Subordinate greenfields fibre law due in weeks

By Ry Crozier on Apr 12, 2010 8:40 AM
Filed under Communications

More time granted to housing developer bodies.

Housing developer bodies have sought more time to work through the detail of highly-anticipated subordinate legislation for greenfields estates before it is released to the public.

The subordinate legislation is expected to cover off details including which estates will be forced to deploy fibre and which can apply for an exemption to deploy only fibre-ready trenches, pits and pipes.

"Regulations to give effect to this distinction are being developed in consultation with key stakeholders, including developers," a spokesman for the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) told iTnews.

"Industry bodies representing developers have asked for more time to work through the details and the Government was happy to accommodate this before it is released in the coming weeks."

The spokesman said the Government was continuing to consult with stakeholders on the timing for the introduction of a fibre mandate in new housing estates "to ensure a sensible position can be reached."

At least developer group - the Housing Industry Association - believed the planned July 1 start date was too soon.

Telstra also said in its submission that the looming date, coupled with uncertainty over the subordinate legislation text, was likely to cost it and other telcos a lot of money in changing their businesses to comply with the mandate.

The HIA agreed: "The current uncertainty in respect to possible exemptions and construction standards is already affecting HIA members' operations," its chief executive Graham Wolfe said.

The DBCDE spokesman said the fibre bill would "only apply to estates where [the] planning approval process has reached an advanced stage."

"The practical obligation to put in fibre or fibre-ready infrastructure is likely to start much later than 1 July 2010," the spokesman said.

That echoed an earlier speech by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy that suggested the mandate could take affect late in the new estate planning cycle, effectively providing relief to developers who believed the July 1 start date was too soon.

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