NBN legislative framework

Legislation for the NBN sets out the basis for the rollout, makes it easier to develop industry standards and codes, and set outs a process for the possible sale of NBN Co.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) regulatory framework was set up with two Acts:

NBN Co Limited (NBN Co) is a wholesale-only broadband company. NBN Co sells its services to retail phone and internet service providers. It must be open, transparent and fair in this, under the supervision of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The legislation set up the regulatory framework for NBN Co and sets out the process for the eventual sale.

Requirements for the sale of NBN Co

NBN Co can't be sold until:

  • the Minister for Communications declares that the NBN should be treated as built and fully operational
  • the Productivity Commission has an inquiry into regulatory, budgetary, consumer and competition matters relating to the NBN
  • a Parliamentary Joint Committee considers the findings of that report
  • the Minister for Finance makes a disallowable declaration that conditions are suitable to sell NBN Co
  • Parliament doesn't disallow that declaration.

Built and fully operational declaration

On 11 December 2020 following consideration of a report provided by NBN Co, the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, declared that the National Broadband Network (NBN) should be treated as built and fully operational.

The declaration is one of the steps that must occur under the Act before NBN Co can be privatised, but does not automatically trigger any further steps.

Find out more:

Open and fair access

NBN Co sells wholesale access to its network to retail service providers. The way it does this is subject to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010:

  • NBN Co can't discriminate against its potential customers if they are creditworthy and they comply with NBN Co's terms and conditions.
  • The ACCC has oversight of all of NBN Co's services
  • NBN Co must publish all the services it offers; any differences must be given to the ACCC to publish on its website

Find out more

Freedom of information

NBN Co is subject to the Freedom of information Act 1982, other than for its commercial activities.

Rules for other providers

Superfast fixed line broadband networks must meet a new carrier licence condition if their service targets residential customers. The declaration and explanatory statement are available on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

Any company offering superfast fixed-line local access networks built, upgraded or extended after 1 January 2011 must be a wholesale provider: it can't sell its services directly to the public, and, like NBN Co, it must comply with competition laws: