Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Minister for Communications

Minister for the Arts

Manager of Government Business in the Senate

Regulatory reforms to strengthen the delivery of superfast broadband

12 December 2016

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister For Communications
Senator The Hon Fioan Nash, Minister For Regional  Communications

The  Coalition Government today released draft legislation to strengthen the  provision of superfast broadband infrastructure for public consultation.The draft  legislation sets out provisions to:

  • establish  the Regional Broadband Scheme (RBS) to sustainably fund the long term costs of  regional and remote Australia's National Broadband Network satellite and fixed  wireless networks;
  • improve  the competitive framework that superfast broadband infrastructure providers  operate within; and
  • formalise  the Government's commitment to ensuring all Australian premises can access a  superfast broadband connection through the Statutory Infrastructure Provider  regime.

These reforms  will provide a strong structural framework for superfast broadband.

For more  information about the reform package, supporting documents and to make a  submission visit: https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say.

Consultation on  the draft legislation is open until 3 February 2017. The Government intends for  the legislation to commence from 1 July 2017.  

Background

The  reforms implement key aspects of the Government's policy response to the NBN  Market and Regulation Report conducted by the National Broadband Network Panel  of Experts (the Vertigan Review). The design of the RBS has been informed by  the final report of the Bureau of Communications Research on funding regional  Australia's access to superfast broadband.

Regional  Broadband Scheme

Regional  and rural users of nbn's fixed wireless and satellite services will benefit  from the RBS which will require all eligible fixed-line superfast broadband  networks to make a proportionate contribution to the long-term cost of these  services.  The  RBS is estimated to raise around $40 million from eligible non-nbn networks in  its first year. Non-nbn fixed-line networks are currently estimated to provide  10 per cent of fixed-line services in operation. nbn, as the largest network,  will continue to be responsible for the overwhelming majority of funding for  regional and rural services and will make around 90 percent of RBS  contributions.  The  eligibility requirements for networks to contribute to the RBS are set out in  the draft legislation and may be amended in future years as broadband  technologies evolve.

Statutory  Infrastructure Provider

The  introduction of a SIP regime will guarantee that all people in Australia, no  matter where they live or conduct their business, will have access to  high-speed broadband. Under the arrangements, nbn will be the default SIP for  all of Australia, although other carriers will be able to be SIPs where  appropriate. SIPs will be required to connect premises to high speed broadband  following a reasonable request from a retail service provider.

Improving  the competition framework

The  package will also establish new wholesale and retail rules for superfast  networks (other than the NBN) to improve commercial opportunities and bolster  competition. The package will protect the interests of consumers by preventing  anti-competitive behaviour and put downward pressure on broadband prices.

Consultation  process

Consultation  on the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill  2017 and Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Bill 2017  exposure drafts is open until 3 February 2017. The Government intends for the  legislation to commence from 1 July 2017.

Related  material

NBN  Market and Regulation Report conducted by the National Broadband Network Panel  of Experts 1 October 2014 –https://www.communications.gov.au/publications/nbn-market-and-regulatory-report

  • The  Government's Telecommunications Regulatory and Structural Reform Policy  (December 2014) can be found here: https://www.communications.gov.au/sites/g/files/net301/f/Telecommunications_Regulatory_and_Structural_Reform_Paper_-_11_December_....pdf.
  • Bureau  of Communications Research (Department of Communications and the Arts) inquiry  into funding nbn's non-commercial services:
  • https://www.communications.gov.au/publications/nbn-non-commercial-services-funding-options-final-report-march-2016

  • Initial  consultation, May 2015: https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/nbn-non-commercial-services-funding-options
  • Final  consultation, October 2015: https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/final-consultation-nbn-non-commercial-services-funding-options
  • Final  report, March 2016: https://www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/bureau-communications-research/resources
  • Media contacts:

    Fifield:Geraldine Mitchell| 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell@communications.gov.au

    Nash: Les White | 0409 805 122 | les.white@communications.gov.au

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