Broadband limits hinder local firms

THE lack of broadband Internet services in parts of Perth has become a barrier for businesses seeking work on big resource projects.

Major companies such as Alcoa and ChevronTexaco now utilise online procurement systems.

Aspiring suppliers not only register their interest via the Internet, they also have to download tender documents via the world wide web.

Originally an alternative means of accessing information for big projects, the Internet has increasingly become the only research tool needed.

Australian Steel Institute State manager John Yeudall said local firms needed broadband connections and quality printers if they wanted to download and print tender documents.

The problem is that parts of WA simply do not have access to broadband connections.

The Belmont industrial area is only starting to get broadband capacity, while Malaga and most of the State’s South West are still without broadband.

Mr Yeudall said a related trend was the move towards online reverse auctions, in which bidders with a conforming tender were invited to participate.

The aim of reverse auctions is to achieve the lowest possible price.

Critics believe this kind of price-driven process is at the expense of quality and service.

Industry Capability Network WA director David Kobelke said reverse auctions were widely used in North America and he was surprised at their slow take-up in Australia.

Mr Kobelke said bidders were sometimes the winners from a reverse auction, if competing firms dropped out of the bidding at an early stage.

He acknowledged the problem with broadband but urged local firms to acquire the necessary technical capacity so they can obtain information and participate in online auctions.

“Its like any technology, our companies must become familiar with it,” Mr Kobelke said.


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