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Anyone who loves the idea of speedy internet will be happy to know the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout is well underway, with the service already available to more than 3.5 million premises across the country.
NBN Co is working overtime to give the rest of Australia access by the 2020 deadline, but it’s a big job.
So, in order to get everyone connected as quickly as possible, NBN Co is making the most of the network infrastructure we’ve already got. However, because telecommunication networks currently vary from location to location, the technology they’re using to provide access to the NBN will also be different.
If you’re wondering what these different technologies are and how they work, here’s a quick rundown to get you up to speed.
What NBN technology is coming to my area?
Unless you live in a remote or regional area, it’s likely that you will be hooked up to the NBN via a standard fixed line connection – that’s what they call any connection that runs a physical, fibre optic line to your property.
There are four kinds of fixed line connections:
- Fibre to the premises (FTTP): A fibre optic cable carries the NBN signal from the exchange, through the nearest fibre node and right up to a specially installed network device on your premises.
- Fibre to the node (FTTN): A fibre optic cable transmits the NBN signal from the exchange to the nearest node, then relies on the existing copper wiring to carry it to your premises.
- Fibre to the building (FTTB): This option is typically used to connect apartment blocks. The signal runs through the fibre optic cable to the building’s communications room, and from there the existing network technology carries it to the individual apartments.
- Hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC): An existing ‘pay TV’ or cable network is used to carry the NBN signal from the nearest fibre node to a specially installed device on your premises.
If you live in a remote or regional area where your neighbours are few and far between, your NBN service may be delivered via a Fixed Wireless connection or the Sky Muster™ service.
- Fixed wireless connection: The data travels from a transmission tower through the air to a specially fitted antenna on your roof. The tower can transmit the data to properties up to 14km away. An approved installer or service provider will need to install a network device where the antenna cable enters your home.
- Sky Muster™ service: The Sky Muster™ satellite sends the NBN signal, which is picked up by a satellite dish on your roof. Again, you will need to have an approved installer or service provider fit a network device at the point where the cable from the dish enters your home.
If you are curious about which network technology might be coming to you, you can check the NBN Co map to see if you’re in the current rollout plan.
Can I choose the technology I get?
Depending on where you live, you may be able to pay to choose an alternative access technology through the NBN Co’s Technology Choice program if you meet certain eligibility criteria.
You would have to feel very strongly about switching though, as an Individual Premises Switch could set you back big bucks, and an Area Switch could cost even more.
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