Australia's post-production industry is applying for some of the $22m (A$40m) put aside by the federal government for the development of an advanced communications infrastructure. The sector hopes to improve performance by securing increased broadband access at better prices.

Consultants Malcolm Long and Associates are preparing the submission, due on December 12, under instructions from the newly formed FIBRE Pty Ltd (Film Industry Broadband Resources Enterprise). The new company grew out of a number of forums held to find a solution to what is seen as a serious structural block to growing the offshore production business.

"We are not forming a company to dig trenches or buy cables ourselves but to act as a broker," said FIBRE chair Dominic Case, who acknowledged the difficulties of exactly measuring future demand. "In some ways we are reaching into the unknown. The acid test is how much bandwidth we want and how much we want to pay and the answer is as much as possible for as little as possible. But it has to be better and more efficient than FedEx."

Government agencies the Australian Film Commission, New South Wales Film and Television Office, Cinemedia and ScreenWest are providing funding to assist with the bid, as is the Screen Services Association of Victoria and Fox Studios.