Tasmania NBN becomes 'opt out'

Tasmanians will no longer be asked if they want to be connected to the National Broadband Network under new legislation being prepared by the government.

Landowners currently have to give their permission for NBN workers to enter the property and connect the optic fibre.

But the Tasmanian government is concerned take-up levels in the state are too low and wants to move to an 'opt-out' model instead, where every property will have the connection installed unless they actively decline the offer.

The Premier and Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, David Bartlett, said: "We must take full advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity, and ensure its benefits reach as many Tasmanians as possible, in the years and decades to come.

"Already, more than half the householders and businesses in the first three 'Smart Towns' have accepted a connection to optic fibre.

"That's a good early result. But we're also determined to get that participation even higher, and ensure every Tasmanian householder and business that wants access to super-fast broadband can get it easily and efficiently."

According to the Tasmanian Government, legislation for an opt-out model will be introduced to State Parliament as soon as possible.

Opposition Communications spokesperson, Malcolm Turnbull, criticised the proposed new laws.

"The Tasmanian Government’s push for new laws allowing the National Broadband Network Co to connect to houses without the explicit consent of owners confirms that the business plan of the NBN depends on compulsion and the elimination of competing technologies," he said in a statement.

"If Australian consumers want a fixed line for telephony or internet access, they are going to have to use NBN’s line – like it or not," he added.

Homes and businesses can connect to the NBN for free in the initial roll-out but do not have to sign up to a broadband service over the fibre network. However, if property owners choose not to be connected now, there will be a fee if they change their mind later.

Several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Tasmania and on mainland Australia have fibre optic plans available on the NBN, including Exetel, Internode, iiNet and iPrimus.

Refer to this article for Exetel fibre plan pricing.
Refer to this article for Internode fibre plan pricing.
Refer to this article for iiNet fibre plan pricing.
Refer to this article for iPrimus fibre plan pricing.