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Frequent questions about connecting to the nbn™ network

We tackle some key questions about the nbn™ network, covering plans based on wholesale speed tiers, service providers, data, device compatibility, and switch-off dates.

Whether the nbn™ network is available in your area now, or it’s scheduled to arrive by 2020, there are some important questions to address before switching from your existing network technology.

Let’s break down some key nbn™ network questions and point you in the right direction for additional information.

What plans are offered?

First and foremost, it’s important to note that nbn is a wholesale broadband provider.

We offer nbn™ network plans to Retail Service Providers (RSPs), which means we don’t sell directly to the end user.

Our customers are the RSPs, who in turn sell plans on to their customers (consumers and businesses), also known as the ‘end user’.

It’s up to the end user to choose an RSP plan that best suits their needs.

End user online experiences, including broadband speed and capacity achieved on the nbn™ network, is in part determined by their preferred RSP and chosen plan.

While the nbn™ network plays an important role in Australia’s internet infrastructure, it is just one step in the connectivity chain when it comes to overall internet speed and performance.

The network technology that a certain premises has access to may affect what plans based on wholesale speed tiers are available.

It is recommended end users ask their RSP what technology they have access to, and what plans are available at their address.

Another consideration is hardware within the home. Modems, routers or wireless networking equipment may also impact connection speeds.

Which Retail Service Providers are available to me?

Visit the nbn™ home page and check your address to find out which RSPs are available to connect your premises to the nbn™ network.

If your home address is ready for service, you’ll be provided with a list of available RSPs in your area.

If the nbn™ network isn’t yet available in your area, you’ll see a web page with information about estimated availability and planned technology.

On this page, you can input your email address and click ‘Register’ to receive updates on when the nbn™ network will be available in your area.

Explaining the technology model

The nbn™ network utilises a Multi Technology Mix model, made up of fixed line, Fixed Wireless (FW), and Sky Muster™ satellite connections.

Fixed line connections use a physical line that connects directly to a premises. They include Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN), Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB), and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC). In the near future, they will be joined by Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC).

Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster™ services are predominantly used in areas where homes and businesses are geographically spread out.

Which RSPs are available at a given premises is partly dependent on the area and what nbn™ technology is available.

Keep in mind that it’s ultimately up to RSPs to decide in which areas they want to operate, based on their own internal business decisions.

What plan suits my needs?

RSPs offer a range of plans to choose from, varying in both speed and monthly download allowance.

A plan based on one of the higher wholesale speed tiers can mean that a single online task, such as a file download, is accomplished more quickly than on a plan based on a lower wholesale speed tier. It can also mean more devices may be used concurrently on a home network before there is a noticeable drop in online experience.

End users who are unsure as to which plan based on an nbn wholesale speed tier might best suit their home can speak to their preferred RSP about their usage and needs.

Read these nbn™ blog posts for an idea of data-usage expectations for streaming music, streaming video, and online gaming.

Will my devices be compatible with the nbn™ network?

The rollout of the nbn™ network will involve new technologies and some existing devices may not be compatible with these at all times.

It’s important to check your address to find out when the nbn™ network is coming to you and talk to your device provider to understand the compatibility of your existing devices with the new network. Your provider can help minimise a break in service as your area is switched to the nbn™ network.

Equipment connected over the nbn™ network will not work during a power blackout. Click here for more information about how each technology used in the nbn™ Multi Technology Mix (MTM) is affected by power loss.

FTTN and FTTB require a VDSL2-compatible modem. This VDSL2-compatible modem should be supplied by your RSP when you sign up to a plan. It is not supplied by nbn.

If you already have a modem you wish to use, check with your device provider to ensure it’s VDSL2 compatible. An ADSL2+ modem will not necessarily work.

As for non-fixed-line services, Fixed Wireless uses an nbn™ connection box, and Sky Muster™ uses an nbn-supplied modem.

Just like with the connection boxes for fixed line nbn™ connections, these networking devices must be installed by an approved nbn™ Installer or service provider.

Once a compatible nbn™-ready networking device is installed and your services are activated, other connected devices – routers, computers, smart TVs, game consoles, smartphones, tablets, etc. – should be able to connect.

This is based on the assumption that the connected technology within a premises isn’t outdated.

The nbn™ network rollout uses new technologies that may not always be compatible with some existing connected devices.

If in doubt, end users can check with the device provider or RSP for more information.

Do I need to switch to services over the nbn™ network?

When a premises is made ready for service (RFS), its residents will be notified.

At this stage, end users are able to contact their preferred RSP to connect to the nbn™ network.

For services provided over most of the existing landline networks, there’s a switch-off date once an area has been upgraded to the nbn™ network. ^

The switch-off date is determined by the area and when it received, or will receive, access to the nbn™ network.

In some cases, such as in areas connected to Fixed Wireless and satellite nbn™ services, there may be no switch-off date for existing landline and ADSL services. ^

The switch-off timeframe for affected fixed line technologies is usually around 18 months after residents of an upgraded area have been notified about the nbn™ network’s availability.^

After the switch-off date, landline phone and internet services over most of the existing landline networks will need to have been moved to the nbn™ network, but once again this can be dependent on location and technology.^ Residents of RFS premises will be notified of what is required of them and within what timeframe.

While residents will receive reminders about the switch-off date, switching in advance is recommended, as it may take time for changeover requests to come into effect.

Moving from existing technologies to the nbn™ network is not an automated process.

Interested end users will need to contact their preferred RSP to discuss information on how they might move across to the nbn™ network.

Foxtel Pay TV, whether connected by Telstra Cable or satellite, won’t be disconnected as part of the nbn™ network rollout.

The nbn™ network rollout includes new access technologies that may be incompatible with some existing devices and technologies.

These devices may be impacted by the nbn™ network rollout:

  • Medical alarm, auto-dialler, or emergency call button#
  • Security alarm
  • EFTPOS or health-claim terminal
  • Monitored fire alarm
  • Lift emergency phone
  • Fax and teletypewriter devices

Talk with your device provider about device compatibility to help minimise a break in service once your area has switched to the nbn™ network. ^

Additional information

Access to the nbn™ network is already available to one-third of Australians. By mid-2017, the rollout will be halfway complete. By 2018, the network rollout is scheduled to be three-quarters complete.

The nbn™ network rollout is scheduled to be completed by 2020. Contact nbn for additional information.

Contact your preferred RSP for information about plans, pricing, and ordering services over the nbn™ network.

Additionally, contact your preferred RSP for enquiries about installation and activation, as well as ongoing support and troubleshooting.

Check your address to see if you can connect to the nbn™ network.

^ Services provided over the nbn™ network will be replacing phone and internet services provided over most of the existing landline networks, including copper and the majority of HFC networks within the fixed line footprint. Services provided over existing fibre networks (including in-building, health and education networks) and some special and business services may not be affected. To find out if your services will be affected, please contact your current phone or internet provider. For more information, visit or call 1800 687 626.

# The nbn™ network will replace most of the existing landline phone and internet networks. It also involves new technologies, which some existing devices may not be compatible with. That means, if you have a medical alarm it's important that you register it with nbn and call your medical alarm provider for advice and to find out if your service will work on the nbn™ network. Make sure you do this well before your existing landline phone network is disconnected. Registering your alarm with nbn is free and helps us identify homes where support may be needed to help minimise a break in services. To register, visit: or call 1800 227 300, 9am to 5pm, AEST Monday to Friday.

Last updated on 21 February 2018

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