The announcement at a glance:

A new Government Business Enterprise will be established to construct a super-fast Fibre To The Premises National Broadband Network to connect 90% of all Australian homes, schools and workplaces with broadband services at speeds up to 100 megabits per second.

  • All other premises will be connected via next generation wireless and satellite technologies that will be deliver broadband speeds of 12 megabits per second.
  • Rollout will take eight years and estimated cost is $43b.
  • Five years after completion the Government will sell its share of the company.

GBE will be majority Government-owned and restricted to wholesale services only. Private investment will be sought — but investment by telco retailers will be capped at levels to be determined as part of the regulatory arrangements for the company.

The Government’s investment in the company will be funded through an initial $4.7 billion investment from the Building Australia Fund and the issuance of Aussie Infrastructure Bonds (AIBs), which will be government-guaranteed. GBE will also be able to borrow money itself.

NBN Request for Proposals (RFP) process terminated as none of the national proposals offered value for money.

Government will begin consulting on a new regulatory framework for telecommunications, particularly aimed at overcoming the difficulties of Telstra ownership of infrastructure. Operational and structural separation will be among the options discussed. Framework will also require all new greenfields residential and business developments to include FTTP.

First step: development of the framework for the new company and negotiations with the Tasmanian Government on a Tasmanian rollout later this year.

Peter Fray

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