Recently introduced Telecommunications Reform Package legislation includes a guarantee all premises in Australia are to have access to broadband download speeds of 25 Mbps minimum.
Image source: Australian Federal Government
Previously the speed guarantee was to only apply to fixed-line connections, but now it will extend to satellite and fixed wireless. Fixed line and fixed wireless networks will also need to be able to support voice services for consumers.
“This is a significant first step to ensuring all premises across the country have access to broadband services, capable of at least 25Mbps per second download and 5Mbps upload speeds,” said National Farmers’ Federation Chief Executive, Tony Mahar.
“Everybody benefits if all Australians are connected.”
Key to this will be the creation of ‘Statutory Infrastructure Provider’ (SIP) obligations. The 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload is the bare minimum – where networks can supply faster speeds, it is expected SIPs will provide it. In most cases, the SIP will be NBN Co, but other network providers may have SIP status where appropriate.
The Federal Minister will also be able to set detailed performance requirements, including those relating reliability and connection/fault repair timeframes.
Another important change is in relation to separation rules; i.e. requirements for network owners to have separate wholesale/retail businesses, which the government says will ensure all new superfast broadband networks operate on a level playing field.
The package also contains a sting – as we mentioned last month, all superfast (25 megabits per second or more) broadband operators will be hit with a levy of $7.10 a month for each fixed-line connection (metropolitan, rural, regional or remote), with the levy increasing to $8 a month by 2022.
“The RBS is a long-term solution that ensures essential broadband services will continue to be provided to regional Australia well into the future, regardless of who owns the regional networks and who is the dominant fixed line provider in profitable metropolitan areas,” says a statement on the Department of Communications and the Arts website.
The Turnbull Government says the reform package will ensure all Australians are able to gain access sustainably-funded high-speed broadband services, regardless of where they reside.
The Telecommunications Reform Package was introduced to Parliament on Thursday and the government is aiming to have the reforms operational by 1 July 2018.
More on the Telecommunications Reform Package can be viewed here.