Get nicked, Conroy: Baillieu rejects opt-out NBN


The new Coalition State Government in Victoria has given its clearest signal yet that it will reject the ‘opt-out’ model for the National Broadband Network rollout in the state, meaning residents will need to actively choose to receive fibre when it hits their neighbourhood.

“It ought to be optional,” new Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu told The Australian newspaper late last week in relation to the issue, noting low take-up rates in early stage NBN rollout areas.

The Premier’s office has not yet responded to a request for comment on the issue this morning seeking confirmation of a Government policy on the matter and the reasons why the new Premier prefers the opt-in model.

The status of any discussion between the new Coalition State Government and the Federal Government is also as of yet unknown. The office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy — who is staunchly in favour of the opt-out model — did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the issue this morning.

If Victoria does firm up with an opt-in NBN policy, it will immediately create a gulf between the way the National Broadband Network is being rolled out in Tasmania, and the way it will hit the state commonly seen as a leader in Australia when it comes to technology deployments. In the Apple Isle, Labor Premier David Bartlett has introduced legislation to force an opt-out deployment, spurred by some elements of the State Opposition.

In addition, such a move will mark a reversal of policy compared with the approach of the previous Brumby Labor Government in Victoria, which had supported an opt-out approach. And even the Coalition itself has appeared to back a fast-tracked rollout of the NBN in Victoria in the past.

In October, then-Shadow State ICT Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said a Victorian Liberal Government would work with the NBN and push to get the best deal from the initiative, and in April after the current NBN proposal was first launched, Baillieu expressed support for the initiative.

“High-speed broadband, infrastructure and jobs are critical to Victoria’s future and we support the fast-tracking of infrastructure initiatives,” Baillieu said at the time.

Last week Rich-Phillips was confirmed as the state’s ICT Minister under Baillieu. However, he has not yet made a public statement about how the Coalition’s technology policies espoused during the election will be implemented.

The lack of clarity around the opt-out idea being legislated in Tasmania currently extends to other states. The NSW Labor Government — which is expected to lose the next state election in March — has ruled out following the opt-out path, although the state Opposition is not yet known to have released a policy on the matter.

The Queensland Government is also not known to have made a decision on the issue.

Image credit: Liberal Party of Victoria


    • Sadly, no — from all indications, at least when it comes to technology policy, the Coalition appears to be looking to stall or roll things back. The Brumby government was great when it came to technology policy, the most progressive in Australia. So far the Coalition is showing itself to be the exact opposite.

      If they could fix the Myki debacle though …

      • So wasting lots of money on technology that doesn’t work like Myki, or in the case of the NBN, using a government mandate to support a completely uneconomic project is “progressive”?

        Must be some strange new definition of the word progress that I wasn’t previously aware of

      • Interesting comment Renai, what was so great about the Brumby ‘technology policy” I missed it totally?

        • OK, so yes, they screwed up myki something shocking. But the Brumby government has been successful in attracting a stack of foreign companies to set up shop in Victoria (big IBM facilities, big CSC facilities, Infosys, Satyam before the crisis) and so on. iPads have been rolled out to schools and hospitals in trials, the state is ahead on the e-health front and so on.

          Working as a tech reporter, this year I have received a press release from the Brumby Government almost every week about some new tech initiative or other, whether it be big business or focused on startups.

          In comparison, NSW, Qld and Western Australia don’t even have technology ministers really, and they certainly don’t appear to care about the local tech sectors at all. SA and Tasmania are a little better … but not that much better.

          Sure, I know Victoria’s Labor government wasn’t great in a lot of ways … but you should try living in NSW when it comes to tech policy. There isn’t one.

          • Renai, as you know I worked for the NSW Government on some of this area and one of the things notable about the Vics was they were extremely good at making announcements.

            I don’t think they were actually any better than any of the other state government, they were just better at telling the media about them.

            The real problem we have is both the major parties and the bureaucrats at all levels of government are largely clueless about how the world economy is changing and I don’t see it changing while the Chinese economic miracle goes on.

            On topic, the Vic government’s decision is going to bite a lot of people who choose not to get the NBN connected because they’ve believed the propaganda that it’s going to ruin their front yard, cost $14,000 to connect and they won’t use it anyway because 6G networks will deliver 1Gb/s in 2025.

            Those folk will find themselves with their own little stranded islands assets when Telstra start winding down the copper network in a few years time. Hopefully their property prices will hold up.

          • I agree with that Paul, the Brumby Government was good with the spin, chuck a few IPad’s around, at least it looks as if something is happening, whether in the end it is a actual benefit to productivity or education is another matter, it’s all about smoke & mirrors in politics.

            I take issue with your comment about the NBN connection and property prices though, because people in this discussion are ignoring the fact that many homes don’t need a fixed line connection, they don’t need it in 2010 and they still won’t need it when the NBN rolls down their street.

            They also don’t necessarily need HFC cable in their street also, it’s in my street and I’m not connected because I don’t need it, just like 98% of the residences have not got a connection.

            To say that a NBN connection will affect property prices is fanciful in the extreme, because it assumes all prospective buyers need the NBN, in the same way you could make the fanciful assumption that a existing HFC connection also affects property prices

          • Actually Alain, not having access to broadband does affect property prices. I know of plenty of people who haven’t proceeded with a purchase or a rental when they’ve found the estate or development is on a RIM.

            Right now, there’s enough people who don’t care not to make that effect noticeable, but as fast and reliable broadband becomes important to most people you’ll see the cost of connections become factored into premises that aren’t on the network.

            It’s the same as mains electricity or made roads. This time last Century a lot of people didn’t need or care for those either but today you’d factor the fact a property was on a dirt road and off the grid into your purchase price.

            The worry I have is that people will refuse the connection based on the propaganda they hear and later find themselves stranded when the copper network is shut down.

          • We can argue around and around with anecdotal examples supporting both sides of the argument all day, suffice to say until someone like the Real Estate Institute comes up with firm survey based evidence that a high speed fixed line communications connection is a significant factor statistically as decision making motivation on rental or purchasing it’s all just armchair theory.

