What is the NBN?
How does a changeover work?
What happens to my phone line?
What about alarm, fax machines etc?
I hear some people get very slow internet service, what’s the story?
Which provider to go with?
How much speed and download do I need?
SPEED (12/1, 25/5 or 100/40)
What should I be paying?
Contract or no contract?
Provider Contact Details:
The NBN (National Broadband Network) is the next generation super-fast internet service for Australia.
There are number of technologies used, but for us here in Freo and surrounds the main two types are Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).
The main difference is that FTTP runs a fibre optic cable all the way to house resulting in better speeds and future upgrades in speed are possible. New developments generally get FTTP which can also support two or more NBN connections to a single property.
FTTN runs cable to a Node (big green box thing) somewhere nearby, and then your existing copper phone line runs from the Node to deliver the internet to your property. The speed decreases with distance over the copper line, so the closer you are to the node the better your speed. Also faults with your existing copper will result in dropouts and speed degradation. Almost everyone is on FTTN, if you have ADSL at the moment and are changing to NBN you will get FTTN. FTTN has a current max speed to 100 MBPS (Mega Bits Per Second) download speed and 40 MBPS upload. This will be slower if you are more than about 100-200 Metres from your node. FTTN only supports one NBN Connection per property.
Firstly NBNCo, who own the network and do the installations, do not sell or talk directly to public. You must go through a Retail Service Provider (RSP). Find an RSP you are happy with and choose a plan (speed and download limit) that suits your particular needs. You will then need to sign up with the provider and they will process the application and communicate with NBNCo on your behalf. The RSP will typically give you an installation appointment date and time when NBNCo will change the line over to NBN for you. The date provided will depend on how many other people nearby are changing over and will generally be a week or more from the day of sign up. Your RSP will give you a ballpark indication of how long it will take them to perform the changeover once NBNCo does the phone line change over. In our experience this is usually a few hours, except if you go with BELONG Internet which takes a lot longer. We highly recommend again choosing Belong unless you enjoy downtime.
MOST PROVIDERS FAIL TO MENTION THIS AND IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT.
On the day of your installation you must ensure that your existing ADSL modem is not connected to the line any more. Plug in your new NBN modem the night before and wait. The reason for this is that most ADSL modems do not support VDSL (the technology used by FTTN NBN connections) and when the network detects an incompatible modem they instantly block your phone port to prevent your modem from potentially upsetting the whole network. If this occurs you must connect your new modem and call your provider to get your port unblocked.
top of page What happens to my phone line?
FTTN lines do not carry voice signals. Your phone line will not be able to make or receive phone calls once you have changed to FTTN. Most providers will supply with a new NBN Modem with the option of making calls using the internet. This is called VoIP (Voice over IP) and your provider will go through the ins and outs with you on your signup. Remember if your power fails or the internet is not working you will be unable to make phone calls.
top of page What about alarm, fax machines etc?
Since your phone line does not work anymore, monitor alarms, fax machines etc will need upgrades done to them. You should contact your supplier of these services to discuss in detail. Most monitored alarm companies will give you a new device to attach to your alarm that notifies the call centre by using the Mobile phone network instead of phone line. Best to be safe and discuss directly with your supplier.
top of page I hear some people get very slow internet service, what’s the story?
The NBN should be very fast, and certainly faster than ADSL for everyone. There is however a complication which has been a huge issue for a large number of people. The individual RSP must purchase bandwidth (speed) from NBNCo for each area. They call this CVC (Connectivity Virtual Circuit). Customers of providers who do not purchase enough CVC for a particular area will experience slowdowns during peak times. This is typically between 6 and 10 pm in our experience. The speed drop can be huge, and can certainly result in WORSE SPEEDS DURING THOSE TIMES THAN YOUR OLD ADSL CONNECTION! For example at home a client was getting the full 100 Mbps during the day, but at 9 pm a speed test showed he was now only getting 5mbps! This makes the internet almost unusable, laggy and slow. Unfortunately RSP’s do not reveal this information to their clients and the only way to know if this will affect you is to talk to others close by you about their experiences, or to change providers. The notable exception to this is a company called Aussie Broadband. They have a policy that they monitor customer speeds and automatically buy more bandwidth if their customers ever get slower speeds. For this reason they are the best provider to look at if you want reliability in speed for your new NBN connection. They also have no contract, so if you aren’t 100% thrilled you can change with no dramas.
top of page Which provider to go with?
Anyone except for Belong. We have put together a brief comparison list and will update as often as we can to help you choose the right provider for your situation. To be more detailed; all providers resell the same basic product. So if your line can only support 50 Mbps then changing to another RSP will not increase the speed past this point. Customer service is important so bear that in mind when choosing a provider. As mentioned before Aussie Broadband have a policy of monitoring their customers speeds and upgrading their CVC as required within a matter of hours, or days. This is pretty impressive and, coupled with their Australian call centres, will make them a popular choice. The only potential downside is that they currently do not offer unlimited download plans so it worth considering how much download you are likely to require. Having said that a reasonably heavy use customer, Ben, used 381 GB last month which included multiple devices on Netflix/Stan, 3 full iCloud backups and a heap of updating of devices and normal internet usage.
top of page How much speed and download do I need?
