The right to high-speed internet now enshrined in law

The right to high-speed internet now enshrined in law

THE right to high-speed internet, regardless of where someone lives, has now been enshrined in Australian law.

Under the new laws, NBN Co will have a statutory obligation to provide broadband services that are able to achieve peak download and upload speeds of at least 25/5 Megabits per second.

NBN Co must also provide at least 90 per cent of premises on its fixed-line network with peak broadband speeds of 50/10 Megabits per second.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the new laws reinforce the government's commitment to providing 21st century telecommunications services to all.

"These historic laws mean that all Australians can access high-speed broadband, no matter where they live or work," Mr Fletcher said.

Where NBN Co is not the default network provider - for example, where other network operators have contracts to service new developments - those operators will also be required to meet these requirements.

"Telecommunications has long been recognised as an essential utility and the Government committed to providing access to reliable high speed broadband for all Australians," Mr Fletcher said.

"The legislation commencing today locks that commitment into law."

The Regional Broadband Scheme (RBS), which is part of the same package of reforms, will commence at the start of 2021 and will provide transparent, sustainable and ongoing funding for NBN Co's loss-making fixed wireless and satellite services.

The RBS provides funding of over $700 million per annum to upgrade and recover the costs of providing broadband in regional and remote Australia.

"Together, these new laws are designed to ensure access to modern telecommunications services for those living in regional, rural and remote areas, as well as those in metropolitan areas, while promoting competition," Mr Fletcher said.