Vic opt-out block no big deal, says NBN chief


NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley isn’t fazed by the Victorian Government’s decision to reject the ‘opt-out’ policy which would have seen every premise in the state receive fast broadband by default, noting today Australians could make their own decision to sign up to his company’s planned new network or not.

The decision of the new Coalition State Government — confirmed as policy in late December — runs contrary to the wishes of Federal Labor and even other State Liberal Parties such as the one in Tasmania, which have supported the notion that the NBN should be connected by default to every available premise.

Under the so-called ‘opt-out’ policy, residents would have to actively choose not to have the fibre or wireless infrastructure installed — although it wouldn’t force them to actually pay for broadband services from an ISP. Now Victorians will have to actively choose to receive the infrastructure to start with.

Asked today whether he was disappointed by the state’s decision, Quigley replied: “Not at all.” And, he said, he didn’t expect the opt-in policy would harm adoption in Victoria. “Frankly,” the NBN Co supremo added, “People will make their own decision about whether they want to take on a service or not.”

One factor which may spur adoption of the NBN is the gradual shutdown of Telstra’s copper network and HFC cable network for broadband services, which will leave many Victorians without broadband at all — unless they choose a wireless broadband services or sign up to the NBN.

“If we were to consummate the deal with Telstra — if that happens — as we know, progressively, over time, the copper network will be retired and will be replaced with a fibre network,” said Quigley today. “So, people will then have the option of, will they make that transition or not.”

Most of the other states have not formally taken a stance on whether they will support the opt-out approach backed by Federal Labor or not. But Quigley said he didn’t anticipate any operational difficulties for NBN Co if some did and some didn’t — resulting in what might be described as a patchwork effect.

“We had not anticipated that we have necessarily have a uniform environment in every state — we expected it to be different,” said Quigley. “We don’t expect it to cause any difficulties.” In fact, according to the NBN chief, one of his company’s greatest problems at the moment was actually fighting suitors off.

“We don’t expect the states in Australia to throw barriers up,” he said. “So far, what we’ve seen from most of the states is a keenness to get on and do the job. In fact, we’re lobbied very heavily by different shires all over the place, who want us to come there first.”

“That’s the biggest issue we’ve got at the moment — people want us to get there sooner,” he said.

Video credit: Delimiter


  1. Hang on, so the CEO of NBNco doesn’t see a problem with no ‘opt out’ legislation, and that he’s confident people will make their own choices?

    So why the buggery are we wasting taxpayer dollars (ie. governmental time and effort) trying to legislate it? Why was it even proposed in the first place?

    This is typical NBN spiel, no matter what is thrown up, Conroy or Quigley keep saying “She’ll be right mate”, even to the point that they sometimes contradict each other…

    • He isn’t worried because if they want the internet, they will have to get NBN…

      No duuuuuhhh

  2. asmodai

    It shows another abbott backflip and shows why the independents and other parties do not trust anything abbott says.

    Abbott himself admitted he is a liar

  3. For the health and sanity of all involved can we have the NBNCo., Telstra and the ACCC get together and tell us, the idiots who just happen to be paying for this plan, what agreement they have come to, thereby allowing Telstra owners to consider releasing Telstra facilities for transference for NBNCo. use.

    If this does not happen Telstra, and possibly Optus, must move to offer the Australian public an alternate NBN system and provide fierce competition to the NBNCo. and possibly a more acceptable offer to Australians with regard to charges and services.

    I think the Labor Government would be well advised to refrain from further consideration of the blackmail and threat of anti-competition and restrictive Legislation that has been used in an attempt to drive all competitors out of the NBN race.

  4. As a Telstra shareholder I want nothing to do with this blackmailing government, who should build the $4.7Bil fiber to the node, which was promised and millions of dollars wasted on. Then we might get true competition wth Optus and Telstra HFC networks that are not used due to the higher charges than ADSL2. The NBN will raise costs to either users or taxpayers. ( or both ).

    • “The NBN will raise costs to either users or taxpayers. (or both).”

      That is simply not true, already I am paying $95/m just for broadband services, then there is the $30/m for line rental taking me to $125/m just to get broadband (with a telephone service that I don’t even want, but have to have in order to get ADSL).

      I pay for an ADSL2+ service in which I only achieve 4Mbps! At the end of the day, not only is the NBN going to deliver cheaper services for someone like me, but they will also deliver speeds that I actually pay for.

      The NBN will also be able to deliver wired services to many residents in my town that are unable to get ADSL broadband because Telstra refuses to update the technology in that particular area. People in that area are forced to use costly wireless services, tolerate high latency and suffer from low data limits.

      The NBN is a winner in not only my book, but that of every other Australian that has been disadvantaged by the likes of Telstra and Optus who refused to address their problems of being unable to get ADSL services. Only now is there light at the end of the tunnel!

  5. When will people get it? The NBN is pure and simply a (desperately needed) technology upgrade – copper to fibre. I can’t believe that it is optional or that people wouldn’t want it.

    There should be no option at all. All copper lines should be removed entirely and replaced with fibre.

    • I totally agree Peter, but unfortunately the Victorian Liberal Party are too ignorant and stubborn for their own good, plus they are towing the National Liberal Party line.

      The Opt-out model is the best in my opinion, for there are a lot of ignorant people out there that wouldn’t know that they have to sign-up for this service on an opt-in model.

      The good thing is, at this stage, Telstra and the NBNCo have come to a preliminary agreement in which Telstra will decommission their copper network and will migrate all of their customers onto the NBN. At least Telstra are smart enough to see the writing on the wall, not only that they will be more then happy to accept the $11B (or whatever the actual payment is) to decommission a network that is costing them a great deal of money to continue to operate and with it’s imminent replacement required it is saving Telstra billions of dollars.

      It’s simple for all of those opponents to the NBN, just don’t get it, or opt-out whatever the case maybe. There will be more people that take-up the service that choose not to.

      For country Australia the NBN is the Holy Grail, it is the answer to Telstra’s lack of investment, their lack of interest and their lack of care. The NBN will provide a great deal to not only country Australians but to those living in our cities and that are in a similar situation to our country counter-parts.

    • I also agree 100%. I’ve been having copper problems to my house for the last 2 years whereby my internet will dropout and won’t reconnect! And when it does connect, it connects at below dialup speeds.

      Fibre is desperately needed in this country, too long has Telstra gotten away with no maintaining their network!

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