Regulation Impact Statement Updates

Official website for publishing regulatory impact analysis information for regulatory decisions announced by the Australian Government, COAG and COAG Councils.

Establishing a Telecommunications Universal Service Guarantee

Aust Gov
12th December 2018

Regulation Impact Statement – Department of Communications and the Arts

On 5 December 2018, the Government announced details of the Universal Service Guarantee (USG).

The USG will use the National Broadband Network (NBN) to ensure all Australian homes and businesses have access to broadband services, and will retain the current Universal Service Obligation (USO) arrangements, using the Telstra copper and wireless networks in rural and remote Australia for the provision of voice services in NBN fixed wireless and satellite areas.

The development of the USG was announced by the Government in December 2017, following the Productivity Commission inquiry into the USO, which found that the existing USO contract should be replaced by a new framework to reflect changing policy, market and technological realities.

After examining the feasibility and cost implications of different approaches to the USG, the Government decided to retain the existing USO. The analysis showed that while savings could be made in the delivery of voice services using new technologies in rural and remote areas, moving away from the existing copper and wireless networks in nbn’s fixed wireless and satellite areas, at this time, would create concerns for rural and remote customers and counter‑balancing costs for NBN Co.

The analysis also found there is scope for careful examination of payphone locations given the strong uptake of mobile services, and there will be further work in this area. Telstra payphones that service Indigenous communities and those outside mobile coverage would generally be quarantined.

A Regulation Impact Statement was prepared by the Department of Communications and the Arts, and has been assessed as compliant and consistent with best practice by the Office of Best Practice Regulation. No change in annual regulatory burden is anticipated given the current USO arrangements will remain in place.

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