March 2018: The NBN build has begun in Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven and will be progressively available from April. The district is getting Fibre to the Node (FTTN) technology.
Many people are confused about what the NBN is and what it means for them. This article aims to give you a better understanding of the technology and what you need to think about when connecting to the NBN.
How it works: A few NBN nodes have been built around town. Theyare in large green metal cabinets on nature strips, located near grey cylindrical ‘pillars’. These pillars connect, via copper wires, to every house that has a telephone line. There is a node outside the church in Aireys Inlet, and others in Bambra Road, Aireys St, Wybellenna Drive and Yarringa Road. There may be more.
The rest of the world is connected to the town via an optical fibre cable to the Telstra exchange on Bambra Road. From the exchange, green fibre optical cables have recently been installed via existing ducts to each of the new node cabinets. Optical signals from the exchange will go to each node. This is where the optical fibre stops. Complex electronic circuitry in the nodes converts the optical signals to electrical signals, for transmission on a copper cable to the pillar.
When you are connected to the NBN a technician will go to the pillar, disconnect you from the existing copper wire to the telephone exchange and connect you instead to the nearby node. Once you are connected to the NBN your internet and telephone signals will come to you via the node.
If you are outside the town boundary or more than 1 km from a node, you may be offered NBN satellite connection or fixed wireless. This is relevant to a number of properties in the district. These are inferior services compared with fibre to the node. Try arguing that you need a micronode which is what we think will be provided in Eastern View. This is a small node that serves a smaller number of customers.
Connecting to the NBN: Eventually you must connect to the NBN even if you just want a landline phone. However, there is an 18 month period for people to move across to the NBN. You will need to choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to connect to the NBN.
Choosing an ISP and plan:
What you need to think about: Your current phone or internet provider may have sent you information, but you do not have to stay with that provider.
How do you decide what is best for your household? If you want access to the internet, you will need to consider the download and upload speed that you would like and the amount of data needed. But even if you chose the plan with the maximum download speed, the actual speed you get will depend on a number of factors including:
• the distance from your house to the node – the closer the faster;
• the number of people accessing the node at any one time – it will be slower when neighbourhood kids get home from school and in holiday periods when more people are using the internet;
• the quality of the copper line between the node and your house – this varies greatly – NBN had to replace corroded copper wires in Anglesea;
• the quality of the wiring in your house.
What speed and how much data do you need?
• There are many ISPs offering a range of plans with various speeds and amounts of data with competition for your business, so try to work out your needs.
• How fast do you want to be able to download and send files? You can check current upload and download speed on Ookla (speedtest.net).
• Do you need to download or upload large files for work or perhaps sharing movies of grandchildren with other parts of the world?
• Do you watch Netflix – how many different movies are watched at the one time in your house?
• If you plan on streaming to an Ultra High Definition TV, Netflix suggests 25 Mbps per TV.
Choosing a plan to match your needs
Choice has a good article on choosing an NBN plan https://www.choice.com.au/electronics-and-technology/internet/connecting-to-the-internet/articles/nbn-plans
Finally, if fibre to the premises (FTTP) had been connected, download speeds would not be an issue and there wouldn’t be ugly nodes that need electricity.
And no, 5G is not going to be a solution in the near future, but that is another story.