News and Views

Tasmania along with the rest of the country has been introducing the roll out of the National Broadband Network (NBN) to households and businesses. This network is to provide faster and more efficient internet access. The NBN will replace the old copper system. Once the copper system is turned off, without the NBN to a property, that property would need to go wireless for internet and phone access.

It’s important for tenants to be aware of this process, and indeed it is becoming a more common question on the Tenants’ Union advice line as to what a tenants rights are in Tasmania for the NBN.

There are two stages to the NBN. The first is the attachment of the NBN box to the external part of the premises. This is in no way a tenants’ responsibility and a tenant should not interfere with this installation. This is a free program for the properties until the copper system is turned off. If a property has not transferred after this has occurred there would be an additional cost associated at the owner’s expense.

The second part of the process is the internal installation through an internet provider. This is where a tenants responsibilities and/or liabilities step in.

As a tenant, the internet provider and the cost of such will be your responsibility. You will need to seek the owner’s permission about the installation and where the box will be positioned in the property. Some issues to consider.

If a working telephone was provided with the tenancy, this must be maintained by the owner. This would mean that the installation cost would be the owner’s responsibility.
If there was no phone access to the premises at the beginning of a tenancy, there is no obligation for the owner to provide this into the future. Therefore the owner cannot be held responsible for the cost of installation.

A tenant must seek the owner’s consent prior to installing an internal NBN box as the installation may damage the property and the owner may require it to be installed at a specific point in the premises.

Having a rental premises rolled over onto the NBN is a good advertisement for the property and an advantage for the owner and future tenants.