Under the present telecommunications regime, the only organisation with the necessary capital, resources and infrastructure to build a FTTN network that will reach 98% of Australia's population is Telstra. And of course Telstra is not in the race.
The Government knows this, Telstra knows this, the public knows this and even the NBN bidders know this. Whoever is named the winner or co-winners of the NBN tender have not got a ghost of a chance of building a FTTN network without the cooperation of Telstra in some shape or form.
Looking at the bidders - Axia, Acacia, Optus, TransACT or the Tasmanian Government - none has access to the necessary risk capital to chance its arm against Telstra, not even with the promised $4.7 billion Government backing. It's not just a matter of raising the extra $10 billion cash.
Building the NBN will require access to Telstra's copper - something Telstra will fight. It will require Telstra not to build a competing service - something Telstra will almost certainly try to do.
It will require the backing of capital prepared to risk huge sums against a powerful incumbent which already has much of the needed infrastructure, human resources, expertise and capital in place.
CONTINUED Page 2