            You also worry about people not being connected because of anti-NBN propaganda , you should also worry about people getting connected when they actually don’t need it because of pro-NBN propaganda, if you really want to be totally objective in your view point.

            The opt-in policy forces people to think ‘Do I really need this?”

            Conroy doesn’t want that kind of individual objective analysis, he prefers the ‘we know what’s best for you’ policy.

          • I’ve seen it, very clearly.

            Particularly in commercial properties. If a site cannot be serviced by even 2Mbps/2Mbps SHDSL, they are a lot harder to lease.

            This is not anecdotal – I have seen it many times.

          • We are not talking ‘commercial properties’ where a high speed business connection with full redundancy provisions and a commercial contract with your Telco of choice is required in the context of this discussion about opt-in or opt-out policies for the NBN at the individual residence level.

    • They do have a clue, they booted the Brumby Labor Government out, remember Brumby offered the opt-out model as part of the Labor election platform, obviously the electorate have spoken and have decided to ‘opt out’ Brumby at the same time!

      Surely even with a ‘opt-in’ proposal the NBN will be a success won’t it? – it will sell itself, end users know what’s good for them but then again the may see a very expensive turkey when they see one also!


        • Really? I will say it again slowly, Brumby went into the last election with an announced opt-out policy on the NBN, the Brumby Government lost the election, now you can say that’s not why Brumby and Labor lost which is fair enough comment, but keep in mind it was announced Labor election policy.
          I am sure if Labor won everybody would be gleefully expounding how it was support for NBN opt-out wouldn’t they?

          The second point is that NBN is promoted as the technical marvel that will take Australia forward into the digital age, without it our economy is doomed, if it is so great it doesn’t need a opt-out policy at all, it should sell itself on its technical merits.

          But of course everybody knows the only way the NBN will be ’embraced’ by the populace at large is when the two biggest Telco’s in Australia Telstra and SingTel are given taxpayer billions so their customers are forcibly migrated across, and Telstra in effect is ‘persuaded’ to turn off the power in the exchanges.

          It’s called the ‘no option’ policy.

          • That Comment is moronic

            it’s like saying well the ballieu offered a bucket load of projects to the marginal seats, and brumby offered free high quality health care.

            and when ballieu wins, Oh it must mean that people don’t want free high quality health care

            Victoria Didn’t say no to Brumby’s Opt-out. Geelong and the other marginal seats said yes to ballieu’s election promises which were basically heres a bucket load of cash go nuts.

            The elcection is pointless for 80% of the state since the only seats the pollies care about are the ones that could swing which means that only 20% of the state is every actually given a half decent election promise. My electorate has the current primeminister sitting in it, and she or the local state labor official have done anything to benefit my electorate in the past 10 years

            hell even out shire’s council’s division’s are broken seeing as melton is broken into about 5 area’s while a single area cover’s the whole of caroline springs. with about 2 candidates in it’s electorate , and about 20 in each of those covering melton. so they landslide the mayor’s position for another 3 years. Rejected a major shopping centre expansion in melton, so they could upgrade the caroline spring’s library which was built only a few years back while the melton library has been sitting around screaming for an upgrade since before i was born.

            The way democracy works is inherently broken because there is no fairness in everyone’s vote unless you take the whole country as a single electorate, as opposed to dividing it up

          • You missed the point entirely or deliberately avoided it and then went on a off topic rant about politics in general ( I hope you feel better now you have got that off your chest).

            The point was I was making is that Labor went into the election with a NBN opt-out policy, they lost the election, if they won the election many posters in mainly pro-NBN slanted discussions like this would use it as proof of support of the policy, but the reverse of that is not allowed, that’s all.

      • An opt-in model significantly increases the cost of the NBN in total. This means it will cost the taxpayer much more. I think any state which doesn’t mandate opt-out should be severed from the NBN. Lets see how long local businesses last when their interstate competitors are basically subsidised.

        Even with opt-out it’s still ‘optional’, it just means that people who don’t need it yet, have it connected while there are works in the street anyway, saving significant money for when they eventually decide that they do need it. The alternative is to sting them for the connection down the track, when a special effort needs to be made to connect ‘just them’ in their area, which of course would make it less popular, and decrease take up, and so profit.

        There’s no real downside to having a connection, but you’re reducing the value of your property by not having one connected. Apathy shouldn’t be a reason for making a moronic decision, you should have to at least consciously think about devaluing your property by refusing the connection.

  1. I’m still not 100% convinced on the implementation of the NBN but one thing is for sure, it must be OPT-OUT if it’s going to have any chance working. What happens when I buy(or rent) a new property and the previous owner decided not to connect to the NBN? How much will it cost me to connect?

    There are reasons to question validity of the NBN but making it opt-in is guaranteed to make a mess of things. There will be no alternative so by opting out of a FREE connection you’re cutting off your nose to spite your face i.e. You’ll have no landline because no one’s going to force you to have the NBN.

    • Yup, also people don’t actively sign up for things they may not use at the present time as a lot of people will be sitting on the fence unsure of what they want to do. while those who actively do not want an NBN connection at home get the choice

      It should be optional to refuse not to allow.

      It’s like my current internet plan, im not currently seeking an upgrade because i have enough quota as it is, but if my provider wish to provide me with a better deal without telling me(which they did give me a reasonable data increase) im not gonna tell em to go jump. but at the same time i would have seen it as too much of a hassle to go and upgrade to something i might not actually use

    • Why don’t you check first? If you can’t see a big ugly cable sticking out of the property then don’t rent there!

      Bottom line is if the NBN was so incredibly useful and everyone actually wanted it they’d be queing up to sign on the dotted line.

      The fact they must consider forcing it down everyone’s throats just shows how unnecessary it is…

      • if youve been paying attention Scotty, the 3 mainland NBN sites had signup rates far and away ahead of the Tassie rates – which Ballieu the f’n liar used as the basis for ‘low takeup rates’. Willinunga – 84% sign up. Kiama – 75%. another site was 60-odd percent – cant find my reference for it atm but it was well over 50%.

