Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

TPG’s Fibre to the Basement Rollout

11 September 2014

I note today's announcement that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has determined TPG's proposal to deploy high-speed broadband to inner city households and small businesses within one kilometre of its existing network as at 1 January 2011 does not contravene Part 7 or Part 8 of the Telecommunications Act.

I also note the ACCC's announcement that it will commence a declaration process for high-speed broadband services in multi-tenant buildings, including those using VDSL (a technology capable of delivering download rates of 100 megabits per second over copper lines). Declaration would enable the ACCC to regulate prices and terms for high-speed broadband services in multi-tenant buildings, and require that these networks be open to any retail service provider.  This will ensure that residents of multi-tenant buildings connected by vertically integrated carriers such as TPG can choose services from providers such as Optus, iiNet or Telstra if they wish.

The public inquiry process for declaring a category of telecommunications services can take up to a year, however, which creates a window of potential instability and industry uncertainty.

I am therefore proposing to consult industry in coming weeks on a new telecommunications licence condition, which will apply to all carriers. Under existing arrangements, affected carriers must be consulted for at least 30 days prior to the new licence condition being finalised.

The licence condition would require owners of high-speed networks affected by the ACCC's declaration process to functionally separate their wholesale operations, and to provide access to competing service providers on the same terms as it is provided to their own retail operations.

This licence condition would remain in place for two years – allowing the ACCC to undertake its declaration inquiry, the recommendations of the Vertigan panel to be properly considered, and long-term regulatory arrangements for the sector to be settled.

Media Contact: David Bold, Office of Malcolm Turnbull MP, 0423 202 369, David.Bold@communications.gov.au

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