Tasmania plans to create laws that would put the onus on residents to "opt out" of receiving a fibre-to-the-premises connection under the Federal Government's National Broadband Network (NBN) plan.
Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett said his Government would introduce legislation to state parliament "as soon as possible."
To date, the Tasmanian NBN roll-out used the "opt-in" model used by NBN Co in other areas of Australia, where residents had to sign and return consent forms for a fibre connection into their house.
Bartlett said that system was used "because of legal issues about entering an owner's property, to connect optic fibre, without their active consent."
It had, however, produced a lukewarm response from some residents with NBN Co forced to extend the deadlines for the return of consent forms on at least one occasion.
Bartlett said that "more than half the householders and businesses in the first three towns" to get connected to the NBN had accepted a fibre connection.
"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," he said.
Switching to an "opt-out" model "will ensure all accessible homes and business are automatically connected, unless they actively decline," Bartlett said.
Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull criticised the plan "to make connection to the National Broadband Network effectively compulsory" on ABC Radio today.
He said it would mean "significant disruption with people's homes.
"Front gardens will be dug up, these network terminals, these electronic boxes, will be installed in people's houses. And then if they choose not to connect to the NBN before too long the copper network will be switched off and then they will have no choice but to use the NBN if they want to have a fixed line," Turnbull said.
"It shouldn't be imagined that this is going to be cost-free from a householder point of view," he said.
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Issue: 324 | February 2014
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