Time for a rethink on the USO?

At the CommsDay Australasia Satellite Forum this week Paul Fletcher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Communications Minister, raised questions about the future of the Universal Services Obligation. Should it be the responsibility of the NBN?

Optus’s Head of Interconnect and Economic Regulations Andrew Sheridan agrees. He says that, even if copper is still needed to provide voice services in the interim, NBN should manage the transition because they won’t have any reason to prolong its life more than is necessary.

CommsDay’s Kevin Morgan goes one step further and suggests we could do away with the USO altogether. After all, all over the world, people are moving to mobile as their preferred choice for voice calls. And for many low income households, mobile is the cheaper option.

Paul Fletcher says the time is right for the industry to provide evidence of the need for change, adding he can’t see the current agreement with Telstra being renegotiated in a hurry. After all, it’s scheduled to finish in 2032!

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