The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has introduced legislation that ensures newly-built homes will be equipped with infrastructure that will help deliver fast-speed broadband to the occupants.
The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill 2010 amends the Telecommunications Act 1997 and gives the Federal Government the legislative backbone for providing super-fast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure installed in new developments across Australia. Conroy said that the amendment would bring fast-speed broadband sooner to homes.
"High-speed broadband is becoming a critical utility service like water, electricity and gas,” said Conroy. "It doesn’t make sense for new houses to be fitted with old copper technology, particularly when it is easier to put fibre or fibre-ready technology in when homes are first built.”
The Government stated in April 2009 that new legislation must be adopted in order to complement the planned National Broadband Network and to ensure that fibre infrastructure was to be installed in new homes.
This new framework allows Conroy to outline, in subordinate legislation, which type of building developments will need to have FTTP infrastructure, as well as the conditions and technical and service standards of developments with fibre-technology. These conditions will be released by the Government ‘in the coming weeks’ before the bill goes before the Senate Communications Committee and Parliament.
Regulations made under the legislation will also provide access conditions to cater for third-party access to fibre-ready facilities. The government has also introduced the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009, to address the future structure of the telecommunications sector. This bill is currently before the Senate.