The Department of Communications has consulted on an update to the 2011 Fibre in New Developments Policy. The consultation document sets out proposed arrangements for the delivery of broadband in new housing developments and the charges NBN Co can levy on developers and owners. This is part of a package of Government responses to the recommendations of the 2014 Vertigan review and cost benefit analysis. The update aims to promote competition among infrastructure providers, and new arrangements are to be in place by 1st March 2015. One significant change is that developers and owners will now have to meet some of the costs that NBN Co has carried until now (fibre roll out and connection).

ACCAN's submission argues that:

  • Connection to broadband is a vital public utility, and as such connection costs should be paid by owners rather than tenants, as with other utilities. This would help overcome cost barriers experienced by low income tenants, and make broadband more affordable.

  • Proposals for infrastructure costs levied by NBN Co to be shared by developers and owners for wireless/satellite are unclear and potentially problematic. These should be treated in the same way as the charge for other technologies (i.e. fibre, copper and HFC), which is paid by the developer alone.

  • It is short sighted to allow developers to choose cheaper broadband infrastructure options in areas flagged for future fibre roll out and should be avoided, as this may deliver poorer quality services for residents. There is a risk that this approach will put returns to developers and infrastructure providers ahead of connecting end users to appropriate quality services, and ultimately be more expensive for NBN Co, tax payers and end users.

  • When overbuilding, NBN Co should prioritise areas that are not adequately serviced, using an assessment measure of a required NBN equivalent standard.

  • When developments are left on expensive and lesser quality interim services, such as wireless, consideration should be given by the government as to whether alternative wholesale providers can deliver an acceptable permanent connection sooner.

Our submission also puts forward proposals to avoid negative consequences for consumers in proposed arrangements for the broadband infrastructure provider of last resort.

docxTelecommunications infrastructure in new developments103.47 KB

pdfTelecommunications infrastructure in new developments434.31 KB