No consent needed for NBN

As the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) continues, homeowners no longer have to consent to the Government-owned NBN Co entering their property to install the fibre-optic connections.  This is now possible due to a move from the cumbersome consent system to automatic installation, enabled under the Telecommunications Act.

South Morang in Melbourne north is one of the last areas to get installation driven by demand, where households are connected only if they register. Residents will still be able to opt out of the fibre connection, however, once the Telstra copper network is removed, they will have no fixed-line connection.

The consent system has been blamed for the slow take-up of installations, especially in areas where there are a large number of renters.

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Opinion – Embrace the new… or simply accept that it’s happening

The rollout of the NBN continues to gather pace and the new powers granted to the NBN Co will allow installers to enter your property without first getting your consent.  Of course, homeowners will have the right to opt out of the installation, but this will be dependant on knowing when it will be happening in your area. You can check the rollout map on the NBN Co website to see when the installation is planned for your area.

I’m all for change if it really is for the better. Having a newly built home, we’re ready, willing and able to receive the NBN as and when it heads through our area. But some may not be so willing and do not fully understand the impact of not having the NBN installed. While the NBN Co will happily trot out those who have had a good experience and have benefited from the installation of the NBN, there will be others who do not have such a happy tale to tell.

Many older homeowners may not be comfortable allowing access to installers and by refusing to do so, they could find themselves without access to a landline down the track. Even in the name of progress, this hardly seems fair.

I found myself subject to a Government contractor ambush only yesterday, when two people turned up unannounced on my doorstep to install SMART PowerBoards on my televisions. Only because we had been having a discussion in our office did I know of the existence of this scheme and was able to ask the right questions. Despite the benefits of such simple devices, which basically cut down the use of power when your televisions are in standby mode, this was an intrusion and if I’m honest, the installers were quite pushy. I’m not sure the majority of householders, old or young, will understand fully what they are being given.

So, as individuals we need to take ownership of the need to be informed. It’s time to stop assuming that the NBN is a long way off and will have little or no affect on you until it arrives in your area. It’s time to get on the NBN website and find out when it’s coming to your area and what your rights and responsibilities are. The alternative is to just let it happen and deal with the consequences after the event.

Do you think contractors working for Government-backed projects should have the right to enter your property? Is it your responsibility to understand the full impact of such projects?

Written by Debbie McTaggart