Do I have to change to the NBN?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, chances are you’ve heard of the National Broadband Network, or NBN. Actually, let’s be politically correct and write it the way they prefer – it’s the nbnTM. Also, the rollout did not quite go as smoothly as initially assumed, and there are some funny charges being talked about in the news, so chances are you have some questions about what’s really happening and how it affects you.

What is the nbnTM? Is it ready / can I sign up? Who will be affected? Do I have to change to the nbnTM

Let’s have a look at these questions one by one.

What is the nbnTM?
As dependency on online services and therefore requirements for bandwidth steadily increase year by year, Australia decided to replace the majority of its existing phone and internet infrastructure (the old copper network) with a nationwide, fibre-based network allowing for much higher internet speeds than any previously existing technology. Initially proposed in 2007 at an estimated total cost of A$15 billion, the largest infrastructure project in Australian history was kicked off with the creation of NBN Co on April 9, 2009, as the government-owned legal entity handling the rollout and maintenance once completed.

Will I get it? Can I sign up?
As most infrastructure projects of this scale, the nbnTM rollout has been plagued by issues and delays, leading to a projected cost-increase of over 100% to currently A$51 billion, as well as a delay of 4 years. Initially assumed to be completed in 2016, the current status says “Project expected to be completed and connect 8 million homes and businesses by 2020.

So can you sign up? The short answer is to enter your address into the website of the official rollout map. The long answer is that, while eventually all addresses should get some sort of connection to the nbnTM, your specific connection type will depend on your location. The main fibre network will be vast, but still only cover population hubs above a certain size (as visible on the rollout map). According to the NBN “Multi Technology Mix” (MTM), areas not connected to the wired fibre infrastructure will be able to access the nbnTM through either a fixed wireless or satellite solution.

nbnTM – coming to a hole in the street near you soon…

Who will be affected?
Given the fact that the nbnTM is not a new, additional network but instead a replacement of the existing infrastructure, the majority of previously offered fixed-line services will be discontinued. This includes:

  • Telstra Home/landline phone services (except some Telstra Velocity lines).
  • Landline phone services from all other phone companies, where the service is provided over Telstra’s copper phone lines.
  • All ADSL, ADSL2 and ADSL2+ internet services from all providers.
  • Telstra BigPond cable internet services.
  • Optus cable internet and cable phone services.
  • Telstra ISDN Services
  • Optus MultiLine Business Telephony Services
  • Ethernet over Copper (EoC) internet services e.g. SHDSL, EFM

There are some exceptions, but as a rule of thumb, it’s fair to say that most Australians using any kind of non-fibre fixed line service will be affected.

Keep in mind that this applies for all internet users – individual, personal use as well as commercial use. If you run or work in a business that depends on the internet and/or phones to keep the doors open, reach out to us to find out how and when you’ll be affected. Remember – services that will be disconnected include internet and phones!

Do I have to change to the nbnTM?
Short answer? Individual users: Yes. Businesses: There’s something even better.

Long answer: You have to switch, but the change from a plethora of copper-based services to a semi-unified national fibre network is quite complex, and most importantly for you, does not happen automatically! Also, while the nbnTM is great for residential use, it’s actually not the best solution for any business depending on fast, stable internet. So what can you do to make sure you’re not left in the proverbial dark and get the best service available?

If you’re an individual researching a residential address:

  1. Check nbnTM availability for your address
  2. If not available, contact your current internet provider and ask for your date of disconnection (typically 18 months after the introduction of nbnTM services at that address)
  3. Alternatively, use this monster of a rollout list to find your area

If you’re a commercial user (business use), it’s a bit easier: Reach out to us, and we’ll provide you with a free analysis of your situation, including a proposed solution to switch over to a commercial-grade fibre connection with upgraded, simplified and unified technology for your business.


Further reading: nbn 101 – everything you need to know about Australia’s broadband network

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