Conroy delays greenfields fibre mandate

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Conroy delays greenfields fibre mandate

First effects of continued opposition to the bill.

The Government has pushed back the start date for its proposed fibre mandate in new housing estates by six months due to delays in debating the draft legislation.

In Senate Estimates yesterday, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy revealed the Government would "be proposing to move the legal start date from 1 July 2010 to 1 January 2011."

Conroy blamed the delay on Opposition "filibuster to prevent the bill coming to a vote" and on the general "absence of support" from the Opposition for the proposal.

Liberal Party senators have recommended that debate on the proposed fibre mandate be blocked despite a Senate Committee recommendation that the bill be passed.

Conroy said the Government would continue to make its case for its greenfields reforms.

The delay is likely to appease the housing industry lobby, which repeatedly said the July 1 date was too soon.

The Government is continuing to negotiate with housing groups around the details of subordinate legislation that will include the real details of the fibre mandate proposal.

The subordinate legislation is expected to cover off details including which estates will be forced to deploy fibre and which can apply for an exemption to deploy only fibre-ready trenches, pits and pipes.

The Government has previously said that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and local councils could be enlisted to enforce these exemptions.


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