NBN charges for new houses on the way

Developers and retail service providers will now be forced to pay hundreds of dollars to be connected to the National Broadband Network.

The Australian government has moved ahead with plans to charge developers and retail service providers to have fibre installed in new housing estates.

The policy plan was first announced in December last year by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in response to pressure from fibre companies that they were losing business to the company formerly known as NBN Co. NBN has been offering fibre as a last resort for no cost, with most developers taking up the offer rather than paying a commercial provider instead.

"While the government supports NBN's participation in the new developments market, this should not be at the expense of fair competition and the benefits it brings," Turnbull said on Wednesday.

Under the change, NBN Co will charge retail service providers making an order for a service in a new development AU$300. This charge is expected to be passed onto end users.

Developers will be charged AU$600 for a single premises, and AU$400 each for multi-dwelling premises.

If there is no backhaul available to the premises, the developer must pay half of the costs for backhaul for the first AU$1,000 and all the costs after that.

Turnbull said this charge would allow NBN's fibre competitors to offer better pricing.

"If NBN charges for infrastructure, alternative providers have the ability and incentive to compete with NBN, putting downward pressure on costs and encouraging innovation," Turnbull said.

"People buying property in new developments can also foster better outcomes by checking developers have arranged for quality telecommunications before buying."

The policy was due to come in in March, but has only just received final approval from government. There will be a transition period before the charges are implemented, but a spokesperson for the minister had not provided detail on when the charges will take effect.

Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare has previously labelled the charge as an NBN tax.

"Home prices are already very high. This tax will hit those who can afford it the least -- young families just starting out. The last thing new home buyers need is a new NBN tax," he said last year.

"This tax is also unfair. It means that if you buy an existing home, you don't have to pay anything extra for the NBN. Your taxes pay for it. But if you buy a new home, you have to pay for it twice."

NBN on Wednesday said it had spent AU$90 million on rolling out fibre to the premises in new housing estates in the 9 months to March 31, 2015.

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