The NBN Rollout

As of now, NBN is still in the process of being rolled out. The rollout is on track to hit its current goal of 11.2 million premises connected by 2020, with 8 million active users.

The name of the game with NBN is equal access. The aim is to allow the entire country to have access to top internet speeds whether they live in a populated area or not.

Australian internet is notoriously slow when compared to the rest of the developed world. Current technology is not equipped to handle the data needs of the modern internet world. Once the NBN rollout is complete, most Australia will have access to fast internet speeds through one of the following emerging technologies:

  • Fibre to the premises (FTTP)
  • Fibre to the Building (FTTB)
  • Fibre to the node (FTTN)
  • HybridFibre Coaxial (HFC)
  • Fixed Wireless
  • Satellite
 

NBN Fibre Technologies and Installation

Your NBN technology depends on where you are located. The official NBN website has an interactive map where you can enter your address to find out what NBN technology is or will be available to you.

Fibre to the Premises

FTTP is the ideal NBN connection. As the name suggests, FTTP connects your home to the broadband network through fibre optic cables that reach all the way to your house. These fibre optic cables will replace some of the existing copper cables as certified NBN installers make their way across the country.

The installer will place a utility box on the outside of your home and either install fibre cabling or use existing copper cabling to connect you to the NBN connection box.

The original plan was to replace all of the existing cable wirings with fibre optic cables. Unfortunately, the plan proved too time-consuming and costly.

Although NBN still plans to replace these current cables, they’ve given access to many more customers by utilising the current copper cabling where they need to. NBN hopes to provide 2.5 million households with FTTP connections by the time the NBN rollout finishes.

For an FTTP connection, you’ll need a utility box for the outside of your home and a connection box for the inside. You shouldn’t have to pay any extra for installation but ask your internet service provider about any fees they might charge.


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Fibre to the Building

Replacing the current infrastructure in multi-dwelling units like apartment buildings is time-consuming and costly.. New buildings may be able to access an FTTP connection, but existing apartment buildings will have to settle for Fibre to the Building, or FTTB.

The NBN node is be located at the bottom – often in the basement – of the apartment building. The fibre optic cable connects from the street to this node.

From there, the current copper cable takes your connection the rest of the way, and distributes it to each resident of the building.

FTTB connections use VDSL2 technology, so you’ll need a VDSL2 modem to have access to the network. Most newer modems are equipped with this technology, and your internet service provider should be able to provide you with one.


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Fibre to the Node

FTTN connections combine the current copper cabling technology with the new fibre optic cables the NBN rollout is using. Instead of connecting your home directly to the fibre wires, the fibre connects to a node, and brings internet from the node to your home through the existing copper framework.

Fibre to the node isn’t ideal, but it gives homes access to fast internet when they otherwise might rely on the slower ADSL2+ connection.


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Other NBN Connections

Broadband users who don’t receive one of the fibre connections should gain access to the NBN through HFC, fixed wireless, and satellite technology.

NBN uses HFC when they utilise existing Pay TV networks to connect users to the broadband network. This will be a fixed connection.

Fixed wireless uses the data from radio signals to offer you a broadband connection. Those who live in remote locations might receive this form of technology, since NBN can use it when houses are very far apart.

Sky Muster satellite broadband is the last form of technology, and NBN uses it to reach the most remote households.

Households with satellite NBN connections will arrange to have a satellite installed on the outside of their house. Speeds are not as quick as conventional connection methods, but they are still considerably faster than the old dial-up.

 

Top Providers

NBN is a broadband wholesaler, which means they sell to retailers instead of the general public. You’ll have to purchase an NBN plan from an internet service provider in order to access the high-speed NBN connection.

The big name providers in broadband have NBN plans at this point, and most of the smaller retailers do as well. The best NBN provider for you will depend on where you live, but here are some of our top picks for broadband retailers:

NBN is a broadband wholesaler, which means they sell to retailers instead of the general public. You’ll have to purchase an NBN plan from an internet service provider in order to access the high-speed NBN connection.

The big name providers in broadband have NBN plans at this point, and most of the smaller retailers do as well. The best NBN provider for you will depend on where you live, but here are some of our top picks for broadband retailers:

Provider Duration Options Data Cost/Month
TPG Broadband ku Month to Month
18 Months
Unlimited $69.99
Dodo Month to Month
12 Months
24 Months
Unlimited $75.00
Telstra Month to Month
24 Months
Unlimited $89.00
iiNet Month to Month
24 Months
Unlimited $79.99
Optus 24 Months Unlimited $80.00
Internode Month to Month
24 Months
Unlimited $79.99
Mate Month to Month Month to Month
18 Months
$59
Exetel Month to Month
12 Months
Unlimited $59.99

There is no shortage of options here, and many come with home phone, mobile phone, and entertainment bundles that might attract you to one over another.

All of the providers we included offer bundles, so you won’t just be getting broadband if you want more. Some also include limited data plans, so you don’t always have to go with unlimited if you’re not a frequent internet user.

You will also have to select your NBN speed tier. NBN connections give you access to a few different speeds, and the one you choose will affect your cost.

NBN Tier Maximum Download Speed
NBN 12 12 Mbps
NBN 25 25 Mbps
NBN 50 50 Mbps
NBN 100 50 Mbps

Keep in mind that there are a number of factors that determine your internet speeds, including the time of day. These speeds represent the maximum potential speed, and you shouldn’t expect your connection to be performing at the top speed all of the time.

Those who are eligible for an NBN connection should make the switch to faster internet sooner rather than later. Some locations are required to switch to an NBN plan within 18 months of the technology transfer. If you fail to do so, your current connection could be shut off.

Take a look at our comparison tool to compare some of the popular plans in your area, or use the NBN map to see what technology is available at your home.