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The National Broadband Network (NBN) is changing the way you access your internet and fixed telephone services and is being rolled out across Australia.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is changing the way you access your internet and fixed telephone services and is being rolled out across Australia. This process is happening right now and is ongoing. The switch over is scheduled to be completed nationwide by 2020 and will affect landline telephone customers, not just internet broadband customers. If you have not migrated to the NBN by the date the copper network is disconnected in your area, then you will not have any home phone or internet connection. This is a safety concern, especially for people who are older or have a disability.

How can you check if you have access to the NBN?

If you have not already switched over to the National Broadband Network (NBN), check your address either online at www.nbnco.com.au or by phoning NBN Co on 1800 687 626 to find out:

  1. When you will be able to switch over to the NBN
  2. When the legacy copper network in your area will be phased out and permanently disconnected.
  3. Which technology you will be using to access the NBN (this is especially important if you are a regional or rural customer).

Technology Types

There are many types of technology associated with the NBN, as it is a Multi Technology Mix (MTM) network. You can call NBN Co or use their website to find out which technology will be rolled out in your area and when. There are seven different connection types:

  1. 1. Fibre To The Node (FTTN) - This is the most common connection method. If you are a FTTN customer, you will be connected to the fibre network via a “node” or box which will be installed somewhere in your neighbourhood (within 700 m of your address).
  2. Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) or Fibre to the Home (FTTH) - This will only be available in some areas but is viewed as the best connection type. Instead of connecting to a node in your neighbourhood, you will have fibre cable installed all the way to your dwelling. This will provide an ideal connection to the network with maximum download and upload speeds.
  3. Fibre To The Basement (FTTB) - If you live in an apartment, this will be your connection type. Fibre will be installed to the apartment block’s telecommunications room (generally in the basement). From there, it will be distributed throughout the building via whichever cable technology is already in place. This could be copper or Ethernet/LAN (Local Area Network) cabling, depending on the age and location of your apartment building.
  4. Fibre To The Distribution Point (FTTdp) - Fibre cable is run along each street and connected to the existing copper at the closest possible point to your premises, also known as 'Fibre to the Curb' or 'Fibre to the Driveway'.
  5. Satellite (Sky Muster) - This is the satellite component of the NBN which is for rural and remote customers who cannot access the Fixed Wireless or Fibre networks. This is a completely different technology that requires a satellite dish to be installed at the premises to communicate with a satellite.
  6. Fixed Wireless - Regional and rural customers are connected to the fibre national broadband network via a fixed ground-based wireless tower. Fixed wireless essentially uses the same technology and wireless spectrum as existing 4G mobile networks. This is an in-between technology that uses both wireless and fibre technologies.
  7. Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) / Cable - This connection method is utilising the pre-existing cable network in certain urban areas. This network was previously used to connect customers to cable TV. This connection type is using one of the oldest technologies in the greater NBN network and is experiencing significant congestion issues. It will be periodically phased out in all regions except for 25,000 premises in Redcliffe, QLD in Brisbane’s northeast. 

Connecting to the NBN

NBN Co does not sell services to the public. To use the NBN, you will need to sign up to a contract with a telephone and internet service provider, like Telstra or Optus. You will need to contact your chosen service provider directly to connect the NBN, report a fault or to troubleshoot your connection. There are many providers to choose from and many packages and speed options which can all affect your end user experience of the NBN.

Speed and connection problems

Some customers have experienced connectivity issues or unusably slow internet speeds when initially connecting to the NBN due to insufficient bandwidth being purchased by the service provider for their local area. You can test your internet connection speed by using Ookla’s online speed testing service. This can be accessed online by going to www.speedtest.net on a web browser on any device connected to your NBN service or by downloading and using the SpeedTest app which is available on the Google Play Store for Android devices or the Apple iOS AppStore for iPhone or iPad users. If you are not getting the speeds you are paying for, you may be entitled to a refund.

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)

If you are unhappy with your service and are unable to resolve the issue with your service provider, you can make a complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. The Ombudsman provides an independent service which helps small businesses and residential customers who have a complaint about their telephone or internet service provider. It can make a decision on how the complaint is resolved.

The NBN and Medical and Fire alarms

Your personal medical alarm or auto dialler may not work properly once you have migrated to the NBN network. You need to contact your personal alarm supplier or monitored service provider and ask if your service will be affected by the changeover. If it is going to be affected, you need to find out what you can do to make sure your personal alarm still works properly. The changeover can affect monitored and unmonitored personal alarm services as well as auto-diallers, which connect to family or friends as opposed to a monitored service.

Monitored or auto-dialling fire alarm systems may also be incompatible with the NBN. It is extremely important that if you have one of these devices and are switching over to the NBN, that you contact your fire alarm supplier or monitored service provider and ask if your alarm will be affected by the switch, and if so, what you need to do to make sure your fire alarm still works correctly. For more information, you can contact NBN Co, the Telecommunications Ombudsman or your chosen telephone and internet service provider.


NBN Co Freecall: 1800 687 626 Website: www.nbnco.com.au

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Freecall: 1800 062 058 Website: www.tio.gov.au