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Structural reform of Australia’s telecommunications sector

June 2, 2011 Comments off

Structural reform of Australia’s telecommunications sector
Source: Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

The draft regulatory instruments which create the framework for Telstra’s structural separation were released for public consultation today by Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Once these instruments are finalised, Telstra may then choose to proceed with lodging its structural separation undertaking with the ACCC.

“Telstra’s structural separation is a critical reform that will enable the telecommunications sector to provide competitive and innovative services to Australian consumers,” Senator Conroy said.

“These instruments will allow Telstra to achieve structural separation of its ubiquitous copper customer access network and broadband services on its hybrid fibre-coaxial network through the progressive migration of customer services to the NBN.”

This form of structural separation was envisaged under the government’s Competition and Consumer Safeguard reforms passed by Parliament late last year. Separation between the network provider and retail providers will mean better and fairer access for service providers and greater retail competition and better services for consumers and businesses.

Senator Conroy said negotiations were continuing between Telstra and NBN Co on the commercial terms for the migration of Telstra’s customer services to the NBN and to enable NBN Co to gain access to Telstra’s infrastructure.

“While migration of Telstra’s fixed-line customers to the NBN will result in a more efficient rollout of the NBN, it is vital that this migration be conducted with regard to the interests of both access seekers and consumers,” Senator Conroy said.

“It is important industry is able to access Telstra’s copper network on a transparent and equivalent basis during the period Telstra is migrating customer services to the NBN.

“In my guidance to the ACCC, and under the reforms passed late last year, I have made clear that the ACCC must not accept a structural separation undertaking unless it is satisfied Telstra will put in place appropriate and effective transparency and equivalence arrangements during the transition to structural separation.

“The delivery of this structural reform, in parallel with the rollout of the NBN, will finally deliver affordable fast broadband services to all Australians.”

+ Telecommunications regulatory reform

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AU — Removal of unnecessary regulatory red tape for industry

May 4, 2011 Comments off

Removal of unnecessary regulatory red tape for industry
Source: Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy is working to remove unnecessary regulatory red tape on small telecommunications carriers by releasing a draft Ministerial Determination: the Telecommunications (Participating Persons) Determination 2011 (No.1) for public consultation.

The draft Ministerial Determination implements the Gillard Government’s commitment to removing unnecessary regulatory red tape in the telecommunications industry.

“This will be achieved by streamlining the eligible revenue assessment process for contributions to the Universal Service Obligation and National Relay Service levies,” Senator Conroy said.

“It will reduce the regulatory compliance costs for smaller carriers as well as reduce administrative costs for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)”

The draft Ministerial Determination sets an eligible revenue threshold of $25 million. This will result in carriers with revenue of less than $25 million being relieved of their obligation to provide the ACMA with detailed revenue returns and also from contributing to the Universal Service Obligation and the National Relay Service levies.

The government will also take steps to reduce the Annual Carrier Licence Charge for smaller carriers.

The draft Ministerial Determination and discussion paper are available at:

www.dbcde.gov.au/broadband/national_broadband_network/telecommunications_regulatory_reform

AU — Release of the Indigenous Broadcasting and Media Review

April 7, 2011 Comments off

Release of the Indigenous Broadcasting and Media Review
Source: Department of Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy

This expert committee was asked to consider whether the Government’s investment in the Indigenous broadcasting and media sector was effective and whether that investment was being leveraged to the maximum benefit of Indigenous media producers and Australian audiences; to evaluate the impact of digital technologies and media convergence on the sector as a whole; and to make recommendations for policy options to ensure the sector can participate fully in the digital economy.

An extensive consultation process was undertaken to inform the Review. This process included consultation with industry, a series of public meetings, the release of an issues paper and detailed consideration of submissions from a wide range of stakeholders.

The Review has found that the Indigenous broadcasting and media sector is a powerful tool for the wellbeing of Indigenous people and that it can help the Australian Government realise its objective of closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

The Gillard Government is committed to empowering and building the capacity of Indigenous broadcasting and media. The Government wants to ensure there are independent outlets for the voices of Indigenous people, and places within the evolving media landscape where Indigenous stories can be told.

The Report strongly recommended that Federal Government responsibility for Indigenous broadcasting programs be located within the same Department as other broadcasting and media sectors, finding this to be a long held desire amongst Indigenous media practitioners.

In response, the Government has decided to transfer responsibility for the Indigenous broadcasting and media sector from the Arts portfolio to the Department of Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy. The transfer will take effect from 1 July 2011.

The Review also found that fundamental changes were needed to make the sector effective. The sector covers Indigenous broadcasting services across urban, regional and remote communities and receives over $30M a year in direct funding from the Federal Government which includes $15.2M for National Indigenous Television (NITV).

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