The National Broadband Network, commonly known as the NBN, is the Australian Government’s initiative to upgrade and expand the country's internet infrastructure. It's transforming the way Australians connect, work and play online, but what exactly is the NBN and how does it impact your internet experience?
In this comprehensive Savvy guide, we'll break down the NBN, explain how it works and explore its various aspects, including its speeds and connection types. Whether you're a new homeowner, business owner or simply looking at making the switch, find out all you need to know with us today!
The NBN, or National Broadband Network, is a government-led rollout of new technology to upgrade and modernise the country's telecommunications infrastructure. It's designed to provide faster, more reliable and widely accessible internet connections to homes and businesses across Australia. The NBN replaces older copper cable ADSL networks with advanced technology, including fibre optic cables and fixed wireless and satellite connections, although copper is partly used in some cases.
This nationwide project aims to bridge the digital divide, even offering solutions to remote and rural areas where the internet wasn’t previously reliable. The NBN promises faster download and upload speeds, smoother video streaming than the previous ADSL infrastructure was capable of offering, as well as more reliable online experiences than connections using mobile networks, such as home wireless broadband.
The NBN offers a range of speed tiers to accommodate different needs. Speeds can vary based on factors like your location, the type of NBN connection you have, and your chosen plan. Here are the typical evening speeds you can expect from each tier:
With so much choice when it comes to speeds, the NBN offers users greater flexibility to select a plan which closely caters to your needs as an individual, family or business. Because of this, it’s essential to take stock of your internet needs before you commence the process, such as how much you use it and what you use it for, as this can help inform which plan is most suitable for you.
Hooking your home or business up to the NBN involves various connection types, each with its own installation process. Here's how you can connect to the NBN based on these different connection technologies:
FTTP is the most advanced NBN connection types. It involves running high-speed optical fibre cables directly to your premises. This provides a reliable internet connection, protected from speed degradation which occurs over copper cables. Data travels as pulses of light through these fibre optic cables, allowing for very high potential speeds and making it one of only two connections capable of supporting all speed tiers on the NBN.
FTTN connects fibre optic cables to a nearby node in your area. The remaining distance to your premises is covered by existing copper phone lines. Data travels over fibre optic cables to the node, then switches to the copper lines for the last leg of the journey. FTTN can support speeds up to NBN 100 but may be limited by the quality and length of the existing copper lines.
FTTC is similar to FTTN but involves running fibre optic cables closer to your premises, typically to the curb outside your home or your driveway. The final connection from the curb to your home or business is made through the existing copper or coaxial cables. FTTC can provide higher speeds and reliability compared to FTTN because it reduces the reliance on copper lines, but can still only support up to NBN 100.
FTTB is designed for apartment buildings or multi-storey offices. Fibre optic cables connect to the building's telecommunications room or basement. From there, existing copper cables are used to distribute the NBN connection to individual dwellings or offices. FTTB can support speeds up to NBN 100 but may be impacted by the quality of internal building wiring.
HFC uses a combination of fibre optic cables and existing coaxial cables previously used for pay TV to deliver high-speed internet. Data travels via fibre to a nearby node, then continues over coaxial cables to your premises. HFC can provide fast speeds, potentially up to NBN 1000 like FTTP, but performance may vary depending on network congestion and the quality of the coaxial cables.
Fixed Wireless connects premises in rural and regional areas to the NBN using radio signals transmitted from nearby towers. An outdoor antenna is installed on your property to receive the wireless signal, which is then routed to an indoor modem. Fixed Wireless can provide internet access in areas where other connection types are not feasible, but speeds may vary from 12Mbps to 75Mbps for downloads.
Satellite NBN relies on communication satellites orbiting Earth. A satellite dish installed on your property sends and receives signals to and from the satellite. Satellite NBN is used in very remote and rural areas where other forms of connectivity aren’t available. It may offer speeds up to 100Mbps in some cases, but it may have higher latency compared to other NBN types due to the long distance signals must travel to reach the satellite and back.
The specific installation process for each connection type varies, with some requiring a technician and others not, but NBN Co or your chosen service provider will guide you through the steps required for your connection type.
The cost of NBN plans can vary based on several factors, and it's important to consider these when choosing a plan that suits your needs:
To find the right NBN plan for your budget, consider your speed requirements, data usage habits, contract preferences and any additional services you might need. Comparing different providers and plans with Savvy can help you identify the most cost-effective option available which meets your internet needs.
Savvy is partnered with Econnex Comparison (CIMET Sales Pty Ltd, ABN 72 620 395 726) to provide readers with a variety of internet plans to compare. We do not compare all retailers in the market, or all plans offered by all retailers. Savvy earns a commission from Econnex each time a customer buys an internet plan via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased directly, as all purchases are conducted via Econnex.
Any advice presented above is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an internet plan. For further information on the variety of internet plans compared by Econnex, or how their business works, you can visit their website.