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 (nominated carrier) is required to pay $7.97320 per month for each chargeable premises connected to their telecommunication network that has an active fixed line that provides a designated broadband service. Carriers with less than 2,000 premises in any month of the current reporting period are exempt from paying the RBS charge for that month.
Carriers and nominated carriers that own, or are responsible for, local access lines that are capable of providing NBN comparable designated broadband services are 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 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023 reporting period, by 31 October 2023, subject to some exceptions noted below.
Who will be required to report on premises?
Carriers and nominated carriers must report on the number of chargeable premises that are associated with their local access lines for each month of the reporting period, if the following applies:
- 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 (the TCPSS Act)
- the premises are not 'exempt premises' within the meaning of the TCPSS Act. If a carrier, alone or as part of an associated group (if taken to belong to an associated group), has less than 2,000 potentially chargeable premises for a month within the relevant period, then the premises are exempt and the carrier is exempt from paying the RBS charge for that month.
Calculating the RBS charge
Under the Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Act 2020 (the RBS Charge Act) there are 2 parts to the RBS charge:
- the base component
- the administrative component.
For the 2022–23 reporting period, the following charges apply:
The base component of the third eligible financial year amount is $7.97320 per month per premises. This amount has been calculated using the formula set out in section 12(3) of the RBS Charge Act, where the ‘previous base component’ amount of $7.45159 has been multiplied by the indexation factor of 1.070.
As set out in section 16(3) of the RBS Act, the administrative component of the third eligible financial year (2022–23) is $0.00 per month per premises.
Monthly and annual RBS charges
Monthly RBS charge: A carrier's RBS charge is calculated by multiplying its chargeable premises per month by the sum of the base component amount and the administrative component amount.
Monthly RBS charge = number of chargeable premises that month x (base component amount + administrative component amount)
Annual RBS charge: The monthly base component amount and monthly administrative component amount are added up to determine the annual base component amount and annual administrative component amount. The carrier’s annual RBS charge is the sum of the annual base component amount and annual administrative component amount.
Annual RBS charge = sum of monthly RBS charges for the eligible financial year
The current reporting period is from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023.
Eligible carriers are required to submit a report to the ACMA by 31 October 2023.
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 the TCPSS Acts.
Between 1 November and 31 December, the ACMA will assess reporting by carriers to calculate the number of chargeable premises and the annual chargeable premises amounts to be charged to carriers.
Legislation and other links
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.
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.
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.