Australian government consulting on proposed update to TIND policy

27 Apr 2020

The Australian government has called for views from stakeholders and members of the public on a proposed update of the Telecommunications in New Developments (TIND) policy. In a press release regarding the matter, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC) said the proposed revisions to the policy follow an initial round of public consultation that concluded earlier this year. The DITRDC noted that the government considers ‘that the main features of the TIND policy remain appropriate, but changes can be made to improve the market’s operation and simplify the policy going forward’.

In line with this, the primary changes include proposals that: developers remain responsible for arranging for telecommunications infrastructure, both pit and pipe and active networks, to be installed in their developments, and for funding it; fixed line networks should be installed as a default, except where this is not reasonable, in which case fixed-wireless or satellite should be used – consistent with the proposed statutory infrastructure provider (SIP) legislation; and that the carrier contracted to service a development should be the infrastructure provider for that development, consistent with the SIP legislation. Further, it has been proposed that, where carriers other than NBN Co have end-user charges, these should be published on their websites, and the total end-user charge for broadband and television services should not exceed AUD500 (USD319).

With regards to NBN Co specifically, meanwhile, as per the proposed update to the TIND policy, that company’s current developer and end-user charges will be treated as price caps, meaning it has flexibility to charge below the caps where necessary to respond to competition. NBN Co will also be permitted to charge above the caps where a developer asks for additional services, such as expedited installation. In addition, NBN Co will be free to install competing infrastructure on a commercial basis, but must keep records of its commercial decision making, while access to backhaul and NBN Co’s B2B interface should be pursued on a commercial basis.

Comments on the proposals have been requested by a deadline of 8 June 2020.