Almost 100,000 Australian homes and businesses will be disconnected from their internet and landlines in January if they haven’t moved over to the national broadband network.
This month, premises across the country will be reaching the 18-month NBN cut-off date, with potentially 95,590 homes and businesses affected if they have not yet made the switch.
Usually, when an area is declared “NBN ready” a resident has a year and a half to choose a provider and a plan and to move onto the network before their home or business is disconnected.
Now, 173 suburbs across the country are reaching this crucial cut-off point.
In these areas, Telstra home and landline services, excluding some velocity lines, and home and landlines from any other company utilising Telstra's copper phone lines will be switched off.
Services from any provider offering ADSL, ADSL2 and ADSL2+, Telstra BigPond cable internet services and Optus cable internet and phone services would also come to an end.
Victoria would be hardest hit by the upcoming cut-off, an analysis by comparison website Finder found. There could be more than 22,000 Victorian premises impacted.
This was followed by Queensland, with up to 19,988 and Western Australia with 17,670.
The most affected suburb in the country is likely to be Melbourne satellite suburb Pakenham, where 15,482 homes are expecting disconnection.
Murray Bridge in South Australia, Edmonton in Queensland and New South Wales’ Terrigal and Nelson Bay were also in the top five most affected, Finder spokesman Angus Kidman said.
In these areas, the 'take up rate' of the NBN is of critical concern as provided every household has made the move to the network at the end of the 18 months, no one will be left without internet or phone services.
While many in these areas have already made the switch, Mr Kidman said some Australians still think the NBN is optional with survey results showing 44 per cent of those not on the NBN don’t realise they need to connect within the 18 month time period.
“There has been a lot of talk about the NBN in recent months but Australians remain confused about the broadband network,” he said.
“It’s worrying to see almost half of those not on the NBN aren’t even planning on making the switch.”
Foxtel Pay TV will not be affected if provided over Telstra Cable or satellite, but anyone accessing it through the internet - such as a smart TV - will need to update their internet connection.
Those using a landline or internet connection over another fibre network may also not be affected, such as a network provided by a private enterprise, building owner or non-Telstra or Optus cable network.
The latest roll out data from the NBN Co shows 3.35 million premises were activated in December, 6.05 million were ready to connected and 7.02 million were in ready for service areas.
An NBN Co spokeswoman said there were around 97,000 premises set to reach the end of their migration window in January.
"The take-up rate across these areas is on track to meet NBN Co’s target of approximately 73 to 75 per cent connected homes and businesses at the end of the 18 month migration window," the spokeswoman said.
At the moment, the take-up rate is on target with more than 74 per cent of homes and businesses connecting after 18 months of the network becoming available.
"For those yet to make the switch, it’s important to know that accessing services over the NBN network is not automatic," she said.
It's understood there is usually a surge of activity within the first six months of the NBN being available to connect to, and then right before the end of the 18 month cut-off period.
The switch to the NBN has seen some providers land themselves in hot water with the regulator over when to turn off customers' services.
In December, Optus was taken to court by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over allegations the provider misled 20,000 customers by telling some they needed to switch to the NBN sooner than was necessary and in some cases switched off their services before it had to do so.
An Optus spokesperson said it made the decision in late-2016 to move customers off its broadband cable network to the NBN as soon as the area was serviceable.
"During this process, we provided some customers with insufficient notice of their options to migrate. As a result, some customers were disconnected before they migrated to the NBN," the spokesperson said.
This article originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on December 28, 2017