Vic govt opposes NBN opt-out

Vic govt opposes NBN opt-out

Summary: Victoria's new technology minister has confirmed the state's fledgling Coalition Government does not support the introduction of Labor's preferred 'opt-out' model for the National Broadband Network, in a move that will force residents to actively choose to receive fibre infrastructure when the rollout hits their neighbourhood.


Victoria's new technology minister has confirmed the state's fledgling Coalition Government does not support the introduction of Labor's preferred 'opt-out' model for the National Broadband Network, in a move that will force residents to actively choose to receive fibre infrastructure when the rollout hits their neighbourhood.

In early December, the state's new Premier, Ted Baillieu had given a strong indication he was against the opt-out model, saying it should be "optional" for premises to receive fibre. However, it has remained unclear if Bailieu's off-the-cuff comments represented Coalition policy, until now.

"The position of the government is that it does not support the introduction of 'opt-out' policy," said the state's new technology minister, Gordon Rich-Phillips, in an email interview this week, in which the politician also outlined the scope of his responsibilities concerning the state's technology sector.

Rich-Phillips didn't elaborate further on the Coalition's reasoning for the policy decision. However, he noted the State Government was in ongoing discussions with its Federal counterpart in relation to the NBN. For starters, the Minister noted, Victoria's Department of Business and Innovation has been in "regular contact" with both NBN Co and Stephen Conroy's Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy over many issues concerning the NBN rollout in Victoria.

"Discussions with the Federal Government are ongoing," said Rich-Phillips. "Current matters being discussed are around establishing the nerve centre and NBN Co's network operations centre in Melbourne."

The new Minister also noted he was looking forward to the next meeting of the Online and Communications Ministerial Council in the new year, where such issues would be discussed between Commonwealth and State technology and communications ministers.

The decision by the Victorian Government to block the NBN opt-out model will place the state at loggerheads with Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, for one, who has expressed a strong preference for the opt-out model.

In addition, it displays division within the Coalition itself about the issue. In Tasmania, the Labor State Government has legislated to support an opt-out model at the urging of the Opposition, with the state attempting to make the most of the technology rollout. Most of the other state governments are yet to take a formal policy decision on the matter; and NSW, for one, is currently in a state of flux as it prepares for an expected change of government to the Coalition early in 2011.

Victoria's choice will also likely force NBN Co into conducting a higher degree of education campaigns in the state, as it attempts to convince residents to opt-in to the fibre rollout. It has already started conducting such efforts in early stage rollout areas throughout mainland Australia.


In the interview, Rich-Phillips also outlined the boundaries of his role as technology minister. In some states, such as Queensland, the state ICT minister has overarching responsibility both for technology industry development as well as internal public sector use of technology.

However, Rich-Phillips made clear that he did not have any legislative responsibilities relating to internal government use of technology. In addition, he said, the minister overseeing the state's IT shared services agency CenITex was Finance Minister Robert Clark.

Especially compared with rival states such as NSW, the previous Labor Government was extremely active in developing the technology sector in Victoria, cementing partnerships with multinational giants like IBM and giving a boost to local companies as well through trade missions overseas and other initiatives.

Rich-Phillips pointed out it was the previous Coalition Government in the 1990s that had established the state's flagship ICT agency Multimedia Victoria and appointed its first Multimedia Minister. "We are proud of this and will continue the emphasis on the ICT sector and the innovative use of ICT across the Victorian Government and our economy," he said.

"Successive governments have supported the ICT sector and we will continue that push."

However, in one area at least, the new Coalition Government doesn't appear to be as keen on technology use as its Labor predecessor.

The previous Premier, John Brumby, had jumped wholesale on the Apple tablet bandwagon when it rolled into town in mid-2010, announcing a series of iPad trial rollouts to schools and hospitals and pledging during the election campaign that every doctor in a public hospital would receive one of the Apple devices if Labor was returned to power.

The Coalition, too, promised to investigate mobile technology during the election. But its pledges didn't quite extend as far as Labor's. Asked about the Coalition's approach, Rich-Phillips was non-committal.

"I am informed that the public sector does use iPads when it is deemed to be the most appropriate and effective technology to use," he said.

