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Put simply, Fibre to the Building is the technology used to connect apartment blocks and larger office buildings to the NBN network.1 As its name suggests, FTTB does this using a combo of your buildings existing technology, and a fibre optic cable fed into the building.2
For the technically minded reader, here’s a slightly more detailed explanation of the ins-and-outs of FTTB:
Inside your MDU (which stands for Multi Dwelling Unit, and is just a fancy way of saying ‘building’) there will be a communication room that houses an NBN-installed node.3 A fibre optic line runs to your building and connects to this node.4 From there, the system hooks up to your building’s existing communications cabling which then carries the NBN to each individual apartment or office where it pops out ready to connect you to the wonderful world of the web.5
The NBN has taken a Multi Technology Mix (MTM) approach to connection methods.6 This is just a fancy way of saying that there’s lots of different ways to connect to the NBN. Fibre to the Building (FTTB) shares the same technology with another option, Fibre to the Node (FTTN), which connects homes via street cabinets (or ‘nodes’).7
However, FTTB goes the extra distance and brings the connection all the way to your building, which means there could be less chance of losing a signal due to things like line interference from a FTTN node. Ultimately, though, FTTN and FTTB are quite similar connections.8
There’s also another major MTM technology called Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC). Unlike FTTB/FTTN, it uses coaxial copper cable traditionally used for digital pay TV services.9
If you're lucky, you'll be in an area that has Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). FTTP uses fibre optic cables all the way to your premises10 (eliminating copper entirely, along with many of the speed and stability issues associated with it), giving you the ability to access speeds of up to 1Gbps!11 Now that’s fast!
The NBN offers six different speed tiers, but the availability of these speed tiers will depend on the type of technology your premises is connected to, as well as the speed tiers on offer by your phone and/or internet provider.12
There are a range of other factors that can affect the speed of your internet connection such as your building’s cabling, how your provider configures their network and manages their traffic etc.,13 but with FTTB, you could expect download speeds of up to 100Mbps.14
The only piece of equipment you'll need before connecting to the NBN with FTTB is a VDSL2 compatible modem.15
If your existing modem is not compatible, a number of contracted FTTB NBN plans may come with a modem included (although there may be a delivery charge) while other providers may be able to offer a compatible modem at a cost.
If you haven’t already been connected to the NBN, you can check your address on the NBN website to see if the NBN network is available in your area, or if it will be available soon.16
Once your area is connected to the NBN, an approved NBN technician may come to your home to test and activate the service in the building before you connect to the NBN with your modem.17
If your home is already connected to the NBN, then you’ll need to get in touch with your preferred internet provider and find a suitable NBN plan for your household.18
This depends on your internet provider, as well as where you live and the technology and infrastructure that needs to be installed.
Perhaps you’re moving into a new development? In this case, some providers may charge you a new development fee when they have to install the NBN equipment from scratch.19
Ultimately, it’s up to your provider. They may charge you with a new line connection fee to cover set up charges, as well as the modem and any applicable delivery fees.
Yes, you may experience some minor disruptions while your FTTB connection is being set up, but if you continue to experience disruptions after the connection is completed, get in touch with your provider to see if they can figure out what’s going on, as it’s possible that your provider could be having some issues, too!
As mentioned earlier, your internet speed can be affected by many things, but if lots of people are using the internet in your building and you’re concerned about traffic in peak periods, then you may benefit from choosing a higher speed NBN plan.20
You can enter your home or business address on the NBN website to see exactly what type of NBN connection you have.
Need help figuring out which NBN plan might be suitable for you? The good news is we’re here to help.
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1 NBN - Fibre to the Building explained (FTTB)
2 As above.
3 As above.
4 As above.
5 As above.
6 NBN - The technology that connects your premises
7 NBN - Fibre to the Node explained (FTTN)
8 Aussie Broadband - What is Fibre to the Node (FTTN) Broadband?
9 NBN- Hybrid Fibre Coaxial explained (HFC)
10 NBN - Fibre to the Premises explained (FTTP)
11 NBN - Upgrade to NBN’s fast fibre
12 NBN - You have a choice of speeds
13 NBN - Fibre to the Building explained (FTTB)
14 Dodo - NBN Speed Tiers
15 NBN - Preparing for the NBN Broadband Access Network, NBN Fibre to the Building (FTTB), page 3.
16 NBN - Check your address
17 NBN - Preparing for the NBN Broadband Access Network, NBN Fibre to the Building (FTTB), page 3.
18 As above.
19 Aussie Broadband - Does Aussie Broadband charge any set-up fees?
20 NBN - Preparing for the NBN Broadband Access Network, NBN Fibre to the Building (FTTB), page 6.