Got questions about the NBN rollout, or how it will affect your services? We’ve put together a list of the most common questions about the NBN below.
What is the NBN and when can I connect?
The NBN is an Australia-wide broadband network with the aim of connecting all Australians to fast internet. The roll-out started back in 2014, and the fixed wiring service is currently due for completion is 2020 with the wireless network upgrade works due to be completed in 2022. NBN infrastructure is being installed progressively in different areas, so click here to check if NBN is available at your address yet.
When will my existing internet be cut off?
The existing copper cabling network will eventually be disconnected for most households throughout Australia, but the exact date of disconnection depends on your location.
You should receive a letter from NBN Co regarding the disconnection date of your landline services, and should be notified a few months prior to the disconnection date so you have time to switch to an NBN internet plan. You may also receive letters from your internet provider.
Why are there so many different types of connection technologies?
Australians were originally promised a world leading fibre internet service with claims that each home would have its own fibre connection. Unfortunately due to politics and budgetary constraints, the vast majority of Australians now have to settle with a significantly restrained hybrid internet service. This means optical fibre will only run to a central location (usually in the street or basement of an apartment building) and then either new or existing copper cabling systems will be utilised to get the internet service to each home. Only the lucky few will receive the full FTTP (fibre to the premises) service which provides the highest speed capability.
There are seven different types of connection technologies currently being used for NBN connections throughout Australia. This is generally determined by the area of your connection, so most people do not get a choice.
The different types are:
- FTTP (Fibre to the Premises)
- FTTN (Fibre to the Node)
- FTTB (Fibre to the Building/Basement)
- FTTC (Fibre to the Curb)
- HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial)
- Fixed Wireless
For those tech-types who want to learn more about the different technologies and what that will mean for their NBN connection, click here.
What if I want my NBN connection in a different location in the house?
The NBN technician that comes to install a new NBN point at your home will probably choose to install it in a location that is close to the street. But you have a choice! The iiNet website states that “where new equipment or physical connection work is required you will be able to discuss your options with the technician. It’s important to understand that you’re allowed to discuss alternative options for installation and do not have to accept the recommended installation points suggested by the technician.”
Once the NBN equipment is installed in your home, your phone and internet should be connected and ready to use. However, you are limited to that single hard-wired connection point. If you want more phone/data points available in different locations around your home, you will need to contact a local electrician like Kenner Electrics to do these rewiring works.
Is it worth getting Ethernet/data points installed if I have good WiFi?
With the growing number of wireless devices being connected in the Aussie home, having a reliable wired network is more important than ever. The best way to think about this is like a road during peak hour; the more cars are on the road, the slower everyone moves. The same goes with WiFi.
When you hardwire devices then this takes them off the wireless network which will help reduce the congestion on the network and speed up the network for all the other users. The best rule of thumb is this; if it’s fixed in place then hardwire it, but if it moves around keep it wireless. This means it’s best to hardwire devices like printers, TV’s, gaming platforms and computers, whereas devices like phones, tablets and laptops can stay wireless.
How will NBN affect my home phone?
NBN is not just for internet, it also replaces your existing landline phone service. This means that when NBN is connected in your area, you’ll need to switch to an NBN service provider to keep your landline phone service. And if you want to make sure you can keep the same phone number, you’ll need to swap over before the disconnection date.
The old landline phone network will eventually be disconnected in most urban areas and all the existing phone sockets in your house will cease to work. Without additional cabling works, your home phone will now have to plug directly into your modem.
How can I get more phones connected in my home?
Now that home phones need to be connected directly into the NBN modem, it can be difficult to have more than one phone connected. However it is possible and there are a couple of options available:
- The simplest option is to connect a cordless phone that has multiple handsets. This way the main station can sit near the modem and you can have another handset elsewhere in your home
- Alternatively you can engage an electrical contractor like Kenner Electrics to wire and connect the old phone system up to the new NBN modem so you can plug phones into the existing points
What about my security alarm and other internet-dependent services?