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, NBN

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • What a bloody, $40 -$50 billion, mess which started with a rational endeavour by Telstra to upgrade its copper network to sterling standards five years ago at a reasonable cost provided by Telstra shareholders.

    Our shifting telecommunications jungle was first orchestrated by trio Howard/Coonan/Samuel and made very costly and famous by the quartet Rudd/Gillard/Conroy/Samuel.

    Thanks to freedom-of-information laws kindly provided by Business Day, you can now read the inside story of its beginnings. What followed, we already know.
    Vasso Massonic
  • So... apart from the obvious facts not outlined in your linked URL/article, Mr Massonic...

    - the vesting of a multi-billion dollar golden goose to Telstra, with clear access laws...

    - the fact Telstra were offering to upgrade to ensure continuation of the last mile monopoly (yes they proposed FTTN, leaving the last mile entrenched).. IN URBAN AREAS, don't forget that, it wasn't nationwide. Later came OPEL to fill any void left by Telstra, in the bush. Yes, OPEL, which you and Telstra (via NWAT) derided and fought against daily. Maybe in hindsight you should have just let the "leeches" [sic] have the bush and Telstra the cream, with new monopoly, eh?

    - that Telstra were the ones who pulled out of FTTN negotiations (well before talks of an NBN) with the ACCC, when the ACCC said agreement was 98% completed...


    Sure, in politics there will obviously, always be political agendas hanging over an incumbent monopoly's head. But Sol and his team "dropped the ball"... which brings us to now (NBN/Telstra's separation) and a situation somewhat forced upon the current government.

    Why? Because Telstra later, submitted a non-compliant RFP to build the NBN (post your URL/articles info). Everything else prior to this juncture aside, why would Telstra do that?

    This was Telstra's opportunity to get everything they wanted, done fairly through a bidding process and they would have won, giving competitors no legal recourse!

    Can't you see how easy it would have been for Telstra, because the government (who, let's not forget at this time, were buddies with Sol and his amigos) wanted it "ASAP and Telstra could have done that"...all Telstra had to do was submit a bonafide/compliant RFP and it was as good as done...but Telstra reneged, making it 10x harder for the government and with no (proven/viable) option, but to go it alone...!

    So keeping all of this in mind, regardless of the inevitable politicking and the fact that Telstra will now have to resell alongside everyone else, without a monopoly advantage, do you still really believe Sol didn't err?

    Which do you think the leeches [sic] would prefer. A Telstra FTTN monopoly network or an NBN, reselling alongside a separated Telstra, without a monopoly advantage?

    So again I ask, do you really believe Sol didn't err?

    Funny too Mr Massonic, you being arguably Telstra's #1 supporter (along with Mr Lawrence) how "according to your linked URL", it was the Coalition (who you also vehemently support, tooth and nail) who put the boot into Telstra!
  • True to form RS, never let the facts get in the way of a good Telstra bash eh?

    1. The OPEL plan, it was canceled by Conroy and Rudd when they won the election from Howard because it was not Labor policy, nothing to do with 'Telstra fighting against it'.

    2. The Coalition FTTN , the other main contender the G9 consortium lead by Optus also lost out on the deal when the ACCC rejected their submission, it's best not to tell the full story when the agenda is to have a myopic Telstra bash.

    3. All submissions for the RFP for the Labor FTTN/FTTH build were rejected, not just Telstra, the Government had egg on their face big time so the taxpayer bankrolled NBN rabbit was pulled out of the hat.

    4. The NBN Co will be the sole wholesale fixed line monopoly, not only that the Labor Government can legislate to ensure fixed line competitors are eliminated, post NBN their will be no more competitor DSLAM's in Telstra exchanges and no more competitor ADSL2+ wholesalers like we have today.
  • RS why do you continually attempt to rewrite history. Sol came to Australia with the belief that the Australian BOS (Business Operating System) would be similar to that of the United States.

    Instead he found he could never question the orders of Government in any way shape or form. The Howard Government was only interested in flogging Telstra off with advice to Australians that this would be a top shelf investment and when Sol challenged this assertion the Government became hostile and the disparagement of Sol began.

