Following a firm recommendation from the CA lawyer, Adrian Mueller, Brendan Coady, Sector Leader, Maddocks Lawyers was appointed in early April to represent the CA in negotiations with Landcom.
The desired outcome is to achieve telecommunications services for Prince Henry owners and residents in line with services available to the rest of Australia, including choice of RSP (eg: Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet, etc.).
A budget of $20,000 for legal fees to address these issues was approved at the AGM in early April, and the CA is doing its very best to ensure that amount is not exceeded. The CA has also written to Landcom explaining the conundrum it faces in explaining to owners the need for additional levies to cover legal fees to ensure the long-term security of these essential services. View letter to Landcom.
Over the past few months, Landcom has been working closely and tirelessly with the CA to achieve the best telecommunications option for Prince Henry owners and residents. There are two options available:
- NBN Co agrees to extend its network to Prince Henry
- Prince Henry retains its private network, the CA becomes a party to a contract with another monopoly wholesale provider*, albeit one that states its services are available through a variety of RSPs, and signs up to a potential 15 year contract with a new provider, who will own the infrastructure.
* Note: Landcom made it very clear in its letter dated 13 March 2019 that its preferred position would be for the CA to enter into an agreement with the new provider. However, since that time, Landcom and the CA have been working together to achieve the best outcome available for Prince Henry owners and residents.
Both Landcom and the CA agree that the best outcome for Prince Henry now and into the future would be option 1: NBN Co agrees to extend its network to Prince Henry.
Regrettably, the recent caretaker period and general election have slowed progress somewhat. NBN Co is undergoing a restructure and has new priorities, such as ensuring connections to existing built-up areas (Brownfield) are completed by the end of 2020. Prince Henry is described as a new development (Greenfield).
As you may know, Prince Henry was granted an ‘adequately served’ status in the early days of the NBN, which meant NBN Co would not extend its network to such an area. Because Prince Henry’s ‘adequately served’ status was the result of a federal government policy, it will be necessary for Paul Fletcher, the newly appointed Federal Communications Minister, to sign off on an ‘overbuild’ by NBN Co. In addition, Mathias Cormann, the Federal Minister for Finance, will also be required to approve the overbuild. It’s interesting to note that providers can no longer apply for ‘adequately served’ status. This means that ‘adequately served’ is no longer policy. What does that mean for Prince Henry? That’s anyone’s guess.
The good news is that Landcom has agreed to attend an information session in early August for Prince Henry owners and owners’ representatives. Refer email received from Maureen Wade, Landcom’s Manager – Infrastructure and Innovation.
Since lot owner attendance at such events is hard to predict, the CA’s managing agent will distribute an information sheet by mid-July requesting owners and owners’ representatives to express their interest in attending such a session (to determine numbers for both viability and venue), as well as requesting questions be submitted in writing in advance.
In the meantime, the CA continues to liaise with Landcom and hopes that, by August, there’ll be some positive news to report.