Turnbull Government to improve regional telecoms delivery with new Universal Service Guarantee
20 December 2017
Turnbull Government today announced a program of work to implement a new
Universal Service Guarantee (USG), which will ensure all Australians have
access to voice and broadband services, regardless of where they live.
part of the development of the new USG, the Government is committed to voice
telephony services via the existing Universal Service Obligation (USO) contract
with Telstra until this is replaced with a USG following the completion of the
National Broadband Network rollout in 2020.
any changes are made, the USG will need to meet the following requirements:
services are available to 100 per cent of Australian premises, on request, at
the completion of the NBN rollout in 2020
services are available to 100 per cent of Australian premises on request
proposed new service delivery arrangements are more cost effective than the
existing USO contract (including any transitional costs)
new consumer safeguards framework is in place following a review and associated
public consultation process.
Government is taking a ‘belt and braces’ approach to protecting
telecommunications accessibility for people in regional Australia,” said
Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield. “The Government is putting
new, stronger safeguards in place before making any changes to existing
safeguards while the NBN is rolled out.”
USG will be developed following the Productivity Commission inquiry into the USO, which found the existing contract
to be “anachronistic and costly” and should be “replaced by a new framework to
reflect changing policy, market and technological realities”.
Government’s response to the PC report is available at: www.communications.gov.au/uso-government-response
Government will develop options to implement a USG which ensures all Australian
premises have access to retail voice and broadband services delivered on a
commercial basis, underpinned by the Statutory Infrastructure Provider (SIP)
framework currently before Parliament. Where necessary, options will be
developed for targeted Government measures, for example, to deliver alternative
voice services to premises in the NBN satellite footprint which don’t have mobile
Government has now commenced work on cost and delivery options to provide for a
future Universal Service Guarantee, and will consider the future allocation of
the $100 million in annual funding it currently pays into the existing USO
contract as part of any change to existing USO arrangements.