- To refine the laws involving statutory infrastructure providers, communications minister Michelle Rowland will call for public comment today.
- One of the changes might include bringing private networks in new developments into the SIP regime.
- Another key foreshadowed inclusion is the clarification that the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman can handle SIP complaints.
To refine the laws involving statutory infrastructure providers, communications minister Michelle Rowland will call for public comment today. According to the minister, the changes are characterised as a “safeguard” for consumers. In this case, the draft legislation is intended to revise many provisions in the Telecommunications Act 1997.
One of the changes might include bringing private networks in new developments into the SIP regime. The revisions can also encompass ensuring SIPs are ready to service buildings as soon as they are occupied as well as confirming that SIPs can be required to pay compensation. Another key foreshadowed inclusion is the clarification that the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman can handle SIP complaints.
Additionally, the revisions are intended to provide stricter rules for the exit of SIPs from a service area, as well as the empowerment of the Australian Communications and Media Authority in requiring developers to repair deficient pit and pipe work.
According to ACMA, they collect data and maintain the register of SIPs to make sure that the providers follow the rules. "Where telco infrastructure providers (including NBN Co and other carriers) are required to be SIPs, they must make sure all Australians have access to either a superfast fixed-line, fixed wireless or satellite broadband connection."
Streamlining the operation of the SIP laws, as well as amending the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005, are supposedly included in the proposed revision. In terms of the latter, the changes are intended to provide ACMA with sufficient powers to publish data on the performance of individual providers on a range of consumer service metrics.
The submissions will close on the last day of September 2022, with the government expecting to introduce the bill into the Parliament by the end of 2022.
Communications minister Michelle Rowland said: “Reliable, quality, high speed internet is not a luxury or a nice-to-have. It is essential 21st century infrastructure. High-speed broadband helps to keep people connected, facilitate business, and provide access to important services such as telehealth. This consultation provides an opportunity for people to have their say on changes to these important laws, which safeguard people’s access to high speed broadband across the country. I would encourage those interested to make a submission by 30 September 2022.”
The SIP designation obliges telcos to provide wholesale broadband and voice services in certain areas. By default, NBN Co is the SIP, but there are also some 23 other SIPs in designated areas such as TPG, Uniti Group, and Telstra: ranging to entire suburbs and towns.