Conroy moves to make new housing developments NBN-ready

Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill 2010 will allow the communications minister to dictate which developments must have FTTP infrastructure.

Senator Stephen Conroy

Senator Stephen Conroy

The Federal Government has introduced the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Bill 2010 into the Parliament which aims to ensure new homes built at greenfield estates include infrastructure capable of connecting to the National Broadband Network.

The Bill will insert a new Part 20A into the Telecommunications Act 1997, allowing the communications minister to specify which types of real estate developments will require that any fixed lines installed be optical fibre and any passive infrastructure installed be fibre-ready.

“The legislation will allow the targeting of those developments where it is practicable to have fibre now, while ensuring others are ready to have fibre installed as soon as it is possible and cost-effective in the future,” according to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE).

The Bill also amends the industry codes and standards processes under Part six of the Act to make it easier to create codes and standards about optical fibre infrastructure and services where this is required.

Installing fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) infrastructure in new developments would complement the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN), according to the DBCDE.

“The government considers it counterproductive to rollout fibre nationally and leave new developments behind,” the DBCDE’s website reads. “Installing fibre in new developments will give property buyers early access to the benefits of next-generation broadband and help avoid future retrofitting costs.”

The government argues that making new developments fibre-ready is already standard industry practice and reflects the value that would-be new home owners place on new developments which include FTTP infrastructure.

The government cites the developments at University Heights at Bundoora in Victoria, Forde and Crace in the Australian Capital Territory, Lochiel Park in South Australia and Bingara Gorge outside Sydney as examples.

Minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said the legislation took a sensible, targeted and measured approach to the implementation of the new policy.

"It allows us to target those estates where it is possible to have fibre now, while ensuring others have fibre-ready infrastructure installed so it is easier and cheaper to connect them later,” he said in a statement.

“It doesn’t make sense for new houses to be fitted with old copper technology, particularly when it is easier to put fibre or fibre-ready technology in when homes are first built.”

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