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What You Need to Know About the NBN

Darryl McAllister - Friday, May 05, 2017
What You Need to Know About the NBN

With the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout progressing across Australia, many businesses can expect to be contacted by Internet Service Providers (ISP) with offers regarding the new network… if they haven’t made contact already!

Because the NBN has been so heavily debated and publicized in the media, there is a lot of confusion, excitement and misconception associated with the new network… but rest assured, you don’t have to be a technological guru to understand your options.

NetCare are NOT an Internet Service Provider. As trusted IT support specialists, our interests lie in making sure your business receives the best possible Internet solutions.

Typically, ISPs will overwhelm you with information on their ‘special offers’ to entice your business, so it is extremely important to understand what service is being offered, as not all NBN connections are created equal!

The information below is provided to help you understand the different NBN solutions available, and prepare you with some basic knowledge for when the service providers comes knocking.

We always encourage you to call us before signing up for a new plan, as we can check the fine print and ensure the technology being provided is suitable for your business.

If you have any further questions or concerns about making the inevitable switch to the NBN, contact NetCare for expert independent advice on ensuring your business has the right connection for the future.

What is the NBN?

The NBN is a nation-wide network being constructed by the Federal Government with the aim to give all Australian homes and businesses access to a fast and reliable Internet connection.

The Federal Government have committed to implementing a multi-technology-mix (MTM) network, incorporating a core network of fast-speed fibre-optic cables, as well as existing copper phone lines, wireless and satellite solutions.

Currently, teams of installers are working right across the country to connect every home and business to the network – with completion expected by 2021.

To find out when the network is coming to your neighbourhood, check out the NBN rollout map.

It is important to understand that as a multi-technology mix (MTM) network, not all NBN connections are created equal due to the difference technologies being utilized – continue reading for more information!

Different types of NBN connection

As a multi-technology mix network, there are 7 types of NBN connection:

Fibre-to-the-Premises

Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) is the premium NBN connection where your premises is connected directly to the network via fibre optic cable, providing the fastest and most consistent connection available.

The original NBN model proposed by the Rudd Labor Government had FTTP running directly to 93% of Australian premises; however, after the Coalition Government reshaped the NBN model in 2013, FTTP projections lowered to between 17% - 21% of (lucky) premises.

Fibre-to-the-Node

Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) connection means an optic fibre is run to a central cabinet – or node – that then services a neighborhood. The premises in that neighborhood then connect to the node via existing copper wires, providing a slightly less efficient connection than FTTP.

Fibre-to-the-Basement

Fibre-to-the-Basement is basically FTTN for apartment buildings or complexes. Its when an optic fibre is run to a central node within a complex, and the individual apartments are connected via existing copper wires.

According to most current predictions, between 43% and 54% of premises will be connect to the National Broadband Network via FTTN or FTTB technology.

Fibre-to-the-Distribution-Point

Fibre-to-the-Distribution-Point (FTTdp) is the newest acronym associated with the NBN, and is a sort of half-way service between FTTP and FTTN. Instead of a fibre running directly to the property or central node, the fibre is laid directly to a property’s curb, with the final connection from curb to premises utilizing the existing copper phone lines. FTTdp can also be referred to as Fibre-to-the-Kerb or Fibre-to-the-Curb.

The shorter copper connection length can facilitate faster speeds, and also makes it potentially cheaper and easier to connect a direct fibre-to-premises at a later date.

Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial Cable

Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) Cable, more commonly referred to as ‘Cable’, is an existing network technology being refurbished as part of the NBN rollout. Working similarly to FTTN, fibre is run to a central node in a neighborhood, and then coaxial cables connect to each premise. Coaxial cables are similar to copper cables, but are insulated to prevent interference and allow for higher speed data transfer.

Its currently predicted that 21% - 27% of Australian premises will be connected through HFC, with most of these being in capital cities where Cable Internet or Pay TV connections are already being used.

Fixed Wireless

Fixed Wireless is the solution for rural properties to connect to the NBN. Fixed Wireless NBN connection will use ground stations and 4G radio signals to connect approximately 5% Australian homes and businesses to the Internet.

Satellite / Sky Muster

Approximately 3% of Australian properties that currently have limited or no Internet connectivity will be able to connect to the NBN via a pair of Sky Muster satellites. Satellite connection will be typically provided to rural or remote homes and businesses.

NBN and nbn™

The NBN is the network being constructed by the government organization known as nbn™, who act as a wholesaler to your retail Internet Service Provider (ISP).

It sounds confusing, but it’s quite simple - nbn™ are responsible for building the infrastructure that will deliver the NBN, and your ISP is the retail Internet company you will pay your monthly bills to.

You can browse the list of ISPs offering NBN connection to businesses on the nbn™ website.

How do you connect to the NBN?

In most cases, connecting to the NBN is completely free. The government covers the cost of bringing the NBN to your premises, including any equipment required. With teams of installers building the necessary infrastructure to deliver the network… all you need to do is pay the monthly bills once you have selected your new NBN plan.

However, for businesses located in a retail complexes, commercial office blocks or high rise buildings, nbn™ may need to engage with the body corporate or building owner to connect the individual properties to the network.

Will the NBN be faster?

The NBN is designed to deliver a faster Internet service for all Australians… though for those already happy with their current Internet connection, the benefits may not be so obvious.

Ultimately, the fibre-optic cabling at the core of the NBN transfers high speed data much faster than existing copper - used for ADSL - or coaxial cabling used for ‘Cable’ Internet.

However, with the revised MTM plan incorporating a number of different technologies to connect to the NBN (as explained above), in cases where these existing cables are still being used for the final connection to the premises, the NBN service being offered may be very similar to current services.

The current four NBN speed tiers are:

  • NBN 12: 12Mbps download / 1Mbps upload
  • NBN 25: 25Mbps download / 5Mbps upload
  • NBN 50: 50Mbps download / 20Mbps upload
  • NBN 100: 100Mbps download / 40Mbps upload

View a comprehensive comparison of how the NBN differs from current ADSL, Cable and Wireless services.

Will the NBN be more expensive?

As part of the Federal Government’s NBN commitment, they control the wholesale pricing of the network so as to make it reasonably available to the current market – meaning the NBN generally shouldn’t be more expensive.

However, if you specifically want the fastest speeds available from the new network, you may end up paying more than you currently pay in order to receive technology upgrades that will deliver a speed boost to your premises.

Can you choose your NBN connection?

The technology used to initially connect your premises to the NBN is already decided under the Federal Government’s roll-out plan, however nbn™ do offer options to switch to an alternate or preferred NBN technology for an additional fee.

More information on the Technology Choice Program.

Which ISP is the Best?

Once again, we suggest you contact us before you sign up for the NBN. We have our favourites - ISP's that we can liaise with at a technical level and in a timely fashion on behalf of our clients.

And via the school of hard knocks we're also aware of the ISPs that aren't as relaible in responding quickly when there's a service issue to be sorted out.

Besides, moving to the NBN is also a good opportunity to speak with us about VoIP phone system options and also whether its possible to remove all legacy copper cable lines also.