    Enter Mr. Rudd who dreamed up the NBN which may,or may not prove to be a success but which did help him to be installed as P.M. Sol was treated to acts of racial discrimination which should shame all Australians and as Sol himself has said would not be acceptable in any other first world country. Let us consider the facts as they now are. All would agree that an optic fibre network is a great idea but so would be more hospitals and more help for the sick and poor.

    The NBN is a gigantic project and will tax the resources of every Australian and if the results are not as promised and the cost of delivery expands, it will be serious for the Labor Government at the next election. Every business in the industry should be extremely cautious of this NBN Government monopoly because as has been shown with the blackmail of Telstra the retail sector could easily be taken over by a Government who uses blackmail,regulation and threat to remove competitors.
  • Until such time as you are man enough to answer your contradictions advocate, as I have asked an answer to from you, now about two dozen times, please do not continue have the hide to reply directly to me, to with more anti-NBN/Telstra fanboi/NWAT/stakeholder driven BS/lies...

    Once you have answered, feel free to again come here for an education (which you will bluntly ignore anyway...LOL)... But for now, AGAIN, please read slowly and it may finally sink in...

    Ooh and for the record fanbois, telling facts isn't Telstra bashing, it's telling facts. If Telstra are not shown in a good light, DO NOT blame the messenger, thank you...

    1. Yes the OPEL was cancelled by the Rudd government, I never said it wasn't. So?

    If you had basic comprehension skills, you would understand that my comment was based on the fact that Sol's Telstra via NWAT and a number of their greedy little investors (investors, LOL) fought against it (go on say they didn't?) mercilessly, which of course had some sort of impact and again I simply say - "Maybe in hindsight they/you should have just let the "leeches" [sic] have the bush and Telstra the cream, with new monopoly, eh?

    2. Yes again, So?

    The point being Optus/G9/TERRiA, were a sham. They weren't interested in building a network but needed to keep the b*****ds honest by seeming so.

    Even Dr Phil said, if the G9 had have been given the go ahead "they would have been like the dog who caught the bus" and I agree with him 100% as did the likes of Mr. Massonic and Mr Lawrence at the time...! Ask these two gents, who oppose my views generally, what they reckon?

    Seriously... the difference between Optus not winning and Telstra not winning was monumental, because TELSTRA HAD A MONOPOLY PSTN TO LOSE AND THEY HAVE LOST IT (and will also be separated) OPTUS HAD NOTHING TO LOSE and everything to gain" - apologies for shouting but you need to understand this.

    AGAIN I ASK - Which do you think Telstra's competitors would prefer. A vertically integrated Telstra with new FTTN monopoly network or an NBN, reselling alongside a separated Telstra, without a monopoly advantage?

    Seriously, tell me they didn't blow - just say "Telstra didn't blow it" - go on, LOL!!!!!

    3. Yes again (gee I'm agreeable eh - you ought to try, even only once in your life)...
    You said, RFP! I see you finally referred to it by it's correct name - "well done" seems I am finally getting through to you after all!!!!

    But why can't you just admit, what everyone else knows (and stop playing stupid pedantic games) - that Telstra's was the only "non-compliant bid". This demonstrates how they blew it. The rest made the cut off, but Telstra didn't. Also it was a panel of experts, not the government who booted Telstra and inevitably rejected the others too...

    I stand by my claim that Telstra would have won...It was made for them, it was easier for the government and up until the non-compliant RFP, Sol and Rudd/Conroy were "buddies"!

    You keep claiming that I am somehow being sneaky, but it is you who is being dishonest for not coming out and saying (as I have) - YES, they were all rejected..."obviously"... but Telstra was booted after only 2 weeks, for non-compliance whereas the rest made it to the end, just agree, stop the BS, because this is true...!

    4. Please refer here to a comment made yesterday made by xfire (in reply to your FUD clone) -

    Now an explanation about those contradictions PLEASE (I even asked nicely - I just would like to know how those completely opposite claims and as such YOU, can ever be taken seriously).

    If they weren't blatant lies, please be decent enough to explain. Or just admit to being underhandedly despicable (which by continually avoiding, you are pretty well doing anyway)!

