NBN Cut-Off Date: Everything You Need To Know

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Many Australians risk losing their phone and internet access in 2017, with their home services cut off if they fail to switch to the National Broadband Network service available in their area. The shutdown date is looming for almost 350,000 Australian homes and businesses. Here's what you need to know.

After getting off to a slow start, the NBN rollout has reached 3.5 million premises across the country. While the network initially planned to run fibre to the premises at 93 per cent of homes and businesses, the new-look multi-technology mix will see the lion's share of premises rely on potentially slower fibre to the node connections. Telstra's metro-centric HFC cable broadband network will also be retained as part of the NBN, but not the Optus cable network.

While 3.5 million Australian homes and businesses can now activate an NBN-based broadband service, to date only 44 per cent have made the switch — the rest sticking with older copper and cable-based phone and internet services even though the clock is ticking.

Homes and business have 18 months to migrate to the NBN once it is available to them, after which traditional copper and cable services in the area are severed — cutting off fixed-line phone and internet access.

After switching to the NBN, customers can choose from a wide range of internet service providers, as the NBN is only a wholesale broadband provider and does not compete for customers against retailers such as Telstra, Optus and TPG.

After the cut-off date, Foxtel's home Pay TV services will still be available via Telstra cable, but Foxtel subscribers will need an NBN-based broadband service in order to access online streaming video services such as Foxtel Play and Foxtel Go.

Time is running out in some areas, with the 18-month NBN cut-off reaching 447 suburbs across the country in the first half of 2017. It affects 348,627 homes and businesses across every state and territory but mostly in New South Wales (102,885), Victoria (71,266) and Queensland (53,966).

Only a quarter of Australian households are fully aware of the consequences of not switching across to the NBN before the cut-off date, according to finder.com.au research. As a result millions of homes are in danger of being caught out over the next few years, says Finder telco editor Alex Kidman.

"The NBN is still a foreign concept for many Australians because, relatively speaking, so few people have access," Kidman says. "It's not surprising to see that many don't know their existing service will be cut off if they don't connect to the NBN once their home or business is declared NBN-ready."

"There's no two ways about it, if you're living or working in a premises that is declared NBN-ready then you have 18 months to subscribe to an NBN plan. Otherwise your phone line and internet will be disconnected, which could be a disaster if you're running a business."

Kidman also advises that home and business owners check the NBN status of their area before signing up for a long-term contract with their current provider which may overlap with the arrival of the new network in their street.

"If you're signing up to a 24-month ADSL plan which relies on the copper phone lines, but the NBN is coming to your home in six months, then you're limiting your broadband options," he says. "Chances are your ISP will happily let you switch from ADSL to an NBN plan without breaking contract, but once you have access to the NBN you might get better value for money from another ISP."

"If the NBN isn't too far away then it might be worth opting for a month-to-month plan with your current broadband provider rather than signing up for a long-term deal which locks you in."

NBN-ready suburbs nearing the cut-off

The highest concentration of premises set to hit the cut-off point in the next six months is in the Northern Territory, with 4222 premises in the area of East Point, Eaton, Fannie Bay, Ludmilla, Parap, The Narrows, Woolner, and Bayview needing to switch to NBN or risk disconnection.

In New South Wales, 3924 premises in the area of Gorokan, Lake Haven and Charmhaven are in the same boat. Meanwhile, in Victoria's Shepparton, Shepparton East and Orrvale, 3778 premises are set to hit the deadline soon.


This article originally appeared in Digital Life, The Sydney Morning Herald's home for everything technology. Follow Digital Life on Facebook and Twitter.

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Comments

    It blows my mind that:
    a. There are so many people out there who don't want to switch when the connection is readily available and b. the release schedule has been so staggered that some places are getting ready to have the old network switched off. I live in Belconnen, a suburb of the capital of the country, and I'm stuck with 3rd world infrastructure with not even a proper NBN release schedule. What I wouldn't give for an NBN connection, or even ADSL that can achieve more than 3Mbps.

