A loophole enabling small housing subdivisions in Western Australia to be built without ready connection to telecommunications infrastructure has now been closed.
Last week the McGowan Government took the wraps off a new planning policy that compels developers to provide telecommunications infrastructure as part of their plans for a new subdivision – the Fibre Ready Telecommunications Infrastructure Position Statement.
Up until its release, the situation had resulted in significant additional costs to some homeowners to retrofit pipework in order to access broadband services.
“This policy provides clear direction to developers of new subdivisions that they must incorporate fibre ready, pit and pipe infrastructure at the earliest possible stage of planning,” said Planning Minister Rita Saffioti. “Internet access is an essential requirement in a modern, connected community and our planning system must ensure Western Australian families and business owners have reliable access to such infrastructure.”
Minister Rita Saffioti said it wasn’t unreasonable to expect the required infrastructure for internet services to be in place when Western Australians purchased a new home.
However, there is some wiggle room on the fibre requirement. The FAQ states:
“the provision of fibre ready facilities to enable fixed line connections or the ability to access suitable telecommunications infrastructure via fixed wireless or satellite services.”
Fixed wireless internet done right is certainly a good alternative, but satellite can often be a poor cousin, even in normal operation. The position statement also does not apply retrospectively; so existing subdivisions negatively impacted by the previous loophole are still in the same position.
A positive in the position statement is that it does not require a specific carrier agreement; i.e. the NBN may not be the only show in town for these new subdivisions, leaving the way open for other carriers.
As well as housing subdivisions, the new policy also applies to business, commercial and industrial lots across the State.
“While there may be existing connections for internet services, this policy will ensure the required infrastructure is directly connected to their property as opposed to stopping at the kerb, requiring considerable investment to retrofit,” said Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman
The full position statement can be viewed here.