A subsidiary of US fiber optic cable maker Corning, Inc is among three firms awarded contracts this week for deployment of the first phase of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), which is slated to reach 93% of Australian homes and businesses within the next decade. Valued at US$1.19 billion, the five-year contract signed by Corning encompasses optical cable and associated hardware for the open access NBN that will support download speeds of 100 Mbps. Prysmian (formerly Pirelli) of Italy and Warren & Brown Technologies, a Melbourne-based firm, were also awarded contracts, valued at $300 million and $110 million, respectively, to supply additional cable and hardware. The contract also builds upon Corning’s track record as a participant in various fiber-to-the-home infrastructure projects throughout Australia since 2005. Announcing the awards on Monday, Mike Quigley, the chief of the Australian government-owned NBN Co., stressed that the rash of recent floods impacting the nation would not delay construction of the US$36 billion network. As Quigley explained that part of the government’s aim in awarding equipment contracts to two foreign firms “is to ensure that Australian industry is internationally competitive,” a spokesman for Corning said, “we look forward to supporting Australia’s vision and leadership in broadband deployment.”