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Australia is currently undergoing a digital transformation from a predominantly copper network, to the national rollout of the Multi Technology Mix (MTM), predominantly on a fibre network. This will affect the way you currently use your landline, particularly in a power outage.

Why the change to the telecommunications network?

At nbn, our goal is simple. To deliver Australia's first national wholesale-only, open access phone and internet network to Australians. The nbn® network is a modern, high performing network designed to enable the phone and internet services that homes and businesses now consider as essential, just like water or electricity.

The existing telecommunications network is not universally fit for this purpose, as it was largely built at a time before our lifestyles were heavily reliant on the internet. With this comes a change to the way telecommunications have operated in the past in Australia, moving from a predominantly copper network to a predominantly fibre network – for 93% of Australian premises.

This change is essential for Australia to be competitive globally. We’ll see how much can be achieved when all Australians have access to fast and reliable internet. It will also greatly benefit the economy, health and government services and businesses nationwide.

What’s changed?

Some safety-critical devices like medical alarms, fire alarms and lift emergency phones may not be compatible with the nbn network at all times, including during a power blackout.

In addition, all types of landline phones (cordless phones, as well as older style un-powered corded phones) will not work in a power outage. This is because the nbn network requires power at both the exchange and within the home or business to operate. This is a key difference to the existing copper network which only requires power at one end (within the exchange) to enable the charge required for a landline phone to function.

While the nbn network has in-built power resiliency in parts, it’s not within nbn’s control to guarantee power at both ends of the network at all times– including within the millions of homes and businesses across Australia. A key consideration is that your electronic equipment (such as modems, cordless phones, TVs and Wi-Fi routers) connected over the nbn network will also need separate battery backup to work in a power outage.

A number of factors influence the resiliency of the nbn network to provide uninterrupted services during a power outage. Even with network power resiliency and in-premises battery backup, power outages may last longer than the battery life.

nbn recommends homes and businesses are always prepared to be without landline phone and internet services for a period of time.

Preparation is the key

If you use any of the following equipment, you should talk to your equipment provider about whether your device will work when connected to the nbn network and what alternative solutions are available if it doesn't.

Will my existing phone and internet services really stop working if I don’t do anything to connect my services to the nbn network?

Yes, this is the case for the 93% of Australian premises connected to the nbn network via a Fixed Line technology. You can see where Fixed Line technologies have been installed in the nbn rollout map. We recommend you move your services over to the nbn network well before they are switched off, which occurs 18 months after the network is switched on in your area.

Premises within nbn Fixed Wireless and nbn® Sky Muster satellite areas will have the choice to keep their existing landline phone service over the copper network active, or switch over to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service on the nbn network through a preferred phone and internet provider– connecting your new phone via the nbn supplied equipment.

Consider keeping your copper service active in nbn Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster satellite areas if you rely on landline phone services in emergency situations. Your phone and internet provider can assist with your services.

Monitored fire alarm or lift emergency phones

If you're responsible for any monitored fire alarms or lift emergency phones, consider these devices when to moving to the nbn network.