The government declared last September that a $4.5 billion upgrade to National Broadband Network (NBN) was to be implemented. This will give 8 million households access to quicker fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) internet on-demand. This is projected to be completed by 2023.
A quick run-through of terminology
To better appreciate the significance of this update, here’s a quick run-through of some terminology:
1. Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)
FTTP is the optical fibre connection running from a households to the network. This gives reliable high-speed internet. The network is simply the exchange point in which the broadband connections are handed to service providers like Telstra.
The Rudd Government originally envisioned FTTP for the NBN way back 2009. This was changed by the Abbott Government. They preferred FTTN and mixed technologies to save money.
2. Fibre to the Node (FTTN)
The FTTN serves to approximately 4.7 million locations in Australia. A copper line connects the household to a node, which is then connected to the network using fibre optic cables. These transfer data quicker than copper cables.
The speed of any parts of the FTTN that uses a mixture of fibre and copper cables is relatively slow. This depends on network conditions, including the age of the copper cable.
3. Fibre to the Curb (FTTC)
This is used to sidestep the limitations of FTTN. The fibre cables are extended from the network up to a distribution point unit in a curb side box. This unit turns into the node of the network.
FTTC permits faster data transmission since it services fewer households. It also decreases the length of the copper cable needed.
4. Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)
The NBN utilises coaxial cables instead of copper cables in several areas. Telstra and Optus installed these in the 1990s to provide cable broadband and television. They were modernised to be used in the NBN’s fibre network.
HFC systems should theoretically be able to give internet speed of up to 100 Mbps. Unfortunately, households cannot achieve this because of poor cabling infrastructure. Several households also share a single coaxial cable.
What will happen during the upgrade?
The network investment plan includes the following:
- The NBN will offer the highest wholesale speed tiers to 75% of businesses and homes on the fixed-line network.
- Take fibre deeper into neighbourhoods serviced by FTTN technology. This enables on-demand fibre upgrades to reach up to 1 Gbps.
- Upgrade the capacity of the HFC network to sustain the provision of 1 Gbps speeds to all clients in this technology.
- Implement a program on the FTTC network that gives consistent speed up to 100 Mbps across the technology.
- Implement a line speed uplift program by fixing in-home cabling issues for locations on the FTTN network.
- Approximately $700 million will be used to support innovation, growth, and productivity of businesses. This will be done by giving businesses more affordable and accessible business-grade fibre services.
- Approximately $300 million will be used on partnerships between the NBN Co and local councils. This aims to improve broadband services in regional Australia.
NBN Co reported last October that they have started to extend fibre in some regional and metropolitan areas. This includes Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Queensland, and Western Australia.
Will I be affected by this data and communication upgrade?
The government has not yet given details on the specific areas they will upgrade. They only declared that 6 million more homes will be able to get faster speeds by 2023.
You’re probably in line if your household has a slow FTTC or FTTN connection. However, the fibre extension is a demand-driven upgrade. This means that only those who can afford to pay for higher internet speed can apply for the upgrade.
An additional 2.5 million homes on the cable network will also be scheduled for an upgrade. People will be able to connect around mid to late 2021. NBN also projects that 900,000 homes will be upgraded in the year 2024.
How will it work?
NBN Co will upgrade the parts of its fixed line network that are performing poorly. This will be mainly the FTTC and FTTN to facilitate download speeds of at least 100 Mbps. This will allow households to upgrade to full fibre at their own cost.
NBN will extend fibre lines from the nodes of the end of a street to cover the whole street. This will permit a client to apply for a higher speed plan. NBN will fulfil this by extension of the fibre’s last bit from the street to the home.
NBN will pay for upgrades of the physical cable network to allow clients to get up to 1Gbps.
How much will it cost?
This is not yet clear. According to the NBN, the upgrades are demand-driven. Those who wish to have higher speeds are not required to be locked in a contract. There is no benefit in upgrading if you don’t wish to have faster internet speed.
The 1Gbps plans are not cheap. It is estimated to cost around $149 per month. The cost also depends on the retail internet provider.
Do you need a technician to install NBN?
NBN is considered as a wholesale-only network. There are around 100 phone and internet providers that sell services over the NBN.
You need to choose carefully which provider best addresses your needs. The list of providers is found on NBN’s website. All you need to do is check with your builder or developer if they already applied to access the NBN.
Prepare to upgrade to NBN with Sunstone Electrical and Data.
It won’t be long before the NBN is fully rolled out in Australia. Soon, most homes and businesses in the country will have access to incredibly fast internet. Make sure that you don’t get behind by getting our services below:
- Switch and hub installation
- Patch panel and communication cabinet installation
- Fibre optic cabling
- Integrated voice and data systems