Conroy initiates first NBN-related legislation

26 Jun 2009

Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has introduced the first piece of legislation aimed at enabling the creation of the country’s forthcoming National Broadband Network (NBN), ZDnet reports. Mr Conroy has submitted the regulatory proposal to parliament, and if successful telcoms and other utilities companies will be obliged to provide the government with information on their assets. Mr Conroy has claimed that information on the country’s existing telecommunications infrastructure would help support the rollout of NBN, although there are expected to be limitations on the data companies will need to provide; ‘It must be information about things that could be used for or in connection with the creation or development of a broadband telecommunications network … or a matter ancillary or incidental to those topics’, the minister said. Additionally, the bill includes a sunset clause that allows telcos and utilities providers to stop providing information to the government ten years after the law is implemented.

The move to legislate comes as part of an implementation study that the government is conducting. The study aims to find ways to attract investment from the private sector for the NBN project, as well as examining options for the design and management of the new network; the government expects to complete the analysis in early 2010.