BCL challenge won't slow Probe rollout

The Far North District Council has no plans to review its preferred vendor for the region's broadband rollout despite a legal challenge that may delay the implementation.

The Far North District Council has no plans to review its preferred vendor for the region's broadband rollout despite a legal challenge that may delay the implementation.

Government owned Broadcast Communications Limited (BCL) is seeking a judicial review of competitor Walker Wireless's radio frequency licences in a move described by Far North Development Trust chairman Chris Mathews as "aggressively going against the spirit of the project". Mathews says there may not even be a delay.

"Firstly [that] assumes they will go to court and that's not entirely certain at this stage. Then it assumes the judge will issue a finding that affects the rollout and that's also not certain. There's a long way to go before we reach that point."

BCL is questioning the validity of several licences Walker Wireless bought during a recent government spectrum auction. The company claims there is the potential for interference across its network as the two technologies used by the competitors will clash.

Walker Wireless has won the Northland contract issued under the government's broadband initiative, Project Probe. BCL, with its partner Telecom, also bid for the contract but missed out. The other two regions, Wairarapa and Southland, also went to Walker Wireless. The remaining regional tenders will be awarded later this year under the auspices of telecommunications consultancy, Amos Aked Swift, which is acting as project manager for the government.

AAS, Wairarapa Smart Region and Venture Southland were all unavailable for comment.

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