Purpose of the SIP rules
The SIP rules provide 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.
The general service area (NBN Co)
In December 2020, the Minister for Communications declared that the national broadband network is built and fully operational, which means NBN Co is now the default SIP for the general service area.
This is for all of Australia, except nominated service areas or designated service areas where other carriers are the SIPs.
Nominated service areas
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 the project area, the carrier must declare it a provisional ‘nominated service area’.
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 may not have to declare these areas as a nominated service area, as there could be other SIPs 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 specify which carrier is the SIP for that area.
Obligations to notify the ACMA
SIPs must 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'.
Obligations to connect and supply services
A SIP for a service area has two main obligations:
- connect premises to its networks
- supply an eligible service to consumers.
RSPs are responsible for arranging to connect and supply services on behalf of their customers.
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 the minimum prescribed upload and download speeds.
The services supplied by SIPs should allow RSPs to provide broadband services with peak speeds of at least:
- 25 Mbps for downloads
- 5 Mbps for uploads.
These baseline speeds apply across all network technologies. SIPs are expected to supply higher speeds on fixed-line networks. The government has additional speed and coverage targets for NBN Co.
For fixed-line and fixed wireless networks, the services supplied by SIPs should allow RSPs to provide consumers with the ability to make and receive voice calls. This guarantees that SIPs can support voice services. However, in areas where a SIP only supplies satellite technology, voice services may be available from other carriers.
SIPs are not required to supply standalone voice services.
Exceptions to connection and supply obligations
The minister has determined that in certain circumstances, the obligation to connect premises and/or supply eligible services does not apply.
Obligations to publish terms and conditions
SIPs must publish their terms and conditions for providing wholesale services to RSPs on their website.
The terms and conditions must include:
- a price, or a way to find out the price, of connecting and supplying services
- the maximum period to connect and supply services
- the maximum period for repairing a fault or service problem
- any other relevant terms and conditions.