Thursday, 24 March 2011
National Broadband Network Companies Bill 2010; Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (National Broadband Network Measures — Access Arrangements) Bill 2011
If Senator Joyce is okay to yield, I will respond briefly because I think it is an entirely fair question, and maybe I did not spell it out in my comments a few moments ago. There are a number of live issues here. We believe the government, in consultation with industry and other parties, corporate and otherwise, over the last couple of years have put in quite a bit of work to try to work out how this market structure is actually going to function. This has never been done before in Australia. We have had a vertically integrated government owned incumbent and we have never had a wholesale only provider before. We have never tried to do this. I think it is somewhat unlike what has been tried elsewhere in the world; every experience is different.
I do not necessarily propose on 1 July to open up this package of bills again and try to fix things because I think it is going to take a little bit of time. Right now in early 2011 we have a handful of first release sites, we have a handful of proposed second release sites, but we do not actually have an NBN. We have a hypothetical national broadband network. The government says it is going to work one way and every stakeholder who has expressed a view thus far believes it is going to work in one way or another—but nobody actually knows. In this instance I can absolutely commit to Senator Xenophon and the rest of the chamber that if it is going sideways we will absolutely revisit it—