        Second AFAIK its not a big ugly cable like HFC is – have a look at the wires hung ready to be plugged into the ONT in the ARN “on the ground’ series. you might also take the opportunity to check out exactly how the ‘fly by night’ mob are doing it – anything but, given the contractors doing the gruntwork are Telstra, Leighton Networks and so on (there are a few install contractors in use by NBNco atm as i understand it).

        and quite how a project that makes over the govt bond rate – i.e. *making* money not losing it – is uneconomic is a puzzle to me. BTW not everyone is as free as a bird as you and some actually – shock horror, the luddites! – want a wired service not a mobile phone. not everyone wants to live the way you do so stop trying to claim that your experience is valid for their circumstances… “just use a mobile, i havent for a decade” know what, i have too and it isnt the be-all and end-all youve made out it is, mainly due to congestion. i want a landline back and id like it to be NBN based, ive had it with wireless. If you are a homeowner with a home alarm system you certainly cant ‘just go mobile’ either.

        As a renter tho i am at the mercy of what houses are available at whatever given time it is when it comes to moves, and will be doubly so again at the mercy of a landlord that has chosen to ‘opt in’ and actually have the drop done – for free. even if THEY are never going to use it, i certainly will. it will be a key criteria for any future rental unless im truly SOL and such a residence is the only one i can access.

        if enough landlords are stupid and lazy and dont take the free drop and dont pay for an install down the track there will be a fresh digital divide created with optin: between those who have been fortunate enough to have a bright landlord and those who have the copper turned off and no replacement installed for want of some nous from the owner.

        Ballieu just made a spectacular wrong move for his constituents making sure many will be slugged later on down the track, if they are unaware of the future of copper, or if they refuse the free install. For all your concern about wasting money, Ballieu has just ensured exactly that will happen.

        • You are worried about nothing , if it’s FREE landlords will take it – thank you very much.

    • About $1500. Not much if your buying a property. If your renting rent somewhere that is connected to the NBN or use wireless. No problem.

      • noel/alain i HAVE been using wireless and im jack of it. please dont suggest ‘just move or use wireless’ as they are not practical suggestions. when you move from a rental you are at the mercy of what is available – if you get booted at the same time uni students are all snapping up whatever they can get it can be quite difficult to find a place you want to live at rather than a place that simply is the only option on offer. if i had to move from a place that did not have NBN theres no guarantee any of the other available places will have a connection until the whole thing is built – 8 years from now and id expect two moves in that time. wireless congestion and speeds are no longer practical for me to consider using it for anything more than adhoc connections when needed.

        it IS a problem particularly when you have a landlord that is so tightfisted they wont spend on their property (yes they do exist; ive had to deal with them before) and if they misunderstand what the NBN offers and say ‘nope’ or simply dont respond to the opt in communication you get left high and dry – there *will* be examples of this under opt in. it doesnt matter that it is ‘free’ if the landlord is a tool.

  2. I wonder what is going to happen when the copper is turned off and your not on fibre? No more landline for you good sir.

  3. Might as well go wireless. Why go through the pain of having to replace your existing phones and modems and internal cabling. Why watch your front garden get dug up and your house get drilled and cut up. Why put up with ugly conduit everywhere if they even bother to use it. Having the backup battery will be a cost that will be sure to be pushed onto the consumer eventually. If the backup battery fails during a power failure (Murphys Law) you would need mobile anyhow. Having only one fixed network means there is no redundancy. Great target for hackers, terrorists and industrial espionage. Means an outage could bring the whole of Australia to a standstill.

      • Well said Michael!

        Where is the current redundant network that you are talking about Noel? If any of Telstra’s fibre-optic cables are cut then a large portion of the Telstra network goes down, along with mobile phone towers running backhaul on those links as well as competing carriers using Telstra’s backhaul.

        Also, what internal cabling are you talking about? Maybe an Ethernet cable from the Optic-fibre modem to an inside socket, but that is no different to the current setup, whereby you have a phone cable running from the termination box outside your house where Telstra’s copper line terminates.

        This could be simply replaced by using the internal phone cable as a ‘pull-through’, attach the Ethernet cable onto one end and draw it through the wall cavity.

        Really it is people like you Noel that spread negative information around the net and you clearly have no idea about what you are talking about. I have broadband internet all throughout my house and I don’t have a single cable in any room, nor have I had to pay an installer to install cables throughout my home as you suggest. Rather I have Wi-Fi broadband thanks to my Linksys Wi-Fi router in which my ADSL2+ modem connects to.

        No one is going to have to get their homes re-wired in order to use the NBN, apart from replacing the internal phone cable with an Ethernet cable… that’s it!

        I’m sure that there is an anti-NBN website out there somewhere willing to listen to your incorrect and biased information on the NBN, whether it be true or not. I suggest that you find that website and post to your heart’s delight, but you incorrect posts are not appreciated here.

    • Great! A conspiracy theorist on Delimiter… I thought they only hung out over at iTWire.

  4. Poor Victorians! What a knob-head Baillieu must be. But who do you vote for these days, dumb or dumber…. in this case it would appear as though dumber won.

    The NBN is happening and guess what people, you are going to have to get on board at some point and it might as well be straight away. Telstra will be closing down their copper network ASAP, for it is costing them a significant amount of money to maintain it just to keep it operational. Telstra are extremely happy to do away with the copper network, that is one less piece of infrastructure that they need to pump money into in terms of maintenance.

    Honestly, there should be some type of scheme that if you sign-up to the NBN prior to, or at the time the NBN is rolling out in your neighbourhood, then you don’t pay for installation. However, if you sign-up afterwards you should be slugged the entire installation amount, including the fibre-optic lead-in cable from the street to your house. If that doesn’t encourage people to sign-up to the NBN then they must either be fools, made of money, or believe that Telstra will continue to operate their copper network into the indefinite future (which they are not).

    • ‘However, if you sign-up afterwards you should be slugged the entire installation amount, including the fibre-optic lead-in cable from the street to your house’

      The problem with that is the next person who comes along gets slugged for the previous owners ignorance.

      • If the NBN is that important to you then don’t buy a place that isn’t connected.

