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SIP obligations

The Telecommunications Act 1997 sets out connection and supply obligations on the Statutory Infrastructure Provider (SIP) of a service area.

Purpose of the SIP regime

The SIP regime provides certainty that all premises around Australia can be connected to superfast networks. This allows consumers to receive superfast broadband and voice telephone services.

Connection and supply obligations guarantee that retail service providers (RSPs) can gain wholesale access to superfast broadband infrastructure.

Interim NBN service areas

Until the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts declares the national broadband network is built and fully operational, NBN Co will be the SIP for interim NBN service areas.

These are areas that NBN Co has announced are ‘ready for service’ and declared in writing to be provisional interim NBN service areas. They do not include ‘nominated service areas’ or ‘designated service areas’ where other carriers will be the SIPs.

The general service area

Once the Minister declares that the national broadband network is built and fully operational, NBN Co will be the default SIP for the general service area.

This is all of Australia, except nominated service areas or designated service areas where other carriers will be the SIPs.

Nominated service areas

New developments

A carrier other than NBN Co may enter a contract to install telco network infrastructure in either a real estate development or building redevelopment project area.

Where this enables the supply of eligible services to premises in that whole project area, the carrier must declare it a provisional ‘nominated service area’.

Existing buildings

A carrier may declare a nominated service area where it has installed telco infrastructure under a contract for pre-existing buildings such as:

  • shopping centres
  • business complexes
  • residential buildings.

The carrier doesn’t have to declare these areas as a nominated service area, as there could be other infrastructure providers in the area.

A carrier that declares a provisional nominated service area will be the SIP for that area.

Designated service areas

The Minister can also declare a ‘designated service area’, and that a particular carrier is the SIP for that area.

This can be used, for example, to determine the SIP for new developments where infrastructure was installed prior to 1 July 2020, and where there is only one provider of superfast broadband services for that area.

Obligations to notify the ACMA

SIPs need to notify the ACMA when they declare service areas. 

We maintain a register of SIPs and their service areas.

Carriers (other than NBN Co) are also required to notify us when they enter contracts to install infrastructure in areas which, when completed, will make them the nominated SIP for that area. The SIP register will contain copies of these anticipatory notices.

Find out how to provide service area data to the ACMA

Obligations to connect and supply services

A SIP for a service area has two main obligations:

  • connecting premises to its networks
  • supplying an eligible service to consumers.

Sometimes it may not be reasonable for the SIP to connect premises to a fixed-line network. In this case it must provide fixed-wireless or satellite technology at certain upload and download speeds.

Broadband speeds

The services supplied by SIPs should enable RSPs to provide broadband service speeds of at least:

  • 25 Mbps for peak downloads
  • 5 Mbps for peak uploads.  

These baseline speeds apply across all network technologies. It is expected that SIPs will supply higher speeds on fixed-line networks. The government has additional speed and coverage targets for NBN Co.

Voice services

For fixed-line and fixed wireless networks, the services supplied by SIPs should enable RSPs to provide consumers with the ability to make and receive voice calls. A SIP would not need to supply a standalone voice service.

This will ensure that SIP networks can support voice services. However, in areas where a SIP only supplies satellite technology, voice services may be better supported by other carriers.

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