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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 1822

Mr Fletcher asked the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, in writing, on 16 November 2010:

Under the Universal Service Obligation, is it mandatory for every home in Australia to have a fixed line telephone service.

Mr Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) —The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

The Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (‘the Act’) provides for a Universal Service Obligation (USO) to ensure that standard telephone services are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia on an equitable basis, wherever they reside or carry on business (section 9(1)(a)). The obligation includes the supply of a standard telephone service on request (section 9(2)).

The Act does not specify a type of technology that must be used to deliver USO voice telephony. Telstra, as the primary universal service provider, provides standard telephone services through a range of customer access networks, such as optical fibre, coaxial cable, copper wire pairs, radio and satellite in fulfilment of the USO (Item 2.2 of Telstra’s USO Standard Marketing Plan).