings has appointed Francie Chung as its procurement officer to oversee the process.

Chung has previously managed IT procurement processes at IRD, Transpower and Telecom, including sole responsibility for the commercial management of all supplier contracts for the construction and delivery of its XT mobile network.

- NZ Herald

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