Ask LH: Is Connecting To NBN FTTN A Waste Of Money?

Dear Lifehacker, I recently had NBN FTTN made available at my house. My questions are: Do I bother signing up for FTTN and get stuck on outdated tech? I realise I shouldn’t complain about getting faster internet, but I feel that getting the FTTN right now is bad timing. Do I hold off for FTTP or fibre to the driveway? If the government changes the plan to roll out FTTP or another type of technology, will I be stuck on FTTN while everyone else gets the latest and greatest? Are there any plans/suggestions that FTTN enabled areas will ever be upgraded if the government changes the rollout plan? Thanks, Fibre To The No Idea


The NBN is a mess. We all know this, and with an election (and new technology) on the horizon, it’s understandable to be sceptical of the possibility of getting ‘stuck’ with FTTN. There are two things to consider as you think about upgrading, however — how much is it going to cost you to connect to the NBN, and just how bad is the timing anyway?

You have lots of options when it comes to picking a provider, and though prices will vary, you’re looking at around $100/month or more for superfast internet with either 1000GB or unlimited data included. iiNet, for example, has 1000GB of superfast internet for $99.99 on a 24 month contract. Of course, on FTTN, there’s no guarantee that superfast plans will actually be superfast, and you can get slower ‘boost’ plans for something closer to $70. A number of providers also do month-to-month plans if you don’t want to be locked into this plan for the next two year.

The thing to consider, however, is that the NBN is as much a political football as anything, and politics moves slowly. It’s highly unlikely that an upgraded NBN would be rolled out in your area within the next 24 months anyway, even if FTTP, FTTdp or any other technology moves back onto the NBN agenda in the next couple of months.

The Coalition’s original plan to move to FTTN was announced after the 2013 election, yet it wasn’t until the end of 2014 when the FTTN rollout even began to show some momentum.

While the FTTN that you now have available at your house is essentially already outdated technology, it’s (unfortunately) likely to be the only boost to your internet speeds that you’ll see within the next few years. It’s up to you whether you choose to upgrade or not, but remember you can always go for a month-to-month plan if you don’t want to be locked into a 24 month contract.


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