Step one is to make sure that your security equipment is compatible with the NBN. Many older security systems rely on the landline phone network, which will be disconnected in most areas eventually. There are now many security system products on the market that use more up-to-date technology such as 4G wireless technology, backup batteries and the ability to monitor through an app on your smart device. However, if you have an older security system, make sure you contact your security provider before you switch to an NBN plan so you can make necessary arrangements if an upgrade is required.
Other services such as medical alarms, distress call buttons or monitored fire alarms may also be affected by the switch to NBN. Contact your provider to make sure that your service is not interrupted.
What happens in a power outage?
If there is a power outage or the internet is down to an area, it will affect both your phone and internet services.
Your phone will no longer work during a power outage, unless you have a proper battery backup system installed. The NBN Co recommends keeping a charged mobile phone handy for this situation so that you have a means of communication if required.
What speed should I choose?
Most NBN providers offer 3 plan tiers, with different speeds:
Standard - 25Mbps
- The Standard tier is most suitable for households with 2-3 people who typically use the internet for web browsing, social media, emails and standard definition video streaming.
Standard Plus - 50Mbps
- The Standard Plus tier is designed for heavier users who may stream high definition videos, work from home or do online gaming.
Premium - 100Mbps
- The Premium tier is for intensive users that rely on the internet for 4K video streaming or uploading & downloading large files. This plan may also be suitable for larger households that will have more devices connected to the internet simultaneously.
How does the speed compare to existing internet services?
ADSL2+ internet connections (via the old phone lines) typically had average download speeds of around 8Mbps and upload speeds of around 1-2Mbps. Cable Broadband internet connections typically had average download speeds of 30-40Mbps with upload speeds of around 2Mbps. Currently anyone still holding onto their old cable broadband connection are likely getting download speeds around 80Mbps as other customers are moving onto the NBN and reducing the strain on the service.
While most NBN users will probably only receive around 40Mbps download speed which is similar to cable broadband speeds, the real difference is the upload speed available from NBN which may be equally as fast as the download speed. This will help users upload files and photos to the cloud much faster and also improve VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phone services and services such as Skype which rely on 2-way voice and video transfer.
Why are NBN speeds measured in ‘evening speeds’?
Most NBN providers will state speeds that are lower than the speeds discussed above. This is because they use the ‘typical evening speed’ to set a benchmark of the average speed you should expect on that plan. The peak time for internet usage is generally 7pm to 11pm. This is the period when the most people are using the internet at home, and so the network is the most congested and likely to experience performance issues.
Internet providers have gotten into trouble in the past for promising speeds that they were unable to deliver, so most providers are now setting more realistic speed expectations.
Other factors that may affect internet speed include:
- Type of connection technology used in your area
- The number of devices connected to the network simultaneously
- Network congestion during peak periods
- The capability of the hardware that you are using (eg. your modem, router)
If you are experiencing slow/unreliable WiFi networks in your home, you may want to consider upgrading to a Wireless Access Point for increased speeds and coverage.
I’ve heard about NBN scammers. How do I know if the person contacting me is legitimate?
There has been an increase in door-to-door scammers who claim to be working for the NBN Co. They may be wearing a fake uniform or have a fake ID card, but they are usually focused on trying to get you to make a payment for something or getting access to your computer/home. The real NBN Co is a wholesaler, they don’t sell anything directly to the public. In most cases, you will sign up to the NBN through a retail internet provider of your choice, and all payments will be made to them.
Here are some warning signs to look out for:
- They want you to sign up for the NBN on the spot and request payment for services. Don’t do it! You will never be required to make a payment directly to a legitimate NBN Co technician.
- They request access to your computer to ‘fix a problem with your NBN’. Don’t do it! They will probably install scamware or steal your information
- They pretend to require access to our property to assess it for NBN installation, but actually are seeing if it would be a good target for burglary
- They demand payment in the form of gift cards or vouchers
What can you do to avoid scams? Ask these questions:
- Have you recently contacted an NBN internet provider to apply for an NBN service? Are they from that company?
- Has the company you contacted provided you with a date or made an appointment for the technician to visit your home?
- Has the technician got an ‘enAble’ worker card? Are they registered on the NBN Co’s enable portal?