Australians can elect not to be connected, but a decision is yet to be made on whether you’ll have to pay if you want the NBN at a later date.
A decision is yet to be made on whether Australians will have to pay to be connected to the NBN if they elected not to have their building connected when the cable was first run down their street, an NBN Co spokesperson has told BIT.
Yesterday the Government confirmed plans to start connecting buildings to the NBN when the cables are first laid or run overhead in each street. Previously, the street would first be cabled, but your building would only be connected later, if you requested it.
This raises the obvious question about what happens if you elect not to have the NBN cable attached to your building in the first place, but then you (or another occupant) decides they want it put in at a later date. Will it still be free, as current standard NBN installations are?
An NBN Co spokesperson told us that “if you elect not to have the connection made to the home while we’re rolling out in your area but you later decide you want one then a charge may apply. But that has yet to be determined.”
We have contacted NBN Co asking when this will be determined.
What this means for you
While the new plan means your building will be connected unless you say no, don’t confuse this with meaning you’ll automatically have to start using the NBN.
What the Government and NBN Co are talking about is running the cable from the street to a box on the outside wall of your building – not activating your NBN service. You won’t have to start using the NBN until you tell an Internet provider you want it.
It all comes down to this: if you want the NBN, your building needs to be connected one way or another. Under the new plan, the idea as we understand it is that you’ll get the NBN cable put in without having to ask for it.
If you don’t want the NBN connected to your building, you will still have that option. Only now you will have to tell the NBN Co that.
Keep in mind that for those that say no, there is the possibility that one day they will be left without any fixed line broadband or telephone - the plan is to disconnect old copper telephone lines 18 months after an area has had fibre optic cable put in (though not in areas where the NBN is being delivered by wireless or satellite). Unless an election next year changes that.