        I’d prefer a place that hasn’t been torn up by fly by night installers working for the lowest bidder

    • Telstra shareholders would be happier to upgrade their copper network to fiber at no cost to the taxpayer. Perhaps you haven’t seen their share price.

  5. Opt-in, opt-out whatever at the end of the day it wont make much difference to the end users but it will for NBNco, more paperwork, wasted time & monies this is exactly what the coalition wants.

    • Of course it’ll make a different to the end users. If you don’t opt-in then you have to pay when you finally decide you wanted it to be connected after all (like when the copper is turned off). If you opted-in to begin with (or it was an opt-out model and you didn’t opt-out) then the connection would be free.

      But does the quote “It ought to be optional” actually mean he wants opt-IN? Even with an opt-out model, it’s still “optional”… what does he think the “opt” in “opt-out” means?

    • Indeed, the NBN decision was political when the original Labor FTTN/FTTH tender turned into a farce and Labor needed a quick political face saver.

  6. So far this man has proven himself to be a great visionary.
    The only problem is, his vision is from the 1850’s.
    Yay for rolling back all the green initiatives! Yay for more coal!
    Yay for anti-NBN sentiment.
    What’s next? Replacing Citylink with steam trains? Choo! Choo!

    I suppose it’s Abbott telling them to toe the party line though, sigh.

  7. The only ones complaing are the noobs desperated for the NBN.
    You should be allowed to have a choice and not have something that is actually a nonessential service shoved down your throat.

    • So what happens when the copper becomes inactive midcoast?
      The NBN is not just Internet and Movies… it’ll also carry all phone type services as well..
      Currently phone service is viewed as an essential service, I expect when the copper stops working (ie is ripped out) that’ll still be the case!
      Is it only at that point that the NBN becomes an essential service to you?
      If so, you’re as much an idiot as Baillieu.

      • When the copper gets switched off you use your mobile – I haven’t had a landline for nearly a decade.

        But it should be a *choice* – if the NBN was compelling people would be rushing to sign up. The fact they aren’t says a lot about the wisdom of wasting tens of billions on home broadband (businesses, schools, hospitals etc already have access to gigabit fibre if they want it) and re-establishing a 1970’s government monopoly

        • Honestly who said anything about not having a choice. Opt in – Opt out the choice is still there! People are generally apathetic, therefore the Opt-out model is far more efficient.

        • Opt out forces you to have it in the same way that opt in prevents you from ever having it…


        • Out-out IS a choice Scotty. Obviously since you have trouble understanding the basic concept I will explain it to you.

          You see the word “Opt Out” is made up of 2 words.
          “Optional” which in this instance implies that there is a “choice” one way or the other.
          and the word “Out” which implies that, where no choice is made (take note: the word “Choice”) the default action is to install the NBN.
          Therefore, there is a choice, and due to most people being too lazy to send in forms, the default one is to install the equipment, to avoid having to pay a fee at a later date (should they wish to use NBN services, like cable TV, internet, fixed-line telephony, video on demand etc.).
          I don’t see how this is “not a choice” or “having technology rammed down your throat”, I believe this is exactly what you wanted, an Optional system! It is merely taking advantage of the fact that *people who don’t care (IE have no opinion for OR against) will have it installed. Those with an opinion against can choose to pay the higher cost later. Surely this is as much of a choice as the alternative (Opt-In) system.

          Was that explanation of the system suitably simple for you to understand?
          Or are you just intentionally lying? If you are intentionally lying / intentionally arguing a different point to spread FUD then perhaps you should mark all instances of outright lies.
          I propose in cases where when you are commenting on topics like Opt-in vs Opt out, you say things like: “People should have a choice”, with a disclaimer: “This comment is intentionally misleading” or some such, so that I need not reply.

          • It’s really no point going over this anymore. You have explained it as clearly as you need to. Some people are just being willfully ignorant, or need to repeat school. I have no problem with people opposing the deployment from an ideological position that the Govt. shouldn’t be the one funding the operation, but honestly some of the anti-NBN commentors online are just morons.

  8. midcoast
    You may be right, however, if the Telstra agreement is signed, then EVERY SINGLE Telstra copper customer will be migrated – forcibly at the request of Telstra.
    This means anyone using a copper phone line whether it’s billed by Optus, iinet or Dodo.

        • The wireless component of the NBN is actually FIXED wireless, not mobile…wireless is also a highly latent, shared medium, that will be more expensive to upgrade over time than a fibre network.

          Also, nobody is stopping anyone from buying a wireless dongle for their laptops. Nobody is forcing anyone to use the NBN.

          The opt-in/opt-out debate is about stringing the cable to the door, whether you ever choose to use it or not.

      • Why is it on a tech blog you seem to think there are only 2 communication choices – copper/NBN?

        Ever heard of mobiles? Lots of people dumped their landlines a long time ago

        • Booming wireless broadband is the elephant in the room, Optus and Telstra know where their SIO’s and high ARPU’s $$ are coming from, and it isn’t fixed line BB and fixed line telephony.

          The taxpayer will have to prop up the NBN turkey for generations to come.

          • Yep, the elephant in the room because it is completely incapable of providing high bandwidth low latency applications. It has been shoved into the debate by people with no knowledge about what it is the NBN is going to do. It is going to provide **equitable** access to high speed Bi-directional network infrastructure capable of providing speeds BEYOND 1 gigabit/second into the future.

            I believe with current technology (taken to extremes) fibre can provide in excess of 40 terabits per second. (I believe this is using a single fibre strand)
            With current technology taken to extremes copper can achieve speeds of about 300megabits per second. * distances less than 300 meters, ** using multiple “pairs” of copper. – ie multiple wires.
            With current technology taken to extremes wireless can achieve speeds of about 1gigabit per second. * distances less than 30 meters ** assuming ideal radio conditions *** only to a single user within range of the base station.

            thats 40,000,000 megabits (1 fibre) vs 300 megabits (2 copper) vs 1000 megabits (less than 30 meters).
            Dunno about you, but even if current technology gets affordable (because all of the above are NOT affordable) I’d rather invest in the technology that didn’t require a wireless base station every 60 meters in order to achieve the kinds of Information transmission speeds I envision being the requirement of daily life in the future.

