NBN may skip private fibre areas

NBN may skip private fibre areas

Summary: The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) may not roll out fibre to places where private companies already have a fibre network of equal standing available if new legislation is passed, which is due shortly to enter Federal Parliament.

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The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) may not roll out fibre to places where private companies already have a fibre network of equal standing available if new legislation is passed, which is due shortly to enter Federal Parliament.

The office of Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy today confirmed to ZDNet Australia that the government plans soon to introduce legislation into parliament that would require private companies installing new fibre networks or upgrading existing networks to meet NBN standards. The legislation will, in effect, require private companies to offer the same level of access as people would receive on the government-installed fibre.

"The legislation will ensure any new or upgraded networks will have to meet NBN standards and offer a wholesale service on an open and non-discriminatory basis," Conroy's office said in a statement.

"These arrangements will ensure all future networks will support effective retail-level competition and deliver NBN-consistent outcomes for everyone."

This would ultimately mean that the government may not need to roll out fibre in places where private companies have installed fibre that meets the technical and wholesale competitive requirements of the NBN.

"As long as the government's requirements [for the network] are met there should be no need for overbuild," Conroy's office said.

The result of the legislation may potentially see a reduction in the government investment required for the $43 billion project if private companies comply with the government's requirements.

Last week, Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman announced plans for network company i3 to put in fibre through Brisbane's sewer network to bring 100Mbps speeds to over 100,000 residents within the next four years. Should the sewer fibre network meet the requirements put forward by the government in the legislation, there may be no need for NBN Co to roll out fibre in the parts of Brisbane that are covered by the network.

The office of Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull was contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of writing.

Conroy's office also confirmed that the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill 2009 was expected to be entered into parliament this week. The legislation offers Telstra the option of volunteering to structurally separate or have functional separation imposed on it, coupled with tough sanctions and a possible ban on acquiring spectrum for 4G wireless services. The Bill also seeks to strengthen the powers of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to act on misbehaviour in the telco industry.

(Front page image credit: Fiber Optic Grass 2 image by rq, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Topics: Broadband, Government, Government AU, NBN

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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4 comments
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  • I thought this was always the intention esp in cities which have extensive fibre in the street and most buildings. NBN Co had stated the NBN would be a hybrid of various fibre owners for some time?
    Blank Look
  • This raises a question, does "skip" mean bypass, not connect, or not rewire, legalities have always been a favourite of some of our politicians, from either side of the fence.
    Fredsan
  • Finally they woke up to themselves ("As long as the government's requirements [for the network] are met there should be no need for overbuild," Conroy's office said.)

    Again, I reiterate what I previously wrote:

    "A breath of fresh air without the need to reinvent the telecommunications wheel at a very costly $43 billion in borrowings which we can ill afford in the current financial climate.

    It's an absolute shemozzle but fortunately it's in the open now and we are mature enough and have the technological talent to overcome and resolve the issue by leaving the process in the capable hands of those who know how to deal with it.

    " Turnbull said that if the vertical integration of Telstra (with both wholesale and retail arms) was the issue with Australia's telecommunications industry, then the solution was structural or functional separation".... Telstra seem to agree with such a course of action in the right spirit.

    " Turnbull believes a faster and quicker way for the nation to receive faster speeds if needed would be to provide Telstra and Optus with the investment certainty to upgrade their hybrid-fibre coaxial cable networks to the DOCSIS 3.0 standard — delivering 100Mbps to a third of Australian homes.".... Both these entities have poured billions of shareholder dollars to no avail so, rightly, they are owed this courtesy."

    Vasso Massonic
    2 days ago
    Vasso Massonic 2 days ago
    Vasso Massonic
  • Vasso, I have on a number of occasions, disagreed with poster Visionary, but lately, I have no reason to. In fact, I agree with most of what he/she is saying, giving him/her thumbs up and I again, agree with the above and given the thumbs up.

    The NBN as we know it now, was always going to be a public/private venture, as was outlined in the original announcement.

    It seems because of this, most including me, interpreted that to mean the government would build (and over-build) only and it would be resold. But seeing this announcement, it could also mean exactly what is being said here and/or a combination of both interpretations.

    Although I know we don’t like to admit it, due to the filter (sigh) and some of the silly comments he's made… again I reiterate, Conroy may not be inept as many would believe… just ask Telstra!
    RS-ef540