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Tuesday, 9 October 2012
Page: 11738

Regional Telecommunications Review

(Question No. 1071)

Mr Fletcher asked the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, in writing, on 19 June 2012:

In respect of Finding 4.9 of the 2011-2012 Regional Telecommunications Review (23 May 2012) that there are areas which currently receive broadband over DSL, which face the prospect of lower speed broadband over wireless and satellite once the NBN is implemented, has the Government committed to providing an assurance that residents in such areas will be able to retain their current service.

Mr Albanese: The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

The next-generation fixed wireless and satellite networks to be delivered to those outside the fibre footprint are being engineered to deliver high-speed broadband to regional and remote communities. These services are expected to be the equivalent of, or better than, current ADSL services.

NBN Co will continue to upgrade its fixed wireless and satellite networks, including deploying commercial grade services over the long term satellite service and through other technological improvements, delivering further services of importance to regional and remote Australia.

The government established the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) on 1 July 2012 to ensure the ongoing provision of basic consumer safeguards in the transition to the NBN and beyond. Under agreements reached between Telstra and the Commonwealth, and administered by TUSMA, Telstra will have a contractual obligation to maintain the copper network and provide voice-only services to locations outside the fibre footprint for a period of 20 years from 1 July 2012 with a review into these arrangements scheduled to occur in 2018. NBN Co's 2012-15 Corporate Plan highlights that it will be providing 100 per cent of Australian premises with access to high-speed broadband by June 2021 while the fixed wireless and long term satellite service will be in place over 2015.

The Government's revised telecommunications arrangements and the rollout of the NBN fixed wireless and satellite services do not place any impediment on residents retaining their current copper-based services outside the footprint. The specific services offered will be a matter for retail service providers.