This is probably the hardest question to answer. If you are a hardcore downloader, then you are probably aware of this and should go unlimited. Since streaming media (Netflix, Stan, iView etc) are possibly the most popular uses of bandwidth consuming internet at the moment we will look at Netflix usage as a good barometer.
Netflix on Ultra HD (4k Resolution) uses approx. 7GB per hour (per device). On HD Netflix uses about 3GB per hour.
Most providers offer a choice of 12/1 (12 mbps download, 1mbps upload), 25/5 or 100/40. Download limits on the highest speed plans are generally available up to 1000GB per month or higher
High quality Netflix (UHD or 4k) uses 16mbps per second. This seems to be about the same for Facebook video as well. High Definition (HD 1080) uses about 6mbps. This means that a household with a 12/1 connection will not be able to stream 4k Netflix at all. If two people are using Netflix HD then there will be no internet left over for anything else. A household with a 25/5 connection will be able to have one 4k stream happening and have 8 mbps left over for other internet usage. Also 100/40 is so much better than 12/1 and it’s hard to really comprehend the difference until you have tried it. For this reason we would always recommend starting out with 100/40 for a month and you can always downgrade from there and see if you notice any impact.
A family with 2 kids will often have a family TV running Netflix, the two kids using iPads or laptops running Youtube or playing games, and a parent or two on facebook; this can easily be upward to 50 mbps of usage and will be noticeable slow on anything less.
Careful! Some providers, such as Belong, DO NOT OFFER 100/40 connections on FTTN at all! A client recently signed up with them, was assured they would get 100/40, but after weeks of mucking around we finally got them to admit that it was never going to happen as they don’t offer the service. The clients line was able to do a max of 87/50 so no technical reason to not get decent speed, only a provider imposed imitation. Your provider can typically tell you what your maximum line speed is likely to be by testing remotely.
top of page What should I be paying?
Most providers cost between $60 and $100 for a 100/40 connection with unlimited downloads. VoIP will generally add cost to the plan. The better customer service providers will generally be on the higher end of the scale, whereas the “no frills” RSP will be cheaper, but support may be limited or not meet expectations if something goes wrong. It is usually worth paying a little more to ensure that you get the speed, service and reliability.
top of page Contract or no contract?
It is highly recommended at this stage to a get a no contract deal with your RSP. Some providers may charge a bit more to do this. This allows you to change any time if you do not get the speeds/service you expect. It can cost a bit more in the short term and often you will have to pay a connection fee of around $80 to opt into a no contract plan. Obviously everyone’s situation is different, but it is pretty horrible if you get stuck in a deal where your internet is unusable at night time and the RSP is uncooperative in resolving the issue and refuses to buy more CVC.
When you enter a contract with the provider (typically two years) they will generally include a modem for free (saves about $100) and waived installation fee’s or offer a lower monthly rate. Do your own research by asking friends and neighbours how they are finding their internet, remembering that speeds are highly dependent on area, CVC and proximity to the node.
top of page ISP Comparison
Slow NBN- 12/1
|Name||Data||Price / mth||upfront||No contract||Notes|
|iiNet 500 GB||500 GB||$59.99||$0.00||NOT AVAILABLE|
|iiNet unlimited||Unlimited||$69.99||$0.00||NOT AVAILABLE||No data cap|
|Aussie Broadband - Basic 12||Unlimited||$50||NO CONTRACTS||NO SETUP FEE||BYO Modem or pre-configured modem $120, $160, $240|
|Name||Data||Price / mth||Upfront||No contract||Notes|
|Dodo 101GB||101GB||$60||$0.00||NOT AVAILABLE||101GB|
|Telstra 100 GB||100GB||$70.00||+$216 modem||1 month +$216 modem|
|Aussie Broadband Standard 25||Unlimited||$60||NO CONTRACTS||NO SETUP FEE||BYO Modem or pre-configured modem $120, $160, $240|
|Name||Data||Price / mth||Upfront||No contract||Notes|
|Dodo Unlimited||Unlimited||$70||$0.00||$0 modem + setup fees||No data cap|
|iiNet Unlimited||Unlimited||$79.99||$59.99 for Fetch||NOT AVAILABLE|
|Telstra||Unlimited||$90||$216 modem||Min 1 month + modem|
|Aussie Broadband Standard Plus 50||Unlimited||$65||NO CONTRACTS||NO SETUP FEE||BYO Modem or pre-configured modem $120, $160, $240|
|Name||Data||Price / mth||Upfront||No contract costs||Notes|
|iiNet unlimited||Unlimited||$99.99||$0.00||$79.95 setup + $89 modem||Unlimited data|
|Telstra||Unlimited||$120.00||$216 modem||1 Month + $216 modem|
|Aussie Broadband Premium 100||Unlimited||$85||NO CONTRACTS||NO SETUP FEE||BYO Modem or pre-configured modem $120, $160, $240|
Some most popular providers are:
Telstra – 1800 993 728 / website
iiNet (includes Westnet, TPG etc) – 13 19 17 / website
Aussie Broadband - 1300 880 905 / website
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