SEEK founders in broadband bid

The founders of job-search website SEEK have been revealed as members of a syndicate aiming to take a large portion of the Rudd Government’s $15 billion broadband infrastructure network offer.

Paul Basset, Andrew Basset and fellow SEEK founder and former executive Matthew Rockman are part of the Acacia syndicate, which according to The Australian, is planning a bid to provide Victoria with a broadband network using the $4.7 billion available from the Government.

Investors in the high-profile syndicate include former Berri juice boss Doug Shears, who founded the Uncle Toby’s packaged foods group, ABC board member Steven Skala and Macquarie Infrastructure Group director David Mortimer. The group’s directors are Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce chairman Leon Kemplar and Telstra executive Lawrence Paratz.

Kemplar’s office says he is legally unable to discuss matters relating to the Acacia syndicate’s broadband bid.

The bid would result in private control of the network for a set amount of time, at which point the infrastructure would then be owned by the Government.

Telstra says the Government’s plans for structural separation are flawed, and threatens to walk away from the bids if any part of its infrastructure is separated from its retail arm.

However David Kennedy, analyst at telecommunications consulting firm Ovum, says some structural separation is already in place, but requires evaluation. “Some review of its operation would be appropriate,” he says, “and that could be used to inform the Government’s final decision on the bid.”


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