Wednesday, 19 February 2020 08:30

Tax to help fund regional broadband services gets green light

Tax to help fund regional broadband services gets green light Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

The Federal Government's proposed regional broadband scheme, which will impose an industry levy to fund the costs of paying for proving NBN connections in regional areas, is set to go ahead after a Senate inquiry recommended only that a few additional safeguards be adopted.

The Senate's Environment and Communications Legislation Committee recommended in its report on Friday that "additional transparency measures, which provide details of NBN Co's off-set arrangements and the effective management of these arrangements" be implemented.

The panel added that "after due consideration to the [previous] recommendation, the committee recommends that the bills be passed".

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill 2019 (CC Bill) and the Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Bill 2019 (RBS Bill) were referred to the committee last year.

Proposed initially in 2016, it is estimated that the RBS would raise something in the region of $40 million by imposing a levy on “superfast” (or “NBN-comparable”) fixed-line broadband services which can offer speeds of 25 megabits per second or more.

The two bills propose the following reforms:

  • "making amendments to network rules that apply to superfast carriage services provided to residential and small business customers other than the NBN;
  • "introducing statutory infrastructure provider (SIP) obligations; and
  • "establishing a regional broadband scheme to provide for the funding of NBN Co satellite and fixed wireless services for rural and regional areas."


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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