NBN roll-out

10 December 2010

There finally appears to be a resolution to some of the outstanding issues concerning the National Broadband Network (NBN). The Urban Taskforce has been working hard on these matters since the Federal Government announced its intention to introduce new development levies to fund the roll-out of NBN backhaul (an announcement that was subsequently reversed following advocacy by the Taskforce) and since (more recently) Telstra withdrew from its role in rolling out copper.

Yesterday, the Federal Government announced that from 1 January 2011, its wholly-owned subsidiary, NBN Co, will be responsible for the installation of fibre in:

  • all broadacre developments;
  • all infill developments where it has fibre that is ready for service and capable of connection; and
  • newly approved infill developments of 100 or more premises.

NBN Co may use whatever operational arrangements it chooses to service new developments, including sub-contracting and build-operate-transfer arrangements.

NBN Co will establish a panel of providers who can bid to install fibre on its behalf. It will be commencing a competitive tender process. Details will be provided on NBN Co’s website.

For infill developments of less than 100 premises, Telstra will be responsible for delivering infrastructure and services, pending NBN Co being ready to provide a fibre service in that area that is capable of connection to the premises.

These arrangements do not prevent a developer from requesting any provider (whether it be NBN Co, Telstra or some other provider) to service their estate. In all new developments, developers will need to ensure that trenching and ducting are installed and are fibre-ready, to NBN Co’s specifications. Developers will meet these costs.

The government’s new policy statement on this matter is available here.

Separately, the NSW Government has amended the Infrastructure State Environmental Planning Policy to make it easier to rollout fibre optic cabling including for the NBN. The amendment will have an immediate impact in the first two release areas in NSW – Armidale and Minnamurra/Kiama Downs.

The change removes the need for NBN Co and any other fibre optic cabling provider to comply with the Australian Communications Industry Forum’s Cable Network Code. In addition, the amendment facilitates the construction of other fibre optic cable facilities such as fibre access nodes. The government’s media release is here. The changes to the SEPP are set out here.