Govt. passes legislation improving telco access for new developments

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Govt. passes legislation improving telco access for new developments

The Federal Government has passed legislation to give new housing developments better access to modern telecommunications.

The Telecommunications in New Developments (TIND) policy has been updated to require unincorporated developers to install pits and pipes to house telecommunications cabling during the construction of new developments.

The policy expands the 2011 Telecommunications Act, which only requires developers that are corporations to have pits and pipes installed before selling or leasing the property.

Communications minister Paul Fletcher said in this announcement that it is estimated that some unincorporated developers build around 3,000 premises each year that do not have pit and pipe installed.

“Since 2011, the Telecommunications Act has required developers that are corporations to install fibre-ready facilities – typically pits and pipes used to house telecommunications cabling – in proximity to new developments before the developer sells or leases them,” Fletcher said.

“This new legislation extends the requirements to unincorporated developers. If they fail to do so, they could be subject to civil penalties.”

Fletcher also cited the difference between the cost of a developer installing pit and pipe and a new homebuyer to have those retrofitted. Developers would have to spend an estimated $600 to $800 while the homebuyer would have to shell out at least around $2,100, and even more if extensive civil works are required.

“This legislation means that people who occupy new premises can have greater confidence that appropriate pit and pipe facilities have been installed, in turn, giving them ready access to modern communications regardless of whether the developer is incorporated or unincorporated,” Fletcher added.

The Federal Government started looking into reviewing telecommunications in new developments from as early as November 2019, ahead of the NBN's planned completion date at the time of 2020. The previous legislation in place had also been close to five years since it was passed. A second round of public consultations commenced in 2020.

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