Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
NBN Legislation introduced into Parliament
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy today said two Bills introduced into Parliament today set out the regulatory framework for the National Broadband Network (NBN).
Senator Conroy said the legislation was crucial to ensuring the NBN operated as an open-access, wholesale-only network, to support retail-level competition for Australian consumers.
The two Bills are:
- National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010 (Companies Bill)
- Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network—Access Arrangements) Bill 2010 (Access Bill).
“The Bills establish the governance, ownership and operating arrangements for NBN Co Limited, as well as rules for the supply of NBN Co Limited’s wholesale-only telecommunications service,” Senator Conroy said.
“These rules include affording retail telecommunications providers access to the NBN on terms that are subject to strict non-discrimination and transparency obligations.:
The Companies Bill sets out obligations on NBN Co Limited to limit its operations to, and focus them on, wholesale-only telecommunications.
The Bill also sets out ownership arrangements. The Gillard Government remains firmly committed to selling its stake in NBN Co after the network was fully built and operational, subject to market conditions and security considerations.
The Access Bill amends the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the Telecommunications Act 1997 and establishes rules for the supply of services by NBN Co.
It also establishes a new category of Standard Access Obligations for NBN Co which are designed to guarantee:
- The supply of declared services to access seekers
- Interconnection of facilities to the NBN
- Access to conditional access equipment, as needed, to providers of retail telecommunications services.
The Access Bill introduces open access, transparency and non-discrimination measures for NBN corporations, under clear oversight by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
From its introduction, the Bill also requires owners of superfast networks that are rolled out, upgraded or altered, to offer a wholesale service on an open and non-discriminatory basis. These arrangements will ensure all future networks will support effective retail level competition and deliver NBN-consistent outcomes for everyone.
“High speed broadband is fast becoming a critical utility service, and the NBN will become a vehicle for a raft of initiatives in fields such as health, education and business,” Senator Conroy said.
“The Government consulted widely in developing the NBN legislative framework and the Bills introduced today take account of feedback received from two public consultation processes, as well as a number of recommendations made by the Implementation Study and the Senate Select Committee on the NBN.
“The Bills delivers on the Government’s commitment that NBN Co will operate on a wholesale-only, open and equivalent access basis, delivering long term benefits for Australian consumers.”
Date: 25 November 2010
Contact: Suzie Brady 0408 258 457