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The Regional Broadband Scheme

The ACMA will administer the RBS from 1 January 2021.

This page provides a brief introduction to the RBS and provides high level information on carrier obligations under the Scheme.

About the RBS

The RBS was established to ensure there are long-term sustainable funding arrangements in place to provide essential broadband services to regional, rural and remote Australians.

Under the RBS, a carrier or declared nominated carrier is required to pay $7.10 per month for each eligible premise on their telecommunication network that has an active fixed line that provides a designated broadband service. Carriers with less than 2000 premises in a month are exempt from paying the charge for that month.

From 1 January 2021, carriers and nominated declared carriers that own, or are responsible for, local access lines that are capable of providing NBN comparable designated broadband services will be required to track the number of premises that are connected to each local access line. This applies to all premises that are connected to the local access line and are able to access designated broadband services, whether through the carrier or another carriage service provider.

Carriers who own or who are responsible for these local access lines must report on the number of premises that are serviced by their access lines for each month during the period 1 January to 30 June 2021 by the 31 October 2021 (the first reporting period), subject to some exceptions noted below.

Who will be required to report on premises?

In the first reporting period, carriers must report on the number of chargeable premises that are associated with its local access lines for each month from January 2021 to June 2021.

Premises are “chargeable premises” in relation to a carrier for the month if:

  • a carrier licence was held at any time during the reporting period
  • the carrier was the owner of, or was the nominated carrier, in relation to a local access line that provided designated broadband services to premises and the line is not an exempt line within the meaning of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (TCPSS Act)
  • the premises are not “exempt premises” within the meaning of the TCPSS Act. If a carrier, alone or as a member of its associated group of carriers, has less than 2,000 potentially chargeable premises for a month within the relevant period, then the premises are exempt and the carrier is not required to report for that month

Critical dates

The first reporting period begins on 1 January 2021 and ends on 30 June 2021.

Carriers are required to submit a report to us by 31 October 2021.

Details about what is required in the report are set out in section 100 of the TCPSS Act.

Carriers are encouraged to obtain their own legal and technical advice as necessary to understand their reporting obligations under the RBS and TCPSS Acts.

Between 1 November and 30 November 2021 (or a later date as determined by the ACMA) we will assess reports to calculate the number of chargeable premises and the annual chargeable premises amounts to be charged to carriers.

Further information

Read more about the scheme and how it works.

For further information please contact us at rbs@acma.gov.au.

Key terms

Term Description

Nominated carrier by declaration

A nominated carrier declaration is made under Division 4 of Part 3 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 by the ACMA. It declares the carrier to be the nominated carrier in relation to a specific network unit owned by a non-carrier.

https://ablis.business.gov.au/service/ag/nominated-carrier-declaration/219

Local access line

Local access line is defined in section 76A of the TCPSS Act. It means a line that is “part of the infrastructure of a local access network”. A line does not form part of a local access line to the extent that the line is on the customer side of the boundary of the telecommunication network, unless the line is being used to supply a carriage service to a unit in a multi-unit building.

Designated broadband services

Under section 76AA of the TCPSS Act, a designated broadband service is a carriage service that is supplied using a local access line, where:

(a) the carriage service enables end-users to download communications; and

(b) the local access line is part of the infrastructure of a telecommunications network in Australia; and

(c) the local access line is technically capable of being used to supply a superfast carriage service (i.e. download transmission speed is normally 25Mbps or greater).

Under the TCPSS Act designated broadband services do not include:

(d) a carriage service that can only be used by an end-user to make and receive voice calls; or

(e) a carriage service that can only be used by an end-user to view one or more broadcast television streams; or

(f) a carriage service that belongs to a class of carriage services determined by the Minister through a legislative instrument.

Premises

A residential or business location where a carriage service is connected and a designated broadband service is supplied.  

Definitions of different types of premises (potentially chargeable premises, chargeable premises, exempt premises and potentially concessional premises) are set out in Division 4 of Part 3 of the TCPSS Act.  

 

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