    Better still,.. just deny that you said one thing then the complete opposite (more than once too) to promote your FUD"! Because the threads where you did this have come and gone and will be impossible to find, so...

    Let's face it, you have never let contradictory lies stand in the way of your own "wallet driven" agenda previously, anyway, so just lie again and say "I didn't say that"...!

    But, we (you and I) both know though...LOL!!!!!!
  • Lala, I'm not even going to bother with you, because as usual your NWAT ONLY/TLS share driven, greed version of history, is at odds to "actual history".

    Frankly I tire of a few greedy TLS shareholders and idiot NBN naysayers forever putting their own wallets before their fellow Aussies and the nation...

  • RS you really know how to hurt a person. Not even an attempt to answer my fact revealing probes. Then again it could be unconditional surrender, a mental block or just that you have no answers to the truth. lol. Anyway best wishes for 2011.
  • Fact revealing probe... so what are you saying, you were BS - ing and probing for the facts, LOL...?

    Whatever lala, I have spent many hours explaining comms to you (with many governmental, expert etc URL's to try to demonstrate to you) but because of your TLS investment you simply refuse to listen to anyone who refuses to fall in line with your ridiculous notion that Telstra are Saints (remember you even referred to them as Saint Telstra and said God Bless Telstra).

    No "sane" person who is not 100% partial, would say this about any company!

    Sadly, you've repeated the NWAT propaganda (propaganda even Telstra now distance themselves from, LOL) , so many times I think you actually believe your own lies...
  • Getting back onto topic and away from off topic agenda based Telstra bashing I don't think this what Conroy or the NBN Co meant by 'opt-out'.

    oh dear, when faced with a choice customers prefer what they have, just as well Telstra and Optus are being gifted taxpayer billions to shut down their respective HFC and copper networks, it looks like the only way customers will 'embrace' the NBN is when they are forced onto it.
  • I see you have still not been able to supply ANY explanation in relation to your monopoly contradictions, how typically, well, humorous...! Anyway...

    As I said to your Telstra hero at another thread here at ZD, just 30 minutes ago -

    From the desperate URL - about a low take up rate "in one particular area - Brunswick"...

    "The high proportion of renters in Brunswick is being blamed for the slow take-up, as landlords need to give their permission for the cables to be run into the properties".

    (Explained within your URL, LOL!)...

    And what about this one...

    "The scheme is proving popular at other test sites with an average of more than 70 per cent of homes and business agreeing to have the cables installed across the nation's five first-release sites, including Townsville in Queensland and Armidale in New South Wales. In Brunswick only 45 per cent have signed up".

    Ooh, missed that ((((more than 70% take up)))) huh...LOL!

    Oh dear how embarrassing for you A G A I N...! But I'm sure you are used to it, as it happens regularly.

    So, do you still believe the NBN will "not be a success" as you clearly told me before, advocate? Now be careful not to contradict yourself again...LOL!
  • The 'high proportion of renters' spin cover, now I have it heard it all not that any statistics were stated on what percentage of the uptake figures were renters - it's based on the 'gut feel' principle I guess, well it could have been a worse spin cover, they could have blamed it on the Victorian locust plague.

    What did they use as a the spin cover for the poor uptake in Tassie , that's right they couldn't think of one, other than it's a pilot you are bound to have 'teething problems'. huh?

    Anyone would think that the NBN FTTH was new to Australia, FTTH has been provided to Greenfield estates by suppliers such as Telstra Velocity for years, but let's pretend the NBN FTTH is somehow different and bleeding edge! - what a load of crock.

    Oh RS you don't have any figures on Townsville and Armidale of residents that actually took an active ISP NBN plan do you, keeping in mind the two biggest ISP's BigPond and Optus don't sell it yet as distinct from the 'it's a free connection might as well have it then' figures.

    Smoke & mirrors and plenty of tap dancing, the story of the NBN.
  • "will the NBN be a success" - YES or NO?

    As for the figures ... I USED THE INFO AND FIGURES FROM YOUR SUPPLIED URL. The info you presented as factual, is where I obtained the figures from, and the reasoning for the slow take-up rate, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'll say it again, it was all obtained from YOUR URL...! Gee how embarrassing A G A I N...!

