Earlier this week, the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communication recommended the Telecommunications Reform Package be passed by Parliament.
As we mentioned back in June, the Telecommunications Reform Package includes a guarantee all premises in Australia will have access to broadband download speeds of 25 Mbps minimum and upload speed of 5 Mbps minimum.
The Senate Committee’s green light for the legislation was welcomed by the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC).
Part of that coalition is the Australian Communication Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) .
“We believe the package will help ensure broadband services in regional, rural and remote Australia will be sustainably funded into the future,” said ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin.
“Better bush telecommunications are vital, and in need of legislative protections.”
National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson said if the legislation is passed, it will be the first time all Australians are legally ensured of having broadband access. Ms. Simson stated appropriate telecommunications infrastructure will help unlock economic growth for rural, regional and remote Australia.
“We believe this package offers an important step towards achieving this growth.”
The National Farmers’ Federation is also a part of the RRRCC.
The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition was formed to advocate for better communications services for consumers and small businesses living outside of urban/suburban areas.
Other member organisations include the Country Women’s Association of NSW, the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association and AgForce Queensland.
The Turnbull Government also welcomed the Senate Committee’s support of the package.
“The two bills in the package will ensure all Australians can access sustainably-funded high-speed broadband services, regardless of where they live,” said Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield.
The two bills making up the Telecommunications Reform Package are the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill 2017 and Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Bill 2017.
The Regional Broadband Scheme isn’t cheap and certainly isn’t a profit-making exercise. It’s estimated NBN Co’s fixed wireless and satellite networks will lose around $9.8 billion over 30 years. The cost of this loss is already built into existing NBN broadband prices. Under the reforms, the loss will be spread across all competing NBN-comparable wholesale broadband networks, however NBN Co will continue to pay around 95 per cent of the cost.
A Telecommunications Reform Package explainer can be viewed here.