Australia's NBN puts out network construction tender

As the Australian government ramps up its National Broadband Network (NBN) initiative, it has asked 21 companies to make bids on building the network.

Included on the list is the country's incumbent service provider Telstra (ASX: TLS.AX) in addition to major Australian construction companies such as Downer EDI, UGL and Leighton Holdings. While 45 companies were initially asked to compete for the NBN construction business, the government decided to pare it down to 21 because they felt this group had the right experience to get the job done.  

"The lead contractors will need all the resources and skills available to them to realize this project," said NBNCo Head of Construction Patrick Flannigan in a statement.

The $37 billion NBN initiative is the government's move to provide higher broadband speeds than are currently offered by the country's incumbent provider Telstra. After nine months of tense negotiation, NBN finally hammered out an $11 billion ‘preliminary deal' with Telstra on Sunday to acquire and rebuild its copper-based wireline network with fiber.

For more:
- Reuters has this article

Related articles:
Telstra agrees to sell wireline network to Australian government
Australian govt says it doesn't need Telstra to build the NBN
Telstra break up could be in peril
Telstra strikes out against changes to Australia's NBN plan