ACCAN recently responded to a consultation which sought views on the instruments under Part 20A of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Act). Part 20A of the Act requires real estate developers to install fibre-ready ‘pit and pipe’ infrastructure in proximity to buildings prior to the developer selling or leasing the building. The requirement to provide fibre-ready pit and pipe, which facilitates fibre installation in new developments (with exemptions to the requirement captured in a 2011 Instrument and a 2021 Instrument) is now under review.

In our response, ACCAN considered that the 2011 instrument appropriately defines instances where a development project should be exempt from the requirement to provide fibre-ready pit and pipe facilities, and should continue. However, ACCAN argued for changes to the instrument to minimise instances where a developer is exempt from installing fibre-ready facilities where non-fibre fixed-line facilities were installed prior to 2011, as well as changes to encourage fibre-ready pit and pipe to be provided where the development project is 1km or less from the nearest point of NBN’s fixed line footprint boundary.

The 2021 instrument provides an exemption for development projects located in areas where it is unlikely fixed-line network infrastructure will be installed in the foreseeable future. We consider this instrument should also continue but needs to strike the correct balance between capturing and excluding the appropriate development projects from the pit and pipe requirements. As such, all development projects within 1km of NBN’s fixed line network should be required to provide fibre-ready pit and pipe facilities. Additionally, there needs to be greater consideration of the views and requirements of local communities and local, State, Territory and Federal governments, as well as environmental factors such as topography and risk of natural disaster.

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