Better delivery of universal services

We are seeking stakeholder views on ways to better deliver baseline universal telecommunications services.

Why we want your input

The Australian Government is examining universal service arrangements in light of changes in available technologies and consumer preferences over recent years. We are seeking views on the key outcomes that a modern universal service framework should deliver.

How you can voice your opinion

Stakeholders and interested individuals were welcome to provide input by 5pm, Friday 1 March 2024. Submissions were emailed to usb@infrastructure.gov.au or uploaded using the ‘Have your say now’ button below.

The Department is also interested in meeting stakeholders throughout the consultation process to better understand their views. Please contact us at the email above if you would like to arrange a time to talk about the process or provide your views

What will be the outcome of this consultation?

Your feedback will inform future approaches that deliver robust and reliable voice services, with further stages of consultation planned for 2024.

The Issue

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) is a longstanding safeguard that ensures all Australians are able to access fixed phone services and payphones regardless of where they live or work. As the statutory primary universal provider, Telstra is required to supply fixed voice services and payphones nationally on reasonable request. Telstra provides the majority of USO services over the National Broadband Network (NBN), however it continues to deliver USO services over copper and other networks in regional and remote areas.

Access to fixed broadband is supported by the Statutory Infrastructure Provider (SIP) regime, which provides that NBN Co and other similar providers connect premises to their networks and supply wholesale services that allow retail providers to provide broadband services with peak download and upload speeds of at least 25/5 megabits per second (Mbps).

The Australian Government is examining universal service arrangements in light of changes in available technologies and consumer preferences over recent years. By the end of 2024, more than 97% of Australian premises will have access to high-speed NBN broadband services that can support quality voice services. The deployment of satellites and other technologies also shows promise for providing greater options for voice services in the most remote areas of Australia.

A key principle for Government is that any change to existing arrangements will only be considered if there are tested and proven alternatives to existing technologies and services.

We are initially interested in hearing from stakeholders about the sorts of outcomes that a modern universal service framework should deliver. To provide time for all stakeholders to have their say, there will be further stages of consultation in 2024, including to seek views on the sustainable, long-term funding of services in rural and remote areas.

The discussion paper below provided relevant background and key questions to assist in making a submission or providing feedback.

Further information on universal services reform is available at: Modernising universal telecommunications services.

Relevant documentation

Participate

30 Oct 2023 07:00 AEDT
01 Mar 2024 17:00 AEDT
Closed
This consultation is closed.

Submissions

Displaying 1 - 10 of 58
ACCAN
Document
ACCC
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AccessComm
Document
AgForce
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Amazon Kuiper
Document
Anonymous
Document
Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia
Broome Circle
Document
Christy and Scott Bredhauer
City of Sydney
Document