iPrimus could beat federal government to internet filters

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iPrimus has indicated it may not wait for the Government to introduce a clean feed and that it may re-introduce an opt-in service for customers if there is sufficient demand.

iPrimus has indicated it may not wait for the Government to introduce a clean feed and that it may re-introduce an opt-in service for customers if there is sufficient demand.

The ISP, which is the largest to participate in the first round of the Federal Government's controversial content filtering trials, told iTnews it may use the results of its participation in the trials to re-introduce its own competing service early.

The ISP offered a similar but less-detailed filtering service in the past, according to Andrew Sims, general manager of marketing and products at iPrimus.

"We may do our own thing," Sims said.

"What the Government is doing is great but I have to service my customers.

"If we find the demand is good and customers find it suits their needs, there's potential to properly productise net filters before they are potentially introduced [nationally]."

Like several ISPs in the trials, iPrimus appears to be viewing its participation as much as a testbed for launching its own commercial filtering service as to test the Government's own plans.

Sims said he was "interested to see the results of the testing and how our customers respond" to work out if it was viable to re-introduce such a service to the iPrimus product suite.

"A lot more ISPs these days are focused on value-added services," Sims said.

Sims confirmed earlier guidance that iPrimus would begin the Government trials in late April or early May.

"We're still sourcing the hardware and software," Sims said.

He said iPrimus would conduct the tests in a single six-week block, rather than split the tests across a number of shorter periods of time.

It was revealed last week that other ISPs, including clean feed operator Webshield, may consider breaking up the test period "if things come up".

"I think six weeks straight is probably better for us," Sims said.

"We want proper test data, so even if customers try to change their net habits because they know the filter is there, a six-week block means they might forget about it.

"It also gives us a nice block of data and average to work with - even if customers opt back out by week three, for example, we still get a good chunk of data to make the tests worthwhile."

Sims said the net filter trials and any new product offering would be opt-in for all customers.

The Federal Government is proposing mandatory filtering for all Australians.

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