    As usual you only see the part of any article which suits "Brunswick slow to join NBN" and take that part as gospel, but then refute (your own evidence, LOL) by arguing about the reasoning and the glowing more than 70% elsewhere in your supplied article...OMG!!!!!!

    It's sad, in fact pitiful, when someone whose employment/wallet, wants the NBN to fail so badly, they will continue to say and do such stupid things.

    You told me before that the NBN will not be a success and won't even repay itself 1c, as it will be a failure. Do you still believe this?
  • The issue with Brunswick's slow uptake rate is more than just the high proportion of renters. If this were true then the NBN would be well and truly screwed in Melbourne as most inner suburbs have an insanely high proportion of renters. The more likely explanation is that Brunswick has the 2nd highest proportion of Commonwealth Rent Assistance in the country, so chances are that high speed broadband isn't the highest priority issue for the suburb. If the trend was under 70% for all of inner Melbourne then I'd be worried, but I'd say it's too early to be reaching for the panic button just yet.
  • So are you still working on how many of that 70% that have signed up for a 'freebie' connection purely because it's 'free' are actually using NBN plans from the two ISP's that are selling it, Internode and iPrimus?

    Keep that smoke machine going RS, and stock up on smoke supplies, you will be needing plenty of it in 2011.
  • LOL, you just don't have the balls to answer anything I ask do you, Mr Contradiction?

    You just happily go along in your own little world saying one thing then the complete opposite, to help that wallet, LOL!!!!!!

  • Likely explanations are fine mwil19, we can all offer 'likely explanations', here is one, Brunswick has plenty of high speed ADSL2+ and Optus and Telstra HFC cable plans from many ISP's with their own DSLAM's, they don't actually need the NBN.

    The NBN figures will be healthier when residences don't have a choice of ADSL2+ or HFC and competition is eliminated by buying their customers and the use of Government legislation, that's how monopoly 'success' works .

    BTW I would believe the 'renter' theory if you could provide actual statistics that showed that a significant proportion of residences that didn't sign up for a NBN connection was because they were renting, and they could not get the landlord to sign the form for a 'free' connection!
  • So that's a NO then, you don't have any ISP figures, great, we can put that to bed then.
  • You first (those monopolies - stop hiding, be a man) I have been asking for weeks.


    WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO HIDE (apart from that job at Telstra, those TLS shares, your Lib membership) LOL?

    Spit it out...!
  • I agree mwil19...

    I'm sure there are many reasons for this ONE area's slow take-up, this is purely common sense for anyone who actually isn't 100% biased.

    Reasons including those generously offered by advocate in his URL - re: renting, those also outlined by you and even the desperate guess advocate has needed to resort to, to lessen his (again contradictory) embarrassment!

    The point is advocate - YOU supplied the info we are all discussing and evaluating. YOU not me, or mwil19...YOU.

    But now that your info has inevitably backfired, you now even argue against and refute YOUR own info?

    The 3 sections FROM "YOUR INFO", which we are discussing -

    1. Slow take-up in Brunswick
    2. High rental area being blamed
    3. 70% NBN take-up elsewhere

    All provided BY YOU!!!

    But you now only believe that #1 of YOUR INFO is correct and argue #2 and #3 are wrong (again, even though YOU supplied all of the info - LOL)????

    You are so desperate to cover your faux pas, you now even try to turn it around and blame me because YOUR figures said OVER 70%, LOL!!!!!!!!!!! Don't desperately say ISP this or that, or ask me to provide figures.

    The figures are clearly there, outlined within the URL YOU SUPPLIED and we are discussing them, since you presented them ALL as factual... but now refute some!

    And (without reason to doubt the validity of the URL) I accept them all as having a level of fact, even #1. Whereas as you wish to pick and choose as factual the ones which suit you, Telstra and the wallet...and just ignore those which don't, yawn...!
  • So that's another NO then, you also don't have actual percentage figures that prove the rejection rate in Brunswick was caused by landlords NOT returning forms to say YES to a FREE connection.

    Good we can put that to bed also.