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NBN Co to Vet Vendor Skeletons

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The government-owned fibre-to-the-home builder and operator, NBN Co, will over the coming months pore over the capabilities, skeletons and local presence of vendors to create its shortlist of five to 10 suppliers.

Following the NBN Co’s “request for capability” document issued this week as part of the plan to weed out suppliers, nearly all major telco networking vendors are expected to prepare statements for the largest project in the sector for the next decade.

The tender for Australia’s $43 billion NBN will, when it is released, become one of six national fibre-to-the-home projects along with New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Greece and Qatar.

Australia’s fibre-to-the-“premises” network will include GPON (gigabit passive optical network) and point-to-point technologies, the NBN Co specified, with the latter expected to cater to large enterprise, and the former to households.

According to several industry sources, expect more than just the giant telecommunications networking companies to report their five-year track records. Datacentre and IT networking companies, such as Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Juniper Networks, Nortel and others are also expected to submit their capabilities.

In responding to the NBN Co’s request, Swedish vendor Ericsson, French company Alcatel Lucent, China’s Huawei, Japan’s local arm of NEC, and Finnish-German joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks, will all be able to point to major deployments the NBN Co wants to hear about.

However, pointing to examples identical to Australia’s plan — wholesale-only, open-access and across a massive, varied geography — won’t be a simple task, according to Ericsson’s Australian NBN lead, Colin Goodwin.

“It’s not a question of which one is like Australia’s NBN. They’re all unlike each other. It’s one of the fascinating characteristics — they’re all unique,” Goodwin told ZDNet.com.au.

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