by Byron Connolly

Govt calls for comment on proposed broadband regulatory changes

Jun 12, 2015
Technology Industry

The Federal government is calling for comment on proposed changes to telecommunications carrier powers and immunities that will help NBN (the company) roll out the national broadband network faster and at a lower cost.

Carriers currently have powers and immunities to install and maintain certain low-impact facilities such as using power poles to deploy overhead networks, enabling them to operate under a single, streamlined national regime.

Proposed changes would extend these rights to NBN’s (formerly NBN Co) multi-technology mix (MTM) rollout strategy, speeding and reducing the cost of the network rollout while also using the most appropriate technologies, the government said.

In many instances, these types of facilities are already covered but only if used in fibre networks. Proposed amendments would make these arrangements more ‘technology neutral’ so they support MTM rollouts, the government said.

The government released a consultation paper on proposed amendments, asking local governments, community groups, and industry to comment.

Existing protections under the Telecommunications Act such as obligations to notify land owners and occupiers about planned work, minimise damage, and restore sites after work is complete would continue to apply, the government said.

The government earlier this week signed new construction contracts that it claimed would also speed up the rollout of the network to another 4 million homes and businesses.

These performance-based contracts with Downer, Fulton Hogan, Transfield, Visionstream and WBHO, offer flexible volume commitments, competition between delivery partners, and pricing based on outcomes rather than inputs.

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