Have your say on modernising the universal services framework

Stakeholders are invited to provide input on the key outcomes that a modern universal service framework should deliver.

The Australian Government has an existing framework in place to provide people across Australia with access to baseline fixed voice and broadband services.

The Universal Service Obligation (USO) ensures all Australians can have access to fixed phone services, and payphones, regardless of where they live. Access to fixed broadband over the National Broadband Network and other similar networks is supported by the Statutory Infrastructure Provider (SIP) regime.

The Australian Government is examining universal service arrangements in light of changing technologies and consumer preferences and is interested in hearing from stakeholders about the outcomes that a modern universal service framework should deliver, including how arrangements can best support First Nations communities.

Feedback from communities, industry, and interested parties will inform next steps to ensure any new approach delivers a robust and reliable service. A discussion paper has been developed to inform the consultation process.

Submissions close at 5pm on Friday 1 March 2024.  

As access to reliable and quality services is particularly important to the people that live and run businesses in rural, regional, and remote communities, the Government will commence work alongside this initial consultation to establish a clear, independent and transparent body of evidence to help inform whether emerging technologies are capable of delivering suitable voice services, with trials expected to commence in 2024.

Further consultation will also start next year to seek views on sustainable, long-term funding of services in rural and remote areas, incorporating a review of the Regional Broadband Scheme legislated to commence by mid-2024.