From 1 January 2011, the National Broadband Network Company will guarantee that all new housing developments will have fibre infrastructure in their construction, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced today.
From the beginning of next year, should a housing developer not choose an existing fibre provider, NBN Co will install fibre in their developments if they are greenfield developments, fibre-ready infill developments or newly approved infill developments with 100 or more premises.
Infill developments with less than 100 premises will fall under the responsibility of Telstra, which will largely be using copper infrastructure as an interim solution until the NBN is rolled out to that particular area.
Developers will be required to provide the trenching and ducting for the fibre to be installed.
It is estimated that around 1.9 million new premises will be constructed in the course of the NBN roll-out.
Legislation mandating the installation of fibre to new developments was originally entered into parliament in March this year; however, the legislation had not passed by the time the election was called in July. The minister has indicated that this legislation will be reintroduced into the new parliament early next year.
Conroy said that NBN Co will establish a panel of providers who can bid to install fibre for the developments. He said the arrangements announced today would provide clarity to stakeholders who had raised concerns about greenfield fibre deployment.
"I would like to thank stakeholders for their input to the process to arrive at this point. Their patience and perseverance is being rewarded with what is a great outcome for new home buyers and Australia's fibre future," Conroy said in a statement.
Urban Development Institute of Australia's (UDIA) national president Peter Sherrie said the announcement provided certainty for the industry.
"UDIA has been involved in an in-depth consultation process with the government and NBN Co in relation to the provision of fibre in new developments, and the minister's announcement that NBN Co will fund the provision of fibre and backhaul to new housing estates, with developers to fund the provision of 'pit and pipe', is a sensible solution that benefits new home buyers and also provides the development industry with some much-needed certainty regarding the NBN Co roll-out of fibre to new housing estates," he said.
Residential Development Council executive director Caryn Kakas said the announcement would save new homeowners additional costs if they wish to join onto the NBN.
"This means that homeowners on the urban fringe won't be hit with a $3000 charge nor will regional Australians face a cost of up to $5000 to pay for the delivery of the National Broadband Network to their communities," she said in a statement.
Conroy said the government, Telstra and NBN Co would now be working with state and local governments as well as industry to implement the changes.