On Thursday 6 May, the Australian Government released the long awaited report known as the National Broadband Network (NBN) Implementation Study.

Please go to the DBCDE website for a copy of the NBN Implementation Study.

Picture of blue network cableThe study is a hefty five hundred page report prepared by consultants McKinsey & Company and KPMG, and has 84 recommendations for the Government about the best way for the NBN Co to go about its task of delivering high speed broadband to all Australians.

To make it easier for you, we’ve trawled the study for the key recommendations that are important for consumers.

NBN Co’s role

The study says Broadband over fibre cables can and should be delivered to 93 percent of premises within 8 years. The remaining 7 percent of premises will be getting their broadband via wireless and satellite.

The study reiterates that NBN Co should limit itself to laying down the cables and installing a box (knows as a network termination device) on the inside or outside of premises. NBN should not do wiring inside homes or offices or offer consumers any service. That is to be left up to the ‘retailers’ - companies such as Telstra, Optus and others.

The idea is that NBN Co enables these retailers to offer consumers competitive services and prices by allowing them all to access the infrastructure on an equal basis. Another important aspect of the study is the worry it shows about the government’s planned privatisation of what will be a powerful NBN Co monopoly.

Key recommendations and what you can do

We’ve identified some key recommendations that could have a big impact on consumers. We’ve also included the links below for you to make comments directly to the Minister in support or against:

• NBN Co should charge the retail companies like Telstra and Optus between $30 and $40 a month to ensure affordability for consumers and to encourage people to take up broadband. The study assumes that companies will in fact translate the low charges into low prices for customers. Comment here on pricing policy

• The Universal Service Obligation (USO) for the standard phone service imposed currently on Telstra needs to be redefined. The three options proposed by the study are:

- Telstra retains the USO but is allowed to deliver it via the NBN infrastructure.
- The USO is put out to tender and companies bid for a government subsidy.
- Government creates a new company that delivers the service when no else will.
Comment here on the Universal Service Obligation

•  NBN Co should be made to create a Charter that outlines how it will meet the needs of ‘stakeholder groups’ – including residential consumers and small businesses. Comment here on NBN stakeholder Charter

• The NBN Co’s service should provide a minimum broadband speed for residential use, offering at least 20 megabits per second with this figure to be continually reviewed and kept competitive. Comment here on minimum speeds

• For continuation of the ‘000’ emergency calls system where the location of the caller is automatically supplied to emergency services by the phone company, NBN Co should be required to ensure the supply of caller information. Comment here on NBN supporting emergency calls

• Privatisation is supposed to occur within five years of the project’s completion. The study recommends the government be very cautious and ‘preserve flexibility in both the timing and nature of privatisation’. The default position, says the study, should be that monopoly infrastructure is not privatised. Comment here on privatisation

• There should be a minimum public notice period of somewhere between 1 and 5 years when the time comes for de-activating the old copper phone lines. Comment here on notice period for deactivating copper network

• As it lays out fibre across Australia, NBN Co should communicate its progress on a public ‘coverage register’ which would list all premises in Australia. Comment here on coverage register

• To prevent delays in installing in apartment blocks and other multi-unit dwellings, NBN Co should be given the legal right to access common areas, and body corporates and building managers should be required to assist NBN Co to access premises. Comment here on NBN access to multi-unit dwellings

ACCAN's guiding principles for Australia's broadband future are in our submission on the National Broadband Network draft bill. See our submissions page.

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