            But it gets better all the time I hear you shout!
            Pity that every advancement made to increase the effectiveness of 1 technology, is often applicable to every other. If you have a new method of encoding data so that losses are less of an issue on copper, allowing you to run copper further? well, you can apply the same thing to fibre, and to a lesser extent to wireless. (Why lesser? because many of these techniques use extra wires, and in terms of wireless the whole world is – in effect – 1 wire, unless you have a secret universe stashed away we only get 1 to play with, so when wired technologies use 2 wires to do something, it is often not applicable to wireless, or in a best case scenario we are already limited to a certain “spectrum” of the wireless which within the wire there is no spectrum sharing, we are allowed to use the whole spectrum of a wire in wire-based technology.)

            Wireless is an **additional** technology, it is not a replacement.
            3g is already incapable of replacing my telephone. Right now using my telephone I get 20 megabits per second, I am really lucky. Sure the noise I make on the copper is incomprehensible to a human, but its my telephone that I am using. I do wish the rate that I could send data down the telephone was faster, so I could backup my photos, do my work (which involves a bit of video editing) from home, or perhaps use my computer at home *from work* to do some encoding work while no one else is home.

          • Personally the more I learn about the options, it seems we should build a publicly funded FTTH, or nothing, and let the market sort out supply. Anything else seems like good money for bad.

          • The point about wireless is not comparing it with fixed line BB on a straight up technical basis with download/upload/ latency/tower contention etc etc figures, I know fixed line BB of all types not just FTTH wins hand down, that’s not the point about its booming popularity.

            The increasingly popularity of wireless is driven by the end products, Smartphones standard mobiles, Ipads, IPods, Netbooks, Laptops, E-Books etc.

            The software development and the app game is all about Apple iOS 4, Android, Symbian, Blackberry OS and Windows Phone 7, that’s where the smart money is and is being made.

            On the hardware side the mainly Chinese manufactures cannot keep up with demand, it is insatiable, have a look at the Optus and Telstra financial reports, look at wireless revenue and the trend relative to fixed line revenue and its trend.

            This is the market trend that puts NBN connections on a triple bypass.

            That’s what I mean about the ‘elephant in the room’ that the NBN rollout due to be completed around 2018-2020 is facing.

          • smart phones are ‘booming’ because everyone has a PC at home and at work and now they want something on the go as well.

            You might have 1 or 2 PCs at home but 6 people using them.

            So you end up having 6 smart phones in the house which ends up making it look like the mobile market is booming, but it isn’t……

          • So what makes you think ISP’s won’t absorb the initial cost of the $300 installation fee like they do now with installation fees on current ADSL and HFC connections as long as you take out a longish term contract?

            All the scare mongering about the cost of getting a NBN connection post the so called ‘freebie time’ may be a virtual storm in a teacup, to all intents and purposes it could be ‘free’ anyway.

  9. I want fast broadband as much as the next person.

    If the NBN is the way to go, no one will opt-out or every one will opt-in, so it shouldn’t matter. No?

    Telstra don’t want to support their copper anymore because they are getting paid handsomely to rip it out.


    • Do you have any elderly relatives? I know most of mine will not bother to opt in. They also wouldn’t bother to opt out either. If it’s opt in and they do nothing, when their house gets sold, the next tenant has to pay for the connection.

    • Telstra proposed to upgrade their copper network to fibre a number of years ago but the ACCC refused to offer any guidelines on regulation and the Howard Government failed to intervene. If Graham Samuel had an ounce of initiative we would have an NBN now and not in 8 or 10 years time.

  10. What an absolute idiot!

    When the Copper gets ripped out and people have to pay to have fibre connected, I hope they all remember this day and who the fool was who made this decision!

  11. Obviously, it’s just more Liberal tripe to delay/destroy the NBN. I wonder if the Liberals are informing people that it will cost the household to get it installed at a later date after the roll-out has gone passed their neighborhood. Increasing not only personal costs but wasted time and effort for the cablers to have to come back to a street they’re already visited. Of course, they also won’t be informing people that if they don’t opt-in now then they will lose their fixed line access when Telstra decides to stop supporting the CAN.

    So I hope everyone who doesn’t want the NBN can live off mobile only for voice and data. Kiss your fixed line services goodbye chumps.

    • rubbish – if the NBN was so desired everyone would be queing up to get connected.

      And if the NBN stacked up economically it wouldn’t need to legally compel the population to become its customers!

      • I think you miss the point completely. If people don’t want to opt-in, fine. I just hope they realise the consequences of their decision. The Liberals are not providing enough information about said consequences. It’s a cost that will be placed on the household at a later date if they chose not to have the NBN ONT installed initially.

        Getting an ONT (where the optic fibre terminates before going into private residences) installed does not magically give you retail internet and voice services. Just like having copper at a new house doesn’t give you immediate phone or internet access. You then have to contact a retailer to get the services switched on.

        All the Liberals are doing here is making the NBN more costly to rollout by increasing deployment costs for the installers and private residences. Which is their aim, anything to increase negative propaganda. Even if they are the cause, they can point fingers and say “Look look, OMG white elephant!”.

        • They don’t get the NBN connected because they don’t need it, they disconnected from Telstra copper 5 years ago – the concept is really quite straightforward.

          There are no ‘consequences’.

          • Again, you are still missing the point. In your scenario, the household has disconnected retail services from the CAN. The copper is still there connected to the house. By law, Telstra must provide copper to the house, or sufficient mobile services to meet the USO.

            The NBN is looking to replace the CAN, not force people onto certain retail services. How hard is this to understand? The consequences of someone chosing not to get the ONT installed fall to the future owners/renters of the premise. It’s a cost someone has to wear, this is the point.

          • I understand the copper physically is still there but the NBN rollout is facing a totally different market than when the PMG telephone system was laid out with a fixed line copper based PSTN infrastructure.

