The NBN may have been marked ‘complete’ as of 2020, but plenty of Aussies around the country are still living with outdated internet technology.
Years ago, the Coalition scrapped the Labor government’s plan of rolling out full-fibre internet on the NBN. This has resulted in a bunch of different connection options, some of which can’t reach peak speeds.
To rectify this, the federal government is rolling out a full-fibre upgrade across parts of its network. If you’re living with an FTTN connection, there’s a chance you’ll be in line for the upgrade. Here’s how it works.
What is the NBN fibre upgrade?
In 2020, the federal government announced a plan to upgrade half of all Fibre to the Node (FTTN) connections to a faster Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) network.
FTTN connections make use of old copper phone wiring, which can’t carry the same quick speeds as fibre. Generally, the copper wiring will run from your house to a central node somewhere nearby which is then connected to the NBN via fibre.
Fibre connections themselves are generally faster because they make use of fibre optic cabling. This cabling is filled with glass filaments that are used to send data via light signals and lasers. It’s true next-gen stuff which is why it’s the preferred choice.
Switching the copper wiring to full-fibre will allow residents in the area to upgrade to faster internet plans and in some places achieve 1 gigabit per second speeds.
According to NBN Co, 1 Gbps speeds would allow you to do things like download a whole game from an online store in minutes or perform an OS update in seconds. So, it’s definitely something you want to see, particularly if you download large files frequently.
The new fibre upgrade also includes money towards upgrading a handful of HFC and FTTC connections, alongside FTTN, for an estimated cost of $4.5 billion by 2023.
NBN Co is aiming to deliver NBN Ultrafast speeds to up to 8 million premises. As of October 2022, it says it is on track to make 550,000 FTTN premises eligible for upgrade by December 31, 2022.
You can check which type of NBN connection your premises has here.
Which areas are eligible for an upgrade?
Over the last couple of years, NBN Co has been gradually announcing the suburbs that will be eligible for the fibre upgrade.
NBN Co is selecting suburbs based on a list of eligibility criteria which includes demand, workforce availability and cost-effectiveness. The company is aiming to enable 60,000 FTTN premises per month.
You can see whether your suburb is eligible for an upgrade here.
After identifying an area for an upgrade it can generally take around 12 to 18 months to complete the installation.
When and how to upgrade if you’re eligible
While NBN Co will work on upgrading the physical wiring, customers still need to do some work to take advantage of faster speeds.
This involves signing up for a faster plan with an internet service provider. The fibre upgrade should allow customers to sign up for either NBN 100, NBN 250 or an ultrafast plan like NBN 1000, which they wouldn’t have been able to access previously.
By registering for updates, NBN Co will be able to alert customers when their area is eligible for an upgrade. Your ISP will also be able to tell you if your premises has been upgraded and is able to move to a higher-speed plan.
According to IT News, retailers like Telstra, