A Guide to the National Broadband Network

by Jeremy

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a wholesale open-access data network on a national scale in Australia. The system includes radio and wired components operated by the publicly owned NBN corporation. Retail service providers, or RSPs, work under NBN to sell access to internet services to end users. Transfer to NBN is not automatic, so you should research available providers to move your electricity, internet, and phone services in the most beneficial way possible.

History of NBN

The NBN project is the most significant infrastructure endeavor in the country’s history. The rationale included the replacement of the aging copper cable network and creating a system that would meet the increasing demand for internet access across the nation. Initially proposed in 2009, the early plan for completion was 2016. This target was soon changed to 2019 and then to 2020. The original estimate for the project’s cost was around $29.5 billion, but by 2013 the cost had jumped to $46-56 billion. By late 2018, the entire project was projected to cost $51 billion. The project has been the center of political contention and an ongoing factor in elections since it was first proposed.

NBN Infrastructure

The NBN underwent a $4.5 billion upgrade in 2020 to increase internet speeds for 8 million residents.

Point of Interconnect (POI)

Individual RSPs connect to the NBN infrastructure through 121 POIs housed within telephone exchanges throughout the country. Transit networks transmit data from non-POI deals to the nearest POI.

Network Termination Device (NTD)

Customers maintain NTDs that enable interfacing with network bridges to access the NBN. NTDs provide several data channels using an external power source depending on the link used. Various technologies utilize different types of NTDs.

Connecting to the NBN

You can select an NBN provider and a service plan dependent on your needs.

Wired Technology

If you are using a fixed-line technology, your provider can let you know which of the following types you will be using:

  • Hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) is a technology system purchased by NBN that utilizes fiber optic and CATV technologies.
  • Fiber to the node (FTTN) includes a mixture of fiber optic and copper technology used for most NBN connections. Each node can service up to 384 homes. You will need a modem to access the network.
  • Fiber to the building (FTTB), equivalent to FTTN, is used for apartments and multi-dwelling buildings with the “node” situated within the building’s communication center.
  • Fibre to the curb (FTTC), once known as “fiber to the distribution point,” provides a fiber connection to a point on the street, then extends a copper connection to the premises. Your provider should give you a network-compatible modem to access the copper connections.
  • Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) provides a connection via fiber optics through a passive optical network, enabling peak speeds for customers of one gigabit per second. This technology is utilized for greenfield development.

Wireless Technology

Fixed wireless technology incorporates 2,600 transmission towers using optical fiber and microwave to cover approximately 500,000 rural premises through 4G mobile broadband services. Satellite services are available for Christmas Island, Lord Howe, and Norfolk Islands that are not reached by other technologies.

Connection Problems

Any issues with operation, repair, installation, or connection of phone or internet services through NBN should be directed to your service provider. You should note that equipment connected through the NBN will not be operational during a power outage.

In some situations, customized connections may be necessary. Your provider should work with NBN to make your home or business location serviceable in the shortest timeframe possible.

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