NBN Co Will Notify You When Your NBN Service Is Ready Via Snail Mail

NBN Co Will Notify You When Your NBN Service Is Ready Via Snail Mail
Image: SMH / Adam Turner

If you’re not already aware, The National Broadband Network, a system designed to bring Australia’s internet up to speed with the rest of the world allowing hitherto unseen speeds and capabilities, will let you know when you’re premises are ready to connect via the post.

Oh, infamous network that we turmoil in, surely there’s a better way – a faster way – to get information from your HQ to prospective users?

Yes, we can register for email updates… but what about when this system doesn’t work for users, such as @vealmince – who encountered issues registering his address for email updates on when his service would be ready. When he tried to register his email, the website wouldn’t allow him to do so and then NBN Co directed him to the rollout map. He wasn’t impressed when they told him to wait for notification via the post.

These stories are everywhere, and it seems slightly bizarre that bringing us into the 21st century of connection and communication still requires that we send letters via post. I’m not denying it makes sense – sending a letter to the premises should ensure that the homeowner knows NBN is ready for service, and it prevents misuse of the registration system, too.

If you’re not aware, once NBN access is available to you, you have 18 months to switch to the new network. This is when NBN Co sends a direct mail out to you, explaining all the necessary measures you will need to take to switch over.

An NBN spokesperson made it clear that this process is in place “to ensure no one is left without a connection who doesn’t want one”. They also send up to five reminder letters in the 18-month window and “material via registered post to residential premises that have not yet connected five weeks prior to the disconnection date.”

A pretty comprehensive system to ensure that no one gets left behind, as it were.

It’s still a jarring juxtaposition for a network that’s meant to improve communication to use a method that’s slightly backward.

Of course, with letters, you have to print and physically send them out, typically taking a couple of days to get from one location to the next. What happens when plans change – like they often do – with the NBN? What happens when the HFC roll out is stunted? Another letter gets sent out. There are stories on Twitter, Reddit and Australian forums that show how error-prone and susceptible to scams this process might be.

And hey! Are they using recycled paper? What about the trees, man?

Ah, the good old days. If you want an update, just wait by the letterbox. We shall wait for news from the New World and when we can join them in 2018.

Lifehacker strongly recommends you register your address for email updates if you’re waiting for the NBN, which you can do here. It was successful for my address when I attempted this morning. Not only will it be a much faster way to get information on the NBN, you’ll get updates on any service availability much sooner and for much cheaper.

I feel like I’ve heard that slogan somewhere before.


  • i hate to play the role of “that guy” but what about the elderly or people who dont use email? that are being forced onto the NBN when they may only have a phone and TV? the only sure way to get the information to them is advertising via more traditional means such as mail and print / broadcast advertising.

    my Grandparents (gone now unfortunately) would have been a perfect example. they didn’t have a computer. Didn’t want or have smart phones (or even feature phones). they had a TV set and a Phone line. they couldn’t (or didn’t) really SMS all that much either.

    why do 20 different ways to advise a neighborhood when every single house is guaranteed to have a mailbox.

    • I totally agree – snail mail has to go out, it just seems bizarre that there aren’t very good alternatives to it yet.

      I know that if my grandparents received NBN mail, they still wouldn’t understand it, sadly. I think it’s a good idea to look out for them and perhaps even use the email tool to register their address with NBN, to stay up to date with that.

      • I totally agree – snail mail has to go out, it just seems bizarre that there aren’t very good alternatives to it yet.

        Email is horrible, i have 4 email addresses (1 work, 2 personal and 1 joint with my wife), my work and personal ones get what seems like hundreds a week (excluding real spam), mostly junk mail (my own fault from 23 years of negelctful email usage, and even too lazy to use unroll.me). So i miss some emails that would be rather important (like the one from Lumo saying my credit card charge failed [expired card] and that auto pay was cancelled so a few months later and losing the “early pay discount” for a few months).

        Basically we need a system for us unorganised people to see important notices especially now that companies sending mail are declining.

        AusPost tried the digital mail box but it was a bit of a flop.

        Perhaps i need an important mail account and a cheap tablet that only checks that account. So any notifications on that are bills and stuff.

          • Office365 (work), Outlook.com (joint, wife always used hotmail so it was easier for her), Gmail and iinet (personal, though im trying to abandon iinet email so i can abandon iinet without worrying about keeping that email active)

            Although i don’t use webmail interfaces very often, i use Outlook365 for the Office365 account and Windows 10 mail for the other 3, and outlook on my phone for all 4 there (well now i do, i moved from iOS to Android over the weekend, iPhone 6 decided not to turn on Saturday, but that’s another story)

    • I agree @rethilgore. The younguns will probably find out anyway from their friends and stuff, around the net and the papers, but the world is made up of more than us younguns or techheads.

    • Exactly!
      Even if you don’t have the internet, the NBN replaces your phone line, they need to install the boxes in your house and work on/in your property etc.

      I lived in an apartment complex 6 years ago when Telstra rolled out its own fibre in my area because of the nearby hospital. I got the mail, asked my landlord to get the box installed earlier than the mandated closure, he phoned me up and wanted to come over and speak to me about it… I had to explain it to him, cause his mother who lived in the apartment was having a panic attack that Telstra was cutting off her phone line cause she didn’t have internet. (to be fair it was poorly explained in the material – cause it said for more detail click on a website *facepalm*).

  • When I got to “allowing hitherto unseen speeds and capabilities”, my soul detected a sassy snark that could only be the work of one devious Lifehacker author. Your syntax makes me aroused.

    Onya Jackson!

  • Three days running I’ve also got “We are not able to complete this action. Please try again later.” when trying to register for email updates.

    • I’ve registered multiple emails for multiple addresses. A lot of people are not getting the email even after registration!

      It seems the only valid way to be sure is to diarise to re-check every three months, and then check with your ISP.

      Depending upon your ISP, there may be no way to pre-order either as their records might lag weeks behind the work. It must cost Telstra a lot of sales when “others” can get you signed up and have hardware ready on the day.

  • Well its good to know the NBN will notify me by mail at some point I guess, but I have already started getting tons of “junk” mail from ISPs who have let me know when the NBN will be available. Telstra, iinet etc have all already sent me snail mail telling me “on this date you can connect to the NBN. So pre-order a plan with us!”

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