[it wire] The Government would set up a new company to take over most of Telstra's universal service obligations if the agreement just signed by Telstra and NBN Co is consummated.
Communications minister, senator Stephen Conroy, said: "The government would establish a new entity, USO Co, with Commonwealth funding of $50 million in 2012-13 and 2013-14, increasing to $100 million annually thereafter and with the remaining funding needed being contributed by industry, as it is at present."
The Government would also provide $100 million to Telstra to assist in the retraining and redeployment of Telstra staff who would "be affected by this very significant reform to the structure of the telecommunications industry."
The Government would also require NBN Co to be the wholesale supplier of last resort for fibre connections in greenfield developments from 1 January 2011. It said that these contributions had been provided for in the 2010-11 Budget.
USO Co would assume responsibility for most of Telstra's Universal Service Obligations for the delivery of standard telephone services, payphones and emergency call handling from 1 July 2012.
However the Government has given no indication as to how its responsibilities would be implemented (ie whether it would be resourced to deliver services or whether it would simply contract provision to other telcos and manage the deliver of services).
New company to deliver USO if Telstra does deal with NBN Co