Australian Users Group Submits Recommendation for NBN

The Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG) has lodged a submission to the Australian Government on the regulatory issues associated with the National Broadband Network.

ATUG’s submission is based on member discussions and forums during 2007 and 2008 and on its assessment of global developments and trends stimulated through involvement in discussions and debates with INTUG.

The users group and its members’ focus reflect where the government has said it is focused, on the critical importance of future telecommunications regulatory settings, including ongoing consumer safeguards, to ensure the best outcomes for all Australians and the competitiveness of the economy.

ATUG’s key suggestions are;

  • Policy objectives for the NBN regulatory framework must include being in the Long-term Interests of end users and be complemented by an effectively competitive services marketplace.
  • Affordability is the key to take-up. Regulation must support the cost effective building of the NBN as well as recognize that effective competition is the strongest tool for delivering affordable prices. An entry level “safety-net” package should also be developed.
  • End User Choice – network design is central to competition and choice. Only designs that promote competition should be accepted. When infrastructure competition is not possible, services competition based on open access and service equivalence at a wholesale level must be ensured.
  • Wholesale Service Equivalence in wholesale services together with effective services competition can only be assured by establishing:
    – clear separation between wholesale and retail units and
    – a new pro active, pro competition, independent oversight body, NBN Australia, with the task of implementing the Open Access and Equivalence Frameworks for Australia’s NBN, using facilitation and mediation.
  • Customer Experience in the NBN environment must be carefully managed to ensure a successful transition and good end user outcomes. Service quality and security standards must be established at a level to reflect the key role of the NBN in the lives of all Australians.
  • Ubiquity – all Australians must be connected to the NBN. Ubiquity is not only about network availability but also about affordability and accessibility. When all Australians are connected to the NBN, the real potential of this for productivity, growth and innovation will be open to end users in every sector of the economy and community, and in all regions of Australia.

ATUG looks forward to an opportunity to comment on regulatory amendments to facilitate the roll-out of the NBN. It would not be acceptable for policy, legislation and regulation affecting the long-term interests of end users to be “negotiated” without public debate.

Source: ATUG

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