Fibre birthing pains - it might get loud


But we can at least take some comfort in knowing we are not alone. The Australian government is taking relatively extreme measures to ensure the commercial viability of its National Broadband Network (NBN) programme. Legislative changes are being introduced so that any private entity that invests in competing high-speed broadband infrastructure must provide wholesale access to its competitors on the same terms and conditions as the NBN.

Furthermore, the Australian government is indicating it will consider introducing a levy to prevent what it terms "opportunistic cherry picking", that is, private investment in fibre infrastructure in commercially attractive areas. Try that here, and the industry backlash would be swift and noisy.

IDC believes robust debate about the implementation model and approach of the UFB Initiative is long overdue, and this year it might get loud.

Nonetheless, with a change of government looking unlikely and a steadfast commitment by the government to make the UFB Initiative work in its current form, IDC believes that the legislative changes proposed to date will proceed largely unchanged.

The only factor that might ultimately derail the process is a decision by Telecom to walk away from the UFB process -- an outcome that looks increasingly unlikely with Telecom now officially prioritised for negotiations.