nbn™ & NBN Co
NBN Co is an Australian Government-owned corporation set up in 2009 to design, build, and run Australia's National Broadband Network (nbn).
The term broadband has always referred to high-speed internet access that, unlike dial up, is always on. One of the first broadband technologies in common use across Australia and the world was ADSL. But while ADSL was sufficient as a high-speed connection technology when it was first introduced, how people use the internet and the types of services available online have changed significantly since then.
Where we once only used a desktop computer or laptop to connect to the internet, we now still use those, in addition to smartphones, tablet devices, gaming consoles and media players or TV set top boxes. We have moved from using an internet connection to send and receive email and browse the internet, to now also streaming music, TV shows, and movies. And instead of just sending and receiving regular text messages, we now also want to be able to make and receive video and audio calls, while constantly checking our social media feeds. And it is rarely just a single person in a household doing this at any given time, it is everyone in the family wanting to do this at the same time.
The technology used with ADSL, primarily the copper line phone network, is not capable of supporting the high speeds and multiple connections we now need. Which is why NBN Co was formed. Referring to the network as a broadband network, instead of a fibre network, (the primary technology used for this rollout), means the focus is always on broadband, regardless of the connection technology used.
NBN Co and nbn users
As mentioned earlier, NBN Co designed, built, and runs the nbn. But when it comes to accessing the nbn, they are the wholesale provider. End users of the nbn would rarely deal or contract directly with NBN Co. Instead, NBN Co provides wholesale access to nbn™ service providers, who then offer nbn access and plans to consumers, residential and business users.
Switching to the nbn
One of the reasons for NBN Co’s accelerated rollout of the nbn was the fact that the old copper line network is nearing the end of its life. Aside from not supporting the higher broadband speeds consumers now need, upkeep of the ageing infrastructure is becoming more costly. The nbn replaces this, and throughout Australia the old copper line network is being shut down 6 - 18 months after the nbn becomes available in each area.
You aren’t forced to switch to the nbn, but once the nbn is available in your area you won’t be able to continue using ADSL and your home phone for much longer. The alternative to the nbn is mobile broadband, but if you decide to switch to the nbn, you will do this through a service provider and not NBN Co.
Although NBN Co has completed most of the installation of the technology used for the nbn, a small amount of the installation can only be completed when you sign up for the nbn for the first time. Once you have confirmed that your address has access to the nbn and have signed up for an nbn™ plan, then your new nbn service provider will make the necessary arrangements for this final installation to happen.
All nbn connections and plans support making and receiving phone calls using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, but this service is not turned on by default and you will need to ask your service provider to activate it once your installation is completed.
Changing your nbn connection type
NBN Co has used a Multi Technology Mix (MTM) system as part of their nbn rollout. The different types of connections used are:
- Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)
- Fibre to the Node/Fibre to the Building (FTTN/FTTB)
- Fibre to the Curb (FTTC)
- Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)
- Fixed Wireless
FTTP is considered the superior connection type, capable of supporting much higher speeds than the other technologies used. You may be eligible for a free upgrade through the fibre connect program. NBN Co have also said that all premises have the potential to support FTTP and have a Technology Choice Program allowing users to apply and pay for an upgrade to the connection technology at their location. This is one of the few times when an end-user would deal with NBN Co directly, since the application to change your connection type is made through NBN Co and not your service provider.
You can use our nbn™ rollout map to see what connection technology is used at your address and if you are eligible for an upgrade.
Dealing with nbn outages
Although the nbn promises to be more stable and reliable than ADSL, outages are still possible. There are many reasons why your nbn connection might suddenly go down and the first step to take is checking for known outages.
Our Network Status page shows all known nbn outages throughout Australia, along with details of the outage. If your area is shown to have a known outage, there are no other steps to take until the outage is no longer shown.
If no known outage is shown for your location, follow the steps in this guide to first rule out issues relating to your home network and equipment before contacting your service provider for additional support.