NBN draft legislation released

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today released two pieces of "exposure" draft legislation which he said would establish a regulatory framework for the National Broadband Network Company.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy today released two pieces of "exposure" draft legislation which he said would establish a regulatory framework for the National Broadband Network Company.

The Bills — entitled the National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010 and the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures – Access Arrangements) Bill 2010 — have been placed online for public access.

"These Bills deliver on the Rudd Government's commitment to change the competitive dynamics of the telecommunications sector by ensuring NBN Co will operate as a wholesale-only company, offering open and equivalent access," Conroy said in a statement.

The minister said that before the Bills were introduced formally into Federal Parliament, the government wanted to seek further feedback from stakeholders, "to ensure we get the details right".

"We have an open mind on any amendments put forward that we believe can improve the Bills," he said.

The first Bill sets out ownership, governance and sale arrangements for the broadband company, including a government commitment to sell its stake in the company five years after the NBN is built and operational, subject to "market conditions and security considerations", said Finance and Deregulation Minister Lindsay Tanner in a statement.

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment Bill, on the other hand, sets out the access arrangements for NBN Co — ensuring its wholesale-only status. Both are expected to be introduced into parliament in the autumn or winter sittings, Conroy's statement said, depending on the feedback received. The public can comment on the draft Bills by emailing nbnlegislation@dbcde.gov.au before 15 March.

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