The Government's plan to censor the internet is in tatters, with Australia's largest ISP saying it will not take part in live trials of the system and the second largest committing only to a scaled-back trial.
And the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, has written to critics saying that the so-called "live" trials would be "a closed network test and will not involve actual customers". Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said this was a sign the Government was slowly backing away from the heavily criticised policy.
The live trials, scheduled to kick off before Christmas, were supposed to provide a definitive picture of whether the filters could work in the real world, after lab tests released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority in June found available ISP filters frequently let through content that should be blocked, incorrectly blocked harmless content and slowed down network speeds by up to 87 per cent.
But now Telstra and Internode have said they would not take part in the trials. iiNet has said it would take part only to prove to the Government that its plan would not work, while Optus will test a heavily cut-down filtering model.