NBN company draft legislation unveiled

Australian fibre company and access structure take shape

The Australian Federal Government has unveiled draft legislation for the regulatory framework for the operation of NBN Co, which will build and operate the country's A$43 billion national broadband network.

The release of two bill drafts — National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010 and Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures: Access Arrangements) Bill 2010 — come after a public consultation process.

The first draft bill sets out the "ownership, governance and sale arrangements" for NBN Co, which has been tasked with rolling out the government's National Broadband Network (NBN) plan.

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment bill details "access arrangements for NBN Co that reflect its wholesale-only status".

Communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, said in a statement that the drafts were an important first step "providing certainty on how NBN Co will operate and what its obligations will be".

"Before we introduce the bills formally we are keen to seek further feedback from key stakeholders to ensure we get the details right," Conroy said. "We have an open mind on any amendments put forward that we believe can improve the bills."

The government said it will introduce the bills into Parliament during Autumn or Winter sittings "depending on the feedback received".

Interested parties should submit comments to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) at

"Competitors, for example, will want to know if the government has properly defined 'wholesale' or if we believe there is room for improvement.

"There is no excuse for this Bill to be delayed any longer. In fact, it would be to the eternal shame of the Senate if it were not to be passed," he added.

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