The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications sought comments on proposals to amend part 20A of the Telecommunications Act 1997 to boost pit and pipe provision in new developments.

Currently unincorporated developers are not required to build the necessary pits and pipes to allow network providers to install telecommunications in new buildings. Whilst most developers provide the necessary infrastructure to support telecommunications, there are a small number of premises built, in areas serviced by fixed-line telecommunications networks, without telecommunications pit and pipe, leading to inconvenience and additional costs for occupants of these premises.

This problem affects up to 3,000 premises a year and comes at a cost to new occupants as they will experience a lack of service, delays in service, cost of retrofitting and the cost of interim services.

ACCAN’s position

Our comments called for new legislation that requires all developers to contract with a carrier to have network infrastructure installed. This option would increase the installation of enabling pit and pipe and networks, prevent costly retrofitting and limit time spent without access to telecommunications.

In some instances, mainly in rural, bushland and remote areas, a developer may be exempt from providing fibre-ready infrastructure. ACCAN considers that potential occupants should be told up front that their premises are exempt from the rules.

Lastly the legislation should include a compensation mechanism. This would create a greater incentive for compliance, and where the rules have been breached, consumers would be compensated for the costs and harm caused by moving into a new development that does not have the necessary infrastructure to support telecommunications.

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