      It's just not important to a lot of people. I was rearing at the bit to get NBN and signed up the date it went live, on a 100/40 connection. Meanwhile in the same suburb several blocks over the MiL is still on the ~4mbs ADSL2 connection they have been on for years and will only switch when they are forced. When they do eventually switch they will not even notice the difference - it's just 'the wifi' to them.

      At least some of them will be pushing back because it is going to cost a shitload more and there is no guarantee that the service will be any better. I know for a fact that NBN pricing cannot possibility compete with what I get from Optus at the moment for "good enough" Internet access.

        My Optus plan only changed speed for price. I pay the same amount but get the 100/40 rather than (if lucky) 15/1.

        For the most part, you're right. NBN is insanely expensive when it comes to the big players (Telstra/Optus etc.) but that's nothing new. They already charge higher prices for even adsl than a lot of other places.
        But there are places out there with good offers. I can't vouch for the quality of any of them, but I've got my eye on MyRepublic for when the NBN is available in my area.
        They have an unlimited Tier 5 connection for $59/mth on a 12 mth contract, or $69/mth with no contract.
        Considering they also charge $59/mth for unlimited adsl2+, that's a pretty good deal.

      When we swapped over the equivalent service was going to cost us a fair bit more, so we took a smaller hit and just got less. (Though plans have since cheapened). If all they want is "the internet" then people aren't going to bother unless they are forced to.

    Telstra's metro-centric HFC cable broadband network will also be retained as part of the NBN, but not the Optus cable network.So what is going to happen to the Optus cable network?

      Pretty sure that is what was used in the Redcliffe area Qld. They have decided not to go ahead with it after using Redcliffe as a testing area.

      It will be abandoned, and customers on that network will get one of the other technologies instead (FttN or FttP, but most likely the new Fibre to the Curb(sic) solution NBNCo just green-lit). The optus HFC network is so bad that even NBNCo can't bring themselves to force customers onto it.

        Tony, when did NBN green-lite FTTdp? I haven't seen any reports or publications on this.
        I thought the Liberals didn't want to do FTTdp as it was way to close to the Labor FTTP solution.

          It's been tested and supposedly included in planning documents under the term FttC (Fiber to the Curb)... you know, to avoid admitting it's basically FTTdp

          They haven't come out and officially announced anything from last I saw on Delimiter (RIP Delimeter by the way...)

    It's clear some may have an aversion to moving to NBN. Much of this may be due to the bitter, misleading campaign Malcolm Turnbull ran against it when he was the Shadow Minister.
    It seemed very much that just because he didn't think of it, he was determined to "demolish" it.

    The NBN is a second rate, cobbled together, third world farce!! We had the opportunity to build the finest broadband system in the world, the way the Snowy Mountains scheme was implemented, and, out of pure spite, The Coalition nobbled it because it was a Labor Party initiative - to their eternal shame and our total inconvenience. No large medical files to be transmitted, Netflix already running well below par etc etc. Thanks Mal!

    Creating class gap with public funding... Royal commission or class action here we come.

    I'd love to move to NBN, but seems they deliberately avoided my suburb and connected the surrounding suburbs instead.

    The NBN is a second rate, cobbled together, third world farce!! We had the opportunity to build the finest broadband system in the world, like New Zealand's internet, and, out of pure spite, The Coalition destroyed it because it was a Labor Party initiative - to their eternal shame and our total inconvenience. No large medical files to be transmitted, Netflix already running well below par etc etc. Thanks Mal!

    Creating class gap with public funding... Royal commission or class action here we come.

    The slow uptake is because no one wants fibre to the node ,most want a phone service that works when the power is off, and you get that now without FTTN. With Fibre all the way, battery backup was an option. Malcolm's Legacy will be felt for years to come , with an ever
    degrading NBN. Network and unhappy customers.

    Our National Anthem definitely needs to be scrapped and replaced with, "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards", "Stagnant" or "Stuck in the Middle" of a circle of dead-head politicians who couldn't lead a procession of blind people for a free sight restore operation.

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