In some suburbs ADSL services could very easily be described as a bit hit and miss and connection speeds can often be awful. So it is understandable that the arrival of the NBN tends to cause excitement amongst local speed-starved internet users. There are others though, that still find that the NBN is a bit of a mystery. Of course, we have all been hearing about NBN since the rollout was set in motion by the Australian Federal Labor Government in 2009, but what does it actually mean for our households and our local businesses?
Briefly, The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a government funded scheme which plans to bring super-fast broadband internet to Australian households using a combination of fixed fibre optic and copper cable, fixed wireless broadband and satellite to make sure even rural areas and remote properties can be connected. The roll-out of the NBN is currently underway and will continue until at least 2020.
There are seven types of NBN connections and NBN Co will determine the type to be installed in your area:
- Fibre to the premises – FTTP
Fibre optic cables to your premises.
- Fibre to the Node: FTTN
Fibre optic cables to a central cabinet or node. Houses in the neighbourhood connect to the node using existing copper wire.
- Fibre to the Basement – FTTB
Fibre optic cables to a central room in a building with existing copper wire used to reach individual units.
- Fibre to the Kerb (or Fibre to the Curb) FTTC
- Hybrid Fibre Coaxial – HFC
Commonly known as cable.
- Fixed wireless – uses 4G and is used in rural areas.
- Satellite – used in regional and remote Australia.
If you don’t already have NBN available in your suburb, check the rollout map which can be found on the NBN Co website. Once NBN is available, in most cases you will have at least 18 months to choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and NBN connection type. Make sure you find out the cut-off date for your current phone and internet services so you can fully research your options and make the best choice. This information can be found on the Telstra website.
NBN services have the potential to be much faster than ADSL2+ as they use a modern architecture that is specifically designed for the high-speed transfer of internet traffic. NBN is commonly supplied by ISPs in four speed tiers with each being largely the same but faster as you step up the tiers. The current common layout offered is:
- NBN 12: 12Mbps download / 1Mbps upload
- NBN 25: 25Mbps download / 5Mbps upload
- NBN 50: 50Mbps download / 20Mbps upload
- NBN 100: 100Mbps download / 40Mbps upload
For comparison ADSL2+ can achieve download speeds of up to 24Mbs. It is always worth remembering that all download/upload speeds reported are the maximum speeds that can be achieved with a particular plan and you may not achieve the same speeds at your location.
The NBN will also replace your landline telephone service so you will need to move your telephone service to the NBN before the cut-off date. Once your telephone has been connected to the NBN it is important to know that landline phones in your home or business will no longer work in a power outage. This is because the NBN network requires power within the home or business to operate. You should also check other equipment you may use, like medical alert alarms, security alarms or fax machines to make sure these will still operate under the NBN.
With the many different options, it is clear that choosing the right NBN provider for your specific needs could be a real challenge. Most people will tend to stick with their current service provider or one of the well-known major providers. While this is understandable, make sure to look at the NBN website for NBN availability, check your cut-off date, ask questions, compare plans and consider your internet and telephone needs before choosing the plan that best fits your needs. Finally, beware of marketing campaigns and other gimmicks or even pressure from providers to make your decision quickly.
At Macnair we have spent a lot of time researching NBN options and are always happy to help you navigate the changes that you may face when the NBN comes to your home or business. Simply call me on 02 8814 5011 or shoot through an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be more than happy to answer your questions or ease your mind.
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