AIIA lobbies States for NBN opt-out laws

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AIIA lobbies States for NBN opt-out laws

Says current system will delay broadband benefits.

The Federal Government faced a fresh challenge over its NBN strategy with Australia's peak IT industry association making the case for states and territories to make residents "opt-out" of being connected to the NBN.

The Australian Information Industry Association said that current "opt-in" arrangements for residents effective in mainland states would cause delays to residents receiving the benefits of ubiquitous broadband.

The criticism was levelled at the Victorian Government following its decision not to support a pledge by the state's former Labor government to follow Tasmania's lead in legislating "opt-out" principles for the network rollout in the state.

But it appeared to have a broader context because Victoria was only adopting the default rollout methodology used by NBN Co and the Federal Government.

That is, NBN Co was required to seek permission from residents before bringing fibre up from the street to the side of their houses.

Tasmania was the first state to change that by putting the onus on residents to opt-out of receiving that connection, linking them to the NBN by default.

Victorian Labor had attempted to follow with an announcement prior to the recent state election but it lost power and the pledge was unsupported by the incoming government.

That prompted Australian Information Industry Association chief executive officer Ian Birks to mount a case for opt-out provisions to be kept on the table.

"An opt-in approach to NBN takeup will almost certainly delay the broader community - and ultimately the national - benefits that can be delivered by ubiquitous take up of high speed broadband," Birks said.

He said that opt-in provisions subjected everyone "to unnecessary administrative red tape, which is itself a disincentive to takeup".

"The value of high-levels of broadband participation is well-documented around the globe," he said.

"We are already playing catch up with a number of our Asian neighbours.

"Now is not the time to introduce additional barriers to community engagement in the digital economy."

Birks said he was willing to meet with the Victorian Government in an attempt to change its mind.

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