Telecommunications in new developments

It is important that people moving into their homes in new developments have access to modern telecommunications services, including broadband and voice. The Telecommunications in new developments (TIND) policy provides guidance for developers, property buyers, occupants and telecommunications carriers on this important matter.

The latest policy, issued on 17 February 2024, expands the scope from the provision of fixed voice and broadband services to include mobile coverage. In recent times, a significant number of new communities have reported inadequate, or no, mobile coverage when moving into their new homes, and this can remain the case for years.

Where mobile coverage is not included in the design of new developments or expanding suburbs, there will be diminished digital connectivity and inclusion outcomes for residents in those areas. Importantly, there could be a risk during emergencies or natural disasters as diminished or no mobile coverage limits people’s ability to call Triple Zero outside of their premises.

In addition to expanding the scope to include mobile connectivity, the latest policy includes: 

  • an update to reflect the recent passage of legislation, 
  • amendments to clarify that developers building multi-unit buildings should also provision in-building pathways, and 
  • changes to allow NBN Co to spread backhaul costs across different developments in an area.

If you are a property developer, you have important obligations to ensure your development has modern telecommunications infrastructure for property buyers and occupants.

If you are a property buyer or moving into a new premises, it is important to check what telecommunications infrastructure, or mobile coverage, is in place before buying or building your new premises.

This page provides information about what to do if you are a developer, new property buyer or occupant to make sure your development has timely access to modern fixed and mobile telecommunications services, including broadband and voice. 
 

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Telecommunications in new developments (TIND) policy

The Government has published the TIND policy, outlining two policy objectives for the provision of telecommunications in new developments: 

  • to provide people moving into new developments with ready access to modern fixed and mobile telecommunications services, including broadband and voice; and
  • to support a competitive and sustainable market for the provision of such infrastructure by fostering efficiency, innovation and choice.

The latest version of the TIND policy took effect on 17 February 2024.

The 2020 version of the TIND policy is no longer in effect, and is provided here for reference purposes only. 

 

New property buyers and occupants

  • If you are planning to buy or build a property in a new development, you should check that your developer has arranged for telecommunications infrastructure to be installed before signing a contract. This is important so you can access the broadband and phone services you want when you move in.
  • If there is no telecommunications infrastructure, you may face significant inconvenience, delays and extra costs to have it installed.
  • You should ask your developer or the person selling the property what telecommunications infrastructure and retail services will be provided in the development, who is providing them, and when services will be available.
  • You can check the statutory infrastructure provider (SIP) register maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to see if it lists your development and the telecommunications network provider which is servicing it.
  • If you are building a new home, you should make sure you think about how you want to cable your home for broadband and phone use to suit your needs, before finalising the design of your home. If you do this after your home is complete, it may be more costly.

 

Developers

  • If you are a developer, you are responsible for providing telecommunications infrastructure in your developments.
  • Providing modern telecommunications in your developments may help make them more attractive to potential buyers. Most buyers will expect modern broadband and phone access.
  • You can choose any carrier you want to service your development.
  • If you don't wish to choose another carrier, NBN Co is the default statutory infrastructure provider (SIP) for Australia.
  • Carriers, including NBN Co, can charge for providing infrastructure in new developments.
  • Under Commonwealth law, developers are generally required to provide fibre-ready pit and pipe in their developments at their expense. The next section has more details.

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Mobile connectivity

The TIND policy sets expectations on developers of new residential developments with more than 50 lots, immaterial of whether the project will be implemented in stages. In summary these expectations are to: 

  • consider mobile connectivity as part of the overall development application process, with a similar level of importance as other utilities such as water, electricity and sewage. 
  • engage with a mobile network operator (MNO) and/or mobile network infrastructure provider (MNIP) as early as possible to ensure mobile coverage is in place prior to the selling or leasing of a building unit. 
  • identify or set aside one or more sites, or spaces, that are appropriate for mobile telecommunications infrastructure such as a pole or tower to be built upon. 
  • make all reasonable efforts to reach ‘fair terms’ in agreements with MNOs/MNIPs for access to land for the deployment of telecommunications facilities. 

Irrespective of whether it is a ‘greenfield’ or ‘infill’ development, the policy encourages developers to engage with MNOs up front to find out if there is existing coverage and if so, whether there is sufficient capacity given the number of proposed units being built. If there is no existing coverage, then a developer should follow the expectations listed above. 

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Legislative requirements for pit and pipe

The Australian Parliament has passed laws that require all developers to arrange for fibre-ready pit and pipe infrastructure to be installed in proximity to building lots or building units before those developers sell or lease the building lots or units. These laws are contained in Part 20A of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and associated rules.

Under the law, the pit and pipe that developers install must be functional—for example, they should not be blocked by earth or concrete.

When the laws were first passed in 2011 they only applied to constitutional corporations. The Parliament amended the laws in 2021 so that the pit and pipe arrangements apply to all developers, incorporated or unincorporated.

Developers may be able to access an exemption from these arrangements in some circumstances. For example, where pre-existing facilities can be re-used or for developments in rural, bushland and remote locations that meet strict criteria.

We maintain a register of developments exempted from these requirements.

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Statutory infrastructure provider (SIP) regime

The SIP regime came into effect on 1 July 2020. It provides a framework so that all people in Australia can access superfast broadband services.

Further information on the SIP regime is available here.

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