The NBN may have been ‘complete’ as of last year, but plenty of Aussies around the country are still living with outdated internet technology.
Years ago, the Coalition scrapped the Labor government’s plan of rolling out full-fibre internet on the NBN. This has resulted in a bunch of different connection options, some of which can’t reach peak speeds.
To rectify this, the government is rolling out a full-fibre upgrade across parts of its network. If you’re living with an FTTN connection, there’s a chance you’ll be in line for the upgrade. Here’s how it works.
What is the NBN fibre upgrade?
Last year, the federal government announced a plan to upgrade half of all Fibre to the Node (FTTN) connections to a faster Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) network.
FTTN connections make use of old copper phone wiring, which can’t carry the same quick speeds as fibre. Generally, the copper wiring will run from your house to a central node somewhere nearby which is then connected to the NBN via fibre.
Fibre connections themselves are generally faster because they make use of fibre optic cabling. This cabling is filling with glass filaments that are used to send data via light signals and lasers. It’s true next-gen stuff which is why it’s the preferred choice.
Switching the copper wiring to full-fibre will allow residents in the area to upgrade to faster internet plans and potentially achieve 1 gigabit per second speeds.
According to NBN Co, 1 Gbps speeds would allow you to do things like download a whole game from an online store in minutes or perform an OS update in seconds. So, it’s definitely something you want to see, particularly if you download large files frequently.
The new fibre upgrade also includes money towards upgrading a handful of HFC and FTTC connections, alongside FTTN, for an estimated cost of $3.5 billion by 2023.
You can check which type of NBN connection your premises has here.
Which areas are eligible for an upgrade?
Over the last year, NBN Co has been gradually announcing the suburbs that will be eligible for the fibre upgrade.
NBN Co is selecting suburbs based on a list of eligibility criteria which includes demand, workforce availability and cost-effectiveness.
There are 2 million homes expected to be upgraded with FTTP by 2023 and approximately 1.4 million have been listed so far.
You can see a full list of suburbs that have been announced here and also register yourself for updates.
When and how to upgrade if you’re eligible
While NBN Co will work on upgrading the physical wiring, customers will still need to do some work to take advantage of faster speeds.
This involves signing up for a faster plan with an internet service provider. The fibre upgrade should allow customers to sign up for select ultrafast plans like NBN 1000, which they wouldn’t have been able to access previously.
NBN Co expects the first eligible premises will be able to order a new plan in a small-scale launch by November 2021, with more to follow in 2022.