Friday was D-Day for the lodgement of the bank guarantees for the government's $5m bond for securing the right to bid on the National Broadband Network.

Speculation is rife as to who has submitted the bond. We know for sure that TERRiA and Telstra have entered the race as they have publicly announced their intentions. But there are a few interesting developments.

TransACT have lodged their own bond while being part of the TERRiA consortium. Chief executive Ivan Slavich said the TERRiA bid was the first priority, but a bond had been lodged to maintain flexibility. "We're part of the TERRiA consortium, but we're keeping our options open," Mr Slavich said. "We're very much committed to the consortium but a lot of other things need to happen between now and when the bid needs to be lodged". Some speculate that TransACT may be bidding directly just for a state based bid, however TransACT, who recently took control of Neighbourhood Cable, also has network in Geelong and Ballarat and Bendigo. Optus, another of the TERRiA consortium members also lodged their own bond backed by Singtel.

Sources close to Macquarie Bank confirmed that it had lodged a bond, taking the approach of a utility access model which would be separated from the retail providers. If this is true, their bid is most likely to be supported by industry and the state governments who have been demanding operational separation of the network from the retail providers.

It is also believed that the Canadian-based Axia NetMedia and the Tasmanian Government may have lodged bonds, however neither party have publicly commented if this is true - adhering to the rules of the tender.

EDIT: According to MIS Australia, the Tasmanian goverment has confirmed its lodgement of the $5m bond and will be making a State based bid to specifically address the state's broadband disadvantage relative to the rest of the nation.

So in all, there seems to be 6 bidders in the game.


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