NBN turns opt-out for future builds

 

Updated: But batteries now optional.

NBN Co has unveiled plans to automatically connect homes to the National Broadband Network in future construction builds in a move expected to save costs over the long-term but contribute to increased capital expenditure for the network build in the first several years.

The contentious build method, which NBN Co has been trialling for some years, will require users who do not want a fibre connection to the NBN to opt out from such construction, rather than opt in, as is currently the case.

Under the 'build drop' method, NBN Co will draw fibre from the street to a connection device on each house passed as part of NBN construction.

The fibre connection will remain dormant, however, until a user orders a connection to the network, at which point NBN Co will install a network termination device inside the home and connect the fibre.

"If I speak to people, which I did, for example in British Telecom and in other places, they say if you're take-up rate is above 20 or 30 percent it's smarter doing build drops," NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley said.

"That's what we had in fact intuitively thought, that's what we saw from our trials and that's what we're going to go ahead and do."

Residents in fibre roll-out areas will be given the opportunity to opt out of a fibre connection, a measure NBN Co intends to advertise through improved communication with residential areas during construction.

Quigley said he anticipated that "once we've communicated to them, [they] will see this isn't costing them anything and it's setting them up to be connected".

"They'll know we're coming," Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said.

NBN Co's deal with Telstra means those in the fibre network footprint who do not allow a fibre connection will be without fixed-line access within 18 months of that area being deemed "ready for service" as Telstra progressively disconnects the copper network.

The opt-out method has been a contentious move since the beginning of network construction.

NBN Co trialled the build drop method during the first stage of construction in Tasmania in 2010 by allowing residents to sign up for a connection during the initial construction phase before such builds began.

The state later passed legislation requiring residents to opt out of an NBN connection — rather than opt in — for future builds on the island, but similar legislation has been knocked back in other states.

NBN Co has progressively ramped up moves to introduce the build drop method into wider construction, telling industry of its plans at forums held last November and hiring a project director in June for the task.

A spokeswoman for NBN Co confirmed it had not yet begun the opt-out method.

The revised three-year corporate plan for NBN Co, released this week, indicated the company expected to issue the build drops at all apartment buildings and greenfields premises, and expected only ten percent of existing stand-alone homes would opt-out of the fibre drop.

Those in the telecommunications industry suggested NBN Co could operate under the same auspices as Telstra, which oblige the incumbent to install and maintain copper infrastructure to the network boundary, usually situated inside or outside the home.

NBN Co's spokeswoman confirmed it would follow the same regulations.

A spokesman for shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull did not respond to questions at the time of writing.

However, on writing about the Tasmanian opt-out legislation in 2010, Turnbull said the move confirmed the NBN's reliance on "compulsion and the elimination of competing technologies".

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

Consumer organisation ACCAN has previously pushed for the opt-out approach, citing support from the National Community Titles Institute (NCTI) and Tenants Union.

In a policy statement (pdf) released early last year, the government-funded organisation said the opt-out process would recognise the NBN as a "replacement phone network" for the copper network once the latter was decommissioned, and should be treated as a utility.

"Ensuring availability of phone services alone will require an opt-out approach to the rollout," the organisation said.

The move to build drops is a major contributor to a $1.4 billion increase in capital expenditure expected for the NBN, and one of several changes in scope for the network build revealed in the updated corporate plan.

The company said the $800 million deal with Optus to migrate the telco's cable broadband customers onto the fibre network was unanticipated at the time of the first corporate plan two years ago, while movements on NBN Co's greenfields obligations and forecasted impacts of the mandated point of interconnect model also played a part.

Batteries become optional

Another significant change in scope for the project was the move to make back-up batteries for network termination devices in the NBN fibre footprint optional for the first time.

NBN Co was previously required to install a battery capable of powering the voice port on each fibre-based customer premises device on the network for up to eight hours, a move seen as wasteful by the Greens.

The company itself had reported the batteries were the highest source of complaints in user feedback surveys in NBN-connected areas.

Senator Conroy said consultation with emergency services organisations had led the Federal Government to change this requirement.

Instead, NBN Co will follow a similar process to Telstra's fibre rollout in South Brisbane, allowing users to opt-in to battery installation under an "informed choice" situation while automatically installing batteries at "priority assist" homes, required for medical purposes.

NBN Co expected up to half of all fibre-connected premises would opt to have the battery installed, potentially saving the company "hundreds of millions of dollars".

"What we found is that it's an estimated based on our input when we talked to people as we have done the trial sites," Quigley said.

The company has also considered allowing third parties to install their own batteries under a set standard for niche uses.

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


NBN turns opt-out for future builds
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1429

Vote