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Australia - National Broadband Network - Policies and Regulations


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Australia - National Broadband Network - Policies and Regulations

The process that led to the NBN began in 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. It was also a catalyst for the creation of the United Nations Commission for Broadband.

The project has made progress ever since, often against significant odds, but it received a significant setback with the abandonment of the provision of a national fibre-to the premises (FttP) network. Extensive discussions had taken place between the government and the industry from 2007 to 2009 and these had resulted in the original FttP plan, which was favoured by all parties at that time..

During a heavily politicised period between 2010 and 2013 NBN Co was forced to operate in an environment where it suffered many constraints and experienced constant diversions of management time and energy into non-productive, often ideology-based, activity. During that time the then Opposition threatened to kill the NBN'. However this policy was gradually softened and when the Coalition won the election in 2013 the new government announced the continuation of the NBN, but with some significant changes.

The previous government had also embarked on an ambitious National Digital Strategy Plan, closely linked to the rollout of the NBN, but questions continue to be raised about the social and economic benefits of super high-speed broadband networks. This was not covered in any serious detail in either the initial legislation or the original NBN Co business plan a major political omission.

Bu also the current government has not taken these social and economic benefits into account and decided that a cheaper version of the NBN was needed. This was based simply on providing faster broadband, without recognising the transformative nature of what a full nationwide FttP network could mean for the Australian economy.

At the end of 2014 amended contracts were signed with Telstra and accompanying regulatory changes were introduced changes that were needed for the so-called multi-technology-mix' version of the NBN, which will use the existing copper and HFC infrastructure, rather than an all-fibre infrastructure. For the medium term this will be as good as it will get.

This report starts with an overview of the situation as it exists in early 2015 and also gives an overview of the underlying legislation and processes developed in the previous period.


1. Synopsis
2. 2015 Regional Telecommunications Review Report
3. Telstra NBN Co deal 2.0
3.1 NBN this is as good as it gets (Analysis)
4. NBN regulatory reform latest Developments
4.1 Facilitating smaller ISPs
4.2 Repositioning of the NBN and NBN Co
4.3 Changes to be implemented before the end of 2016
4.4 Changes beyond 2016
4.5 Carrier Licence Conditions (Networks supplying Superfast Carriage Services to Residential Customers) Declaration 2014
4.6 NBN levy to support remote telecoms
4.7 ACCC approved NBN's MtM version
4.8 Migration Procedures
4.8.1 Telstra's migration path
4.8.2 Migration Plan Principles Determination 2014
4.8.3 Telecommunications (Migration Plan Specified Matters)
4.8.4 Migration rules for the NBN company in relation to service class zero premises
5. Original Regulatory Framework
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Bills passed House of Reps
5.3 Key elements of the Companies Bill
5.3.1 Restrictions on the business operations of NBN companies
5.3.2 Commonwealth ownership and privatisation
5.4 Key elements of the Access Bill
5.4.1 Provision of services
5.4.2 Standard access obligations
5.5 The key points of the NBN amendments
5.5.1 National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2011
5.5.2 Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures Access Arrangements) Bill 2011
6. Special Access Undertakings
6.1 The NBN Co Review
6.2 Analyses - telecoms or digital infrastructure a SAU question
7. Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC)
7.1 CVC discounts
8. Regulatory reforms for the transition period
8.1 Introduction of regulatory instruments
8.2 Regulatory instruments - analysis
8.3 Final Access Determinations for fixed line telecommunications
8.4 Layer 2 bitstream on non-NBN Co networks
8.5 Telstra needs to tighten up its migration plan
9. Government to fund NBN voice migration
10. Budget funding for the National Broadband Network
10.1 Administrative and regulatory support
10.2 Funding planned until 2016
10.3 Funding for The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE)
10.4 Funding for the ACCC and ACMA
11. Telstra Structural Separation Undertaking
11.1 Telstra's initial undertaking
11.2 Migration Plan
11.3 The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) involvement in the NBN
11.4 Telstra's Structural Separation Undertaking
11.5 Breaches of structural separation undertakings
12. Universal Service Obligations
12.1.1 Universal service reform legislation for the NBN
13. Sale of NBN Co
14. Special access for smart utility services
15. Related reports
Table 1 NBN budgeted and actual expenditure 2008 - 2015
Exhibit 1 Updated financial arrangements
Exhibit 2 - Key elements of Telstras SSU
Exhibit 3 - Privatisation of NBN is not popular

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