            The capped mobile plan with or with or without data is the sole choice in many residences, opt-in on the NBN will mean many residences will say no thanks my communications needs are covered.

          • But I pay for it anyway eh? – many have stated that not having a connection under the opt in principle will cost more later, but if a residence decides not to have it it would be less cost for the initial rollout overall, what’s wrong with saving taxpayer money?

          • I know of 1 single person that doesn’t have fixed line internet access.

            Everyone else I know, first thing they do is hookup ADSL internet access.

            Hell, I’ve had to give advice more than once about internet access speeds for people moving in to new homes. It really saddens me when I tell people that their internet access is a choice between spotty 3g signal, and “maybe” 6 megabits of adsl… if there are ports … if they are lucky. Why can’t we fix this?

        • I’d be in favour of opting out of medicare. I’m more than happy to pay my own medical costs if the tax office cease charging me the medicare levy. Likewise let those who want the NBN pay for it.

          • You would be at home in the US. Would you like to opt out of your share of road funding too? Education which trains the doctors who treat you even if you pay at the point of use from your own resources.

  12. Does NBN even need my permission to replace the copper line to my house that is owned by Telstra?

    If Telstra where replacing it would they need permission? or would they just do it as they own the line?

    • They both need your permission to enter your property (assuming the NBN is opt-in).

      Of course copper can be switched off from the exchange, so no need to enter your property.

  13. What a foolish luddite the new Victorian Premier is. Optional and Opt Out are the same thing. Except that it requires effort to say no as opposed to the other way around. Of course, this way he gets to not only play spoiler to the Federal ALP but also slugs every single Victorian who buys or rents from someone too lazy to put up their hand. Amazing.

  14. Who cares if it is opt-in or not, the NBN will stand on its own technical merits and occupiers of residences will be out in the street welcoming this new ‘digital age’ embracing the installation techs with gleeful shouts of “me first me first” with cups of coffee and cakes.

    Just like they did with Telstra and the Optus HFC rollout – hmm then again perhaps not.

    • Given the network is being built. (this is not the issue at hand – I understand you are anti government-funded NBN, I get that its cool thats your opinion).

      Would you support a policy that lets you OPT-OUT of a possible future charge.
      Would you support a policy that lets you OPT-IN to a possible future charge.

      If you were the premier of a state, with the interests of your constituents at heart (and not the interests of your political opinions on a project you CANNOT STOP). Would you support the one that potentially charges your constituents? or the one that potentially saves them from having to pay money.

      Please choose, I am seriously interested about what you think is in your constituents favor.

      • I support the opt-in policy because it forces the owner of a residence to think about their communication needs and if Conroy and the NBN Co have done their education program correctly and I don’t mean using scare tactics the overwhelming majority will sign up under opt-in anyway.

        The tacit underpinning of the opt-out policy is that doing nothing is a ignorance is bliss approach, that is residences that are totally mobile either for telephony and or data will get connected anyway (hey it’s ‘free’ remember) and have a expensive NBN box and connection sitting in their house doing sweet nothing year after year.

  15. You know, one simple way that this ridiculous situation could be solved is to change the name. Instead of the “National Broadband Network”, call it the “National Telecommunications Network” or NTN. All of us who understand the issues will realise that the underlying technology is packet based, runs on fibre and has a vast number of opportunities for the future. However, the Luddites who appear to make up a large part of the population, and who “want nothing to do with this new fangled, overpriced, overhyped Internet technology” (sic) will suddenly understand that it actually is just a replacement for the existing copper technology, and “hey, what’s not to like?” Later on when they suddenly realise that everything, essentially, “looks the same”, (except their phone bills are considerably cheaper!) they’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

    The problem is that this aspect hasn’t been sold at all well. “Broadband” equals “Internet” to many people – and “why do I need fast Internet…..”. You really could weep with despair and frustration when you read the drivel and garbage from people like Noel Phillips.

  16. All these people saying, “Use a mobile.” Right. And have you ever expeienced the congestion during an emergency? Major holiday period? Lived OUTSIDE a major metro area? I am guessing no, and are likely ignorant of the issues that the mobile option faces.

    As for the Vic govt’s comment of “It should be optional”it just goes to show how dumb they actually are. You all shoulda voted far more independants in.

      • Read above, having the ONT installed initially does not force you onto the NBN. It just means the premise becomes NBN ready. You are free to not sign up any retail services if you so chose. Stay mobile only if you want.

        However, if you sell-up, or move to a new rental. Guess what, the ONT stays at the premise and the person buying the house or moving in (renting) does not have to get someone to come and do expensive once-off work. You see, installing the ONTs in one mass rollout for each street is far more cost effective. I still can’t see why the Liberals claim to be fiscally sound, yet if this NBN is going ahead (for better of for worse) then this is one way to reduce roll-out costs….go figure.

  17. Victoria will have the higest take up rate of any state so OPT-out is not needed here.

    • The problem is the pro-NBN pundits know that for the NBN to survive residences either need to be forced onto it or scared onto it -‘install now while we are in the street otherwise it’s gonna cost you heaps’.

      The Telstra and Optus HFC was a opt-in choice, and the majority didn’t bother, best not to have a repeat of that infrastructure turkey.

      What the opt-in choice forces people to do is to think about it, where as the opt-out choice means it is the default option of not thinking about it too hard and doing nothing.

      Conroy would obviously prefer end users not to think about it and do nothing.

      • given how apathetic the Australian public can be about governmental excreta shoved through the mailbox (and then completely energised once they realise they have to pay for something they could have had free, but “werent told” about) opt out really is the better choice in pure consumer/voter aggravation terms. there will be far less aggravation all around by going that route than there will down the track when people wake up to the realities of opt in.

        i think the Feds should seriously consider taking this decision off the states if at all possible and despite the distateful notion of mandating something, mandate opt out. if states are willing to use the optin optout choice as a proxy club to take to the NBN as Ballieu has it wont augur well for the network rollout as a whole.

  18. Ask your neighbour “what’s the NBN?”.

    Odds are they will either not know, or have very little knowledge about what that “en bee en” thing is.

    Now, imagine you’re a contractor laying fibre and you enquire with the home owner “may we dig a trench on your property to lay fibre?”. Most people *are* not going to put two-and-two together. Most will say “feck off!”.

    Only the informed few will actually invite the folks droping in fibre and the ONTs to do so.

    This is why the take up has been low. Labor has done an abysmal job ‘selling’ the NBN. Any advertising that *is* in place, is woefully short on telling people just what ‘it’ is. Like the matrix, it seems, you cannot be told what the NBN is, you have to see it for yourself.

    Compulsory deployment is obviously going to increase take up. Labor needs to stop obsessing over the Coalitions complete lack of future thinking and get on with the job. That includes informing people.

    • “We will end up with the dearest but fastest broadband in the world.”

      Will that still be the case after a few articles in the local paper and a couple of letterbox drops just as the NBN crews arrive?

  19. Shocking decision for abbott , his own state party has let him down, by showing Australians without nbn there wont be no telecommunication



  20. Well done to the victoria premier hew has gone against his own party and supporting the nbn by not having an opt out

    Tony abbott and malcom turnball only a matter of time til you conseed defeat over the nbn.
    The newly ofrmed liberal government is giving it a ticko

  21. Yes!! “Opt out” to become a political catch cry of the masses. Panacea for all ills. Opt out for euthanasia, organ donation, giving blood. Never heard such dribble. If everyone wants it, they get it. If they realise its wrong later, they pay for their mistake. As many others have said, the NBN will be the greatest thing since sliced bread so will not be an issue because everyone will want it.

    • Opt In to health care!
      Opt In to superannuation payments!

      I never agreed to paying superannuation, why should I have to commit 9% of my income to it!?

      Oh wait, its good? and it will save me money in the future? huh? but give me a CHOICE, if its SOOOOO good, then everyone will choose yes won’t they?? Why is Super payments optional!?!

      • Get real. You don’t pay the 9% contribution, your employer does. Its a tax on the employer. I would love to see the argument apply compulsory employee funded contributions.

  22. Those in favour of a Labor Government built NBN, I suggest you put your money where your mouth is and stop ripping off the Australian taxpayer.

    • where is the ripoff when the taxpayer gets the stake funds back, with interest? by definition you would have to have taken a loss to be ‘ripped off’?

    • Sign me up! As soon as I get a choice as to how my tax dollars are assigned to government expenditure. Quite frankly I’m sick of my tax dollars going towards private investors’ real-estate tax deductions, dole bludgers who have zero intention of working a day in their lives, etc etc.

      Oh wait, that’s not how the tax system works!

  23. Opt in states should be wired last. That might concentrate the pollies’ minds on this issue when the peasants revolt and take the opt out message to their leaders.

      • That’s assuming the ‘peasants’ are interested enough to revolt in the first place.

        Don’t confuse tech tyre kicker discussions on the NBN in geek orientated web sites like this as being anyway representative of the populace at large.

        • So you are saying when it becomes a political issue, people will not understand what is at stake? Vote for X and go to the back of the queue.

  24. The job of Baillieu is to do what is best for the people of Victoria – Just because he’s in the coalition, doesn’t mean he has to take the same political stance as the federal coalition party.
    This is one of the glaring problems with the current political structure in Australia – His job is at a state level but his decision is being driven by a federal level.
    My bet is if the roles at federal level where reversed, with the coalition in power and supporting the NBN, Baillieu would in fact be supporting the NBN and the opt-out process. (Dont forget that the NBN is actually the brain child of the Coalition when Howard was in power – if he hadnt lost the election the Labour party would currently be opposing it).
    Unfortunately the political parties just oppose each other – and they do so without thinking about the full consequences.
    PS – When the NBN is rolled past the offices of the Liberal parties, will they sign up for the 12MB or 100MB speeds – I’m willing to put my money on the 100MB option.

    • The NBN is not the brainchild of Howard, the brainchild of Howard and Coonan his Communications Minister was the OPEL proposal, the company headed up by Optus, which was a WiMax/fixed line proposal, supported with taxpayer funding.

      This is the election policy Howard went into the election of which the Rudd Labor Government won, Conroy then canceled the OPEL contract immediately.

  25. It’s about convenience. If it was opt-in Australia-wide, then NBNco would be required to letter-bomb all 8 million homes with “opt-in” forms. All 8 million house-holds would then have to fill in and mail those 8 million forms back again. NBNco would have to process those forms and sort out the list of premises to get the cable and those not to.

    If it was opt-out, NBNco would still have to letter-bomb people, but the number of people who would reply back to opt-out would be absolutely tiny, making the whole experience much more efficient for everybody.

    Imagine it takes 10 minutes to fill in the opt-in form, put it in an envelope and mail it back again. Multiply by 8 million homes and Australia will be spending twenty thousand man-YEARS just filling in the opt-in forms! Hooray for productivity!

  26. Many political commentators are forecasting a Federal Election in 2011. If the Coalition were to win then the NBN would be scrapped. In that respect the new Victoraian Leader has made the right decision.

  27. The human race is lazy…

    Opt-out = More efficient use of everyones time.

    WIth an opt-out model those who REALLY don’t want it won’t get it.

    With opt-in those who are to lazy/don’t care/don’t understand could possibly miss out and then scream bloody murder when the copper get’s disconnected.

    Also those speaking of “Oh look at the wireless broadband uptake! No-one want’s fixed line broadband! It’s dying off!!!” From what i understand Fixed line internet is not dropping off. Telstra is losing customers/revenue on fixed line.

    Also perhaps people are taking up wireless broadband services a lot more because their other options are limited. Such as no access to cable/ADSL.

    I would think that it would prove that more and more people want better fixed broadband.

    Now could anyone provide definitive that this is incorrect??

  28. So if the government isnt making it opt out, whats it going to do when Telstra turn off the copper and all these people now have to pay big bucks and get it connected? Will they subsidise these connections?

    • maybe then the state government can cover the cost of connecting those that didnt opt-in to the network. Thanks swing voters. When I see my 2 police at the train station I’ll be sure to say hello (might give them something to do).

  29. I don’t belive any subsidies should be paid.

    if your to lazy to read and fill in a simple form or to lazy to chase it up you deserve to pay whatever is required afterwards.

  30. Yeah that’s the best policy, punish those they don’t understand what’s good for them eh?

    If the Labor Government and the NBN Co do its job properly and educate the public on the benefits of the NBN it doesn’t matter if there is a opt-in policy or not because the education program has done it job, the majority will sign up anyway.

    Emotive terms like ‘ripping the copper out of the ground’ might be the best education program in the end though, if the sell and the hype on the benefits of NBN doesn’t work the good old fallback scare strategy always does.

  31. When will people realise that the B of the NBN is optional, but the telephone part is not? At lease have the tenants choose, not the owner!

    BTW is this Broken Election Promise Number 1? I want my vote back please Ted!

    In October, then-Shadow State ICT Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said a Victorian Liberal Government would work with the NBN and push to get the best deal from the initiative, and in April after the current NBN proposal was first launched, Baillieu expressed support for the initiative.

    “High-speed broadband, infrastructure and jobs are critical to Victoria’s future and we support the fast-tracking of infrastructure initiatives,” Baillieu said at the time.

    • The NBN in its current iteration will be to the nation what Myki was for Victoria. Why not mandate ftth for all greenfields, use the HFC plant everywhere else, and let market demand drive the rest of the developments; the obvious flaw is forcing people to have access that only reaches as far as your home’s wi-fi router (the choke point); what blatant idiocy. IMS is the next gen driving all commercial operators around the world, and here the knuckle heads are seriously poised to waste our taxes on a “solution” that has Zero mobility. Spend some of the money on providing a wireless element for Everyone as well; there are enough intelligent devices and business models out there to learn from. ….the nations Myki in the making…

      • Copper is dying. Quickly. Opt out should be standard. You don’t “opt in” to the new plastic sewer pipes when the clay ones are replaced. You are connected by default, and if you don’t want to then you can choose not to and you have no sewer or water. Why is this any different to an upgrade to the telephone network?

        Anyway, what has the NBN got to do with Myki? Most of the problem with Myki was the long delays and huge cost when compared to other VIABLE REPLACEMENT options. Note – wireless is NOT a viable replacement option, unless you put a tower on EVERY corner and then you still need fibre to backhaul them! Oh, and I don’t know about you but the thought of a mobile phone tower on every corner is frightening!

        Wireless is a SECONDARY / SUPPLEMENTAL technology. Should we completely remove the copper network and ALL live on mobiles too? Why should people have a home phone AND a mobile when you can’t take the home phone with you? Yes I know SOME people are doing that, but they are mostly single people, often (though not always) renting, and are avoiding the connection fees. How many families do you know with no home phone?

        The mobility is great for people as a secondary service – but try downloading 10Gb per month on it. This is fast becoming a “standard” usage plan. Geez my mother (pensioner!) has done 12Gb last month alone, mostly on youtube whilst her grandson visited. No he doesn’t sit and watch all day, but he likes trains and having them run in the background (on youtube) keeps him happy whilst he plays. It is also good that he is learning how to find them himself.

        I spent 2 days on HSPA whilst waiting for my ADSL to be connected after I recently moved. Being in a high rental area (St Kilda), wireless is swamped at the best of times and it was like being back on dialup, except that the websites back then were designed for customers on dialup! No flash, minimal pictures, fast loading. And I’m talking about trying to do internet banking (ubank has flash on the front page!). Nigh impossible on wireless.

        • That’s all very good but what has your lengthy rant about wireless got to do with the Vic Government decision on opt-in?

    • The opt-in policy doesn’t mean the Victorian Liberal Coalition do not support the NBN, it’s just they don’t support the principle of connecting everyone if you say nothing.

  32. “and let market demand drive the rest of the developments”

    The rest of us, who like to eat, are glad this policy was not followed for country roads.

    • Eating =IPTV , downloading movies and online gaming does it? – the comparisons become more ludicrous evryday.

  33. Goodness gracious me how long can this debate go on?

    One of two things can happen here. The NBN Co can, with the assistance of Telstra ducts and customers, successfully build the FTTP system.

    Two. The Heads of Agreement between Telstra and the NBN Co can fall over and Telstra will upgrade their network and compete with the NBN Co.

    I think for the sake of Ms Gillard, Senator Conroy and the Labor Government, and of course the NBN Co option number one would be the way to go.

  34. Mick, we morons should in all probability humbly acquiesce to you great command of the English language but to be honest would you not consider it fairer if people retained the status que (no NBN connection) until they authorise the NBN Co to connect it to their property?

    • Some people need legislative pressure to act in their own interests…like wearing seatbelts.

  35. @sydney lawrence. I will have a number 2, (telstra as is)
    Because quite frankly the Telstra turd sandwich looks pretty good now compared to the NBN.
    But they need to get someone it to run Telstra wth the balls to do what the shareholders and community actually want.
    This NBN is dead, it was dead a long time ago, the concept and design a silly last decade idea from a bunch of vendors desperate to sell fixed point cabling and switches.
    Quigley the messiah isnt long for this world, his inept if not corrupt past has caught up with him.
    Not even a good CTO past repeating some (vendor) prepared powerpoints, Certainly not a CEO.
    Gillard, Conroy, Kaiser, Beaufret, Accenture, IBM, Alcatel – the whole NBN smackes of teams of incompetent useless inept highly paid clowns, and spiv vendors inside or otside of it deliberately making a mess of it to be on IT welfare for the next decade or more.
    So there is nothing up or down the chain in leadership that saves the NBN. They are all useless, bad.
    The public has completely lost confidence in it, evidence is the press articles, tone, takeup, interest, the talk back, print media, and even the take up and retention.
    No one wants ‘as is’ fixed point voice/pc access for $600 a year and a NBN competing for debt, and electricity, and skills and funding, – Australia’s NBN has become the laughing stock of the world as it to makes a mess of the ‘NBN” experience – just like every other country – these NBN’s have failed everywhere when big govt and cartels of collusion and corruption as we see in our NBN then emerge.

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