Conroy details NBN Co greenfield fibre role

NBN Co expected to install fibre in new developments from 1 January 2011

The Federal Government has moved to further lock in the National Broadband Network (NBN), announcing that NBN Co will install fibre in new developments from 1 January 2011.

Under the arrangement, NBN Co will provide fibre to all broadacre developments, infill developments where the company already has NBN fibre in service and newly approved infill developments of 100 or more premises.

Telstra will be responsible for delivering infrastructure and services for infill developments of less than 100 premises.

The government has given NBN Co licence to carry out the connections itself or outsource under sub-contracting or build-operate-transfer arrangements.

NBN Co will also establish a panel of appropriately qualified and experienced providers who can bid to install fibre on its behalf.

According to the government, some 1.9 million new premises are expected to be built while the NBN is constructed.

According to Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, connecting these premises to fibre as they are built will reduce NBN rollout costs by avoiding the need to retrofit.

“The new arrangements for the provision of telecommunications infrastructure in new developments are a significant change,” Conroy said in a policy paper on the changes. “They are an integral part of our plan to bring Australia’s communications into the 21st century. But a change of this scale is a huge undertaking.

“The arrangements announced today will provide a smooth passage from the old to the new, but they will involve some transitional and interim measures. Not everything can be in place from the first day. Stakeholders will need to exercise some patience and flexibility.”

The Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) said NBN Co's funding of the provision of fibre and backhaul to new housing estates, with developers funding the provision of ‘pit and pipe’, was a "sensible solution" that would benefit new home buyers and provides the development industry with some certainty.

The Residential Development Council also said the announcement meant that there would be no additional costs to consumers for the installation of broadband.

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