On 12 June, the Department of Communications begun public consultations seeking feedback on its proposed regulatory changes to help roll out faster broadband. The consultation paper is available here.
Carrier powers and immunities under the Telecommunications Act 1997 already allow NBN to rollout a fibre to the premises network. However, with the shift to a multi technology mix model, the powers need to be extended to other technologies like hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) and fibre-to-the-node. Without the proposed changes, carriers installing and maintaining HFC and some fibre-to-the-basement would not fall within the current Low Impact Facilities Determination (LIFD), which currently only applies to fibre.
The proposed amendments to the LIFD include the following:
- make definitions of fixed-line communications facilities in the LIFD technology neutral
- provide for a small number of new types of facilities on an ongoing basis
- allow thicker overhead communications cabling to be classed as low-impact facilities
- permit some facilities to be attached to the outside of multi-unit buildings and allow some larger facilities to be installed inside multi-unit buildings
- make earlier temporary amendments to the LIFD made on 30 March 2015 (and which came into effect on 2 April 2015) ongoing
- remove temporary geographic restrictions on the installation of HFC facilities in pilot areas.
Submissions should be lodged by Friday 10 July 2015. Details on how to make a submission are contained on page 18 of the Consultation Paper. The Department of Communications encourages coordinated responses through local government state and territory associations, but councils should feel free to make individual submissions.
Further information on the proposed amendments can be obtained from email@example.com or by calling 02 6271 1000.