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Lightning strikes and damage to nbn™ equipment

Updated: 17 May 2021

NBN Co has identified an issue with a component in some of its Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) Network Connection Devices (NCDs) that causes some devices to fail under certain conditions (areas prone to lightning and which have high resistance to earth due to the local geology).  This combination of factors is uncommon and the issue affects only a proportion of the FTTC footprint. The affected devices have been certified under Australian safety standards and, in these instances, have been confirmed to fail in a safe way.

Although the component fails in a safe way, it does cause the home broadband connection to be lost, which is leading to a poor customer experience for some people in these areas.

There have been reports from some customers of black marks on devices and sometimes outside the device, on a table for example. Our supplier has confirmed to us that multiple devices with this marking have been inspected and that these black marks, which can be easily cleaned off, present no safety concern.

Having identified the issue, we are now deploying a strengthened NCD that is much less likely to fail in these conditions. In addition to this and the temporary measures already implemented, we have now started working  with internet service providers to look at how we can improve our ability to rapidly detect devices that fail and implement a ‘fast-track’ solution that aims to ship a replacement strengthened device directly to customers to plug and play within 24 hours of the fault being detected.

This focus on the rapid detection and replacement of failed devices will help us continue to minimise the disruption being experienced by some of those living in high lighting areas. In the meantime, we apologise to those customers whose service has been impacted and reiterate our ongoing commitment to working with internet service providers and local communities to help deliver a better customer experience.


Useful information for customers

Fibre to the Curb troubleshooting guide

Customers may wish to refer to this useful guide, which provides useful tips on troubleshooting your nbn™ Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) connection and also additional information on other useful resources.

FTTC troubleshooting guide

Download (PDF - 1 MB)

How to protect your equipment from Lightning Strikes and Electrical Surges

If there is an electrical storm in your area, you can reduce the chance of in-premises equipment being damaged by unplugging all connections to the nbn™ network connection device (NCD) including power, telephone cable and Ethernet cable to the home/Wi-Fi gateway for the duration of the storm. This will result in the loss of service until the NCD is re-connected. This is similar to advice provided by other device manufacturers, telephone networks and emergency services. Turning off the powerpoint switch will not be enough.

Outside of these times, we recommend ensuring your devices are plugged directly into a power outlet, not into double-adapters or power-boards.  

What to do if your nbn™ equipment is damaged by a Lightning Strike or Electrical Surge

Please contact your service provider if you are experiencing any service difficulties.