A Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) network model may still be possible according to Conroy's department. The Acacia group submitted a proposal to cover 100 percent of Australia with a wholesale network of fibre to the home and node, and wireless and satellite for remote communities.
An FttH network model suggested by telco veteran Stephen Davis could cover 85 percent of households with fibre, connecting half of all premises in Australia's top 30 cities, and bypassing the remaining 50 percent premises. He said the connections would satisfy immediate demand for fibre and allow others to link in later.
“There are huge backhaul costs in trying to bring fibre out to all the small regional towns with 50 to 100 people,” Davis said.
Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said Telstra's rivals will have to collaborate to improve their bids.
There is a vested interest for the others to look for collaboration in order to grow their total position... that is not an issue for Telstra,” Budde said.
“Some of the ides coming from Axia Net Media and Acacia could well be included [in the NBN]. Different approaches could well be adopted by the government if the expert group sees it as beneficiary for the country.”
Budde said Acacia's open-access network model will gain traction as pressure increases on government to emulate open-access networks developing in other countries.
IBRS analyst Guy Cranswick said the economic crisis is the biggest problem facing NBN bidders.
“I don’t think 98 percent [coverage] is feasible for any period of time — even in the United Kingdom they still can't make 98 percent reach,” Cranswick said.
-Andrew Hendry contributed to this report