The current Universal Service Obligation managed by Telstra is a long-standing safeguard that ensures all Australians have access to a voice-only standard telephone service and payphones. The Productivity Commission’s inquiry found the USO is costly and outdated due to the rapid evolution of technology and changing consumer preferences.
The new USG will provide all Australian homes and businesses, regardless of their location, with access to both voice and broadband services. It also ensures areas with specific needs have access to payphones or equivalent community voice services, like communities with no mobile phone coverage or in remote Australia.
The Government has started developing the USG and will work with industry stakeholders and representatives of regional and remote Australia. Further updates will be provided in 2018.