Thursday, June 11, 2009

Australia's Regulatory Reform Submissions Published

A public discussion paper for Australia's National Broadband Network: Regulatory Reform for 21st Century Broadband paper have been published. The Regulatory Reform paper canvassed a range of options for reforming the critical competition and consumer-protection arrangements for the telecommunications sector. More than 120 submissions were received from a range of individuals, industry players and other stakeholders.

"There has been an extremely strong response to the Government's public consultation on the future of Australia's telecommunications regime," the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said.

"The submissions support the Government's conviction that regulatory reform is urgently required to deliver better outcomes for consumers while the National Broadband Network is being rolled out."

"The Government is giving careful consideration to the submissions put forward. We are determined to proceed with our reform agenda and we will be working hard to introduce legislation this year."

"The regulatory reforms we are now developing will improve competition and service during the transition to the National Broadband Network," Senator Conroy said.

"The National Broadband Network will form the foundation for Australia's future broadband market and our participation in the digital economy by delivering high-speed broadband to every home, workplace and school."

Submissions to the National Broadband Network: Regulatory Reform for 21st Century Broadband discussion paper are available online.

  • The Australian government rejected all five bids for the next generation national broadband network and instead announced plans to build the A$43 billion (US$30.7 billion) FTTP network itself.

    Under the Rudd Government's new national broadband network every house, school and business in Australia will get access to affordable fast broadband. The plan calls for the government to set-up a new entity that would install fiber connections to ninety percent of Australian homes and businesses over an eight year period. The network will deliver wholesale services of 100 Mbps or better. Locations outside the fiber footprint would be served by high-speed (12 Mbps) wireless connections. Private investors could take a minority stake in the project and after five years the government would sell its majority stake. The Government's investment in the company will be funded through the Building Australia Fund and the issuance of Aussie Infrastructure Bonds (AIBs), which will provide an opportunity for households and institutions to invest in the national broadband network.

    Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described the initiative as the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the Australian government.
    The project is expected to create 25,000 and possibly as many as 37,000 jobs during the peak of installation.

  • In December 2008. Telstra was excluded from any further consideration in Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) Request for Proposals (RFP) process. Senator Stephen Conroy, Austalia's Minister for Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy, said Telstra "excluded itself" from the NBN process for failing to submit a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Participation Plan, which is one of five mandatory requirements of the RFP. He also confirmed that the five proponents who have made public statements about their participation in the process Acacia, Axia, Optus-Terria, TransACT and the Tasmanian Government have all met the requirements and conditions for participation.

See also