The process that led to the NBN started around 2005 and became a key government policy in 2007. Its visionary aspect attracted the attention of many governments around the world, including the Obama Administration and the European Union; and it became a catalyst for the UN Commission for Broadband.
The project has made progress ever since, often against significant odds. Extensive discussions took place between the government and the industry from 2007 to 2009, and these led to the plan on which the current NBN is based. The all-important legislation passed through parliament in 2011 and in that same year Telstra agreed to its structural separation. NBN Co launched its business plan in late 2010 and began to roll out test sites in Tasmania and on the mainland. With the next 30 sites announced the rollout is now well and truly underway.
The government has also embarked on an ambitious digital economy plan, closely linked to the rollout of the NBN, but questions continue to be raised about the social and economic benefits. This is not covered in any serious detail in either the current legislation or the NBN Co business plan, and it therefore remains the major political controversy, an unsolved policy issue that will need to be addressed in 2012 in order for the NBN to be a watertight plan.
In this report we provide an overview of the key policies, as well as the regulatory framework and telecommunications reforms. We also analyse the various policy and regulatory issues and provide an update of funding arrangements for the NBN rollout.
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