Position Statement - Fibre ready telecommunications infrastructure
This position statement aims to ensure appropriate internet access in future land development within Western Australia.
What is the intent of the position statement? What is telecommunications infrastructure?
New lots created through subdivision (including survey strata) under the Planning and Development Act 2005 are to be provided with suitable telecommunications infrastructure. This position statement sets out that requirement in the planning process.
What are the key measures?
Telecommunications infrastructure refers to any form of technology, including fibre, fixed wireless or satellite, that provides the capability to deliver a telecommunications service, namely internet access.
How does this position statement relate to my subdivision application?
All subdivision applications to which this position statement applies should demonstrate the provision of fibre ready facilities to enable fixed line connections or the ability to access suitable telecommunications infrastructure via fixed wireless or satellite services.
Applicants must still meet their obligations under the Commonwealth Telecommunications Act 1997 to provide suitable telecommunications infrastructure to the proposed lot. Part 20A of the Telecommunications Act 1997 obliges constitutional corporations involved in new developments to ensure fibre ready pit and pipe is installed.
This position statement applies to all subdivision in Western Australia, irrespective of whether the subdivision applicant is a constitutional corporation or not.
What are fibre ready facilities?
The nbn rollout map should be consulted to determine the type of service provided to an area. This will inform the measure and associated condition which is appropriate for the proposed subdivision.
In cases where nbn services are provided through fixed line connections including Fibre to the Premises, Fibre to the Curb and Fibre to the Node; lots should be provided with fibre ready facilities installed to the specification of a suitably qualified person.
In cases where nbn services are provided through fixed wireless or satellite services: evidence to demonstrate that lots can access suitable telecommunications infrastructure including fixed wireless or satellite (such as written reference to the nbn rollout map) should be provided to the specification of a suitably qualified person.
What is pit and pipe infrastructure?
Fibre ready facilities refer to the provision of underground ducting or pit and pipe infrastructure that are designed and installed to all individual lots.
Where can I get advice on how to install pit and pipe infrastructure, if required?
A pit refers to a manhole, pit or any other access hole or chamber in the ground.
A pipe refers to a tube or pipe that physically accommodates cables and offers mechanical protection for cabling, allowing them to be drawn in and/or replaced.
Am I required to connect to the nbn via optical fibre lines?
The Communications Alliance has published advice called Fibre Ready Pit and Pipe Specification for Real Estate Development Projects (G645:2017), which is available online at: https://www.communications.gov.au/departmental-news/communications-alliance-fibre-ready-pit-and-pipe-specifications
The NBN Co also publishes guidance on pit and pipe infrastructure, which is available online at: https://www.nbnco.com.au/develop-or-plan-with-the-nbn/new-developments/design-build-install/pit-and-pipe
Who can act as a suitably qualified person?
The position statement does not require the provision of optical fibre lines and/or a carrier agreement.
Does this position statement apply to existing subdivision approvals?
A suitably qualified person is a person who is eligible for membership for the Institution of Engineers Australia and is responsible to the developer for the detailed investigation and design of the civil engineering works to satisfy the relevant Western Australian Planning Commission conditions of subdivision to the approval of the local government.
Why is it important to plan for telecommunications infrastructure at the subdivision stage?
The position statement does not apply retrospectively.
Does the position statement apply to development?
In areas covered by the fixed line nbn network, the implications of lots not having access to fibre ready telecommunications infrastructure prior to development could include additional delays and increased costs from retrofitting developments.
Access to the internet is important as it allows access to employment and job opportunities, social services, online education and health support, and social networks.
How does this position statement relate to my subdivision application?
The position statement does not include measures that relate to development applications.
The requirements for telecommunications infrastructure for development, including the provision of internal and external conduit paths, will be addressed in a future stage of the Design WA suite of State Planning Policies.
How will local governments clear a condition of subdivision approval that requires ‘fibre ready facilities’?
The nbn rollout map should be consulted to determine the type of service provided to an area. This will inform the measure and associated condition which is appropriate for the proposed subdivision. In cases where nbn services are provided through fixed line connections including Fibre to the Premises, Fibre to the Curb and Fibre to the Node: lots should be provided with fibre ready facilities installed to the specification of a suitably qualified person.
In addition, the intention of the Position Statement is to also capture subdivisions within the planned construction footprint; or subdivisions located in close proximity to the fixed line footprint (where extension of the fixed line service is available and feasible).
In cases where nbn services are provided through fixed wireless or satellite services: evidence to demonstrate that lots can access suitable telecommunications infrastructure including fixed wireless or satellite (such as written reference to the nbn rollout map) should be provided.
What exemptions apply?
Where the provision of fibre ready facilities (fixed line) are a condition of subdivision approval, installation of pit and pipe infrastructure is to be undertaken to appropriate specifications and will need to be certified by a suitably qualified person and/or evidence of the execution of a carrier agreement. Clearance of the conditions will be by the relevant local government authority, based on the provision of this certification in writing.
Where provision of fixed line connections is not planned or reasonable, evidence to demonstrate that lots can access suitable telecommunications infrastructure including fixed wireless or satellite services (such as written reference to the nbn rollout map) should be provided.
For example, where Condition Te2 has been applied, and the landowner/developer’s inquiries have indicated that a fixed line service is not feasible, evidence to demonstrate that appropriate inquiries have been undertaken and that lots can access suitable telecommunications infrastructure including fixed wireless or satellite (such as written reference to the nbn rollout map) should be provided in order for the condition to be cleared.
What are the exemption requirements under Commonwealth legislation?
The position statement does not apply to:
- the creation of new lots in a rural zone or equivalent if the WAPC is satisfied that connection to fixed line telecommunications services is not warranted
- situations where there is no material ‘on-the-ground’ change, for example boundary realignments and amalgamations
- applications where the development is exempted by the Federal Minister for Communications by legislative instrument under the exemptions provisions in Part 20A of the Telecommunications Act 1997
- a development that has met the requirements for an exemption in line with the Telecommunications (Fibre-Ready Facilities in Real Estate Development Projects and Other Matters) Instrument 2011; Telecommunications (Fibre ready facilities – Exempt Real Estate Development Projects) Instrument 2016) and published on the Federal Register of Legislation
- infill subdivision or survey-strata proposals where it can be demonstrated that pit and pipe infrastructure is already in place for all proposed lots
- proposals for built strata developments.
As of October 2020, the exemption instrument covers development where:
- no network utilities or only above-ground electricity lines will be installed in proximity to building lot (i.e. they are relatively remote and do not have mains water, sewerage or underground electricity)
- there is no kerb and channeling constructed, or planned to be constructed
- the average length of the street frontages of the building lots within the development is 60 metres or more (i.e. they are larger rural type blocks)
- the development is not in a current or announced NBN fixed-line network rollout area.
Note: reference should always be given to the Commonwealth legislation directly, to ensure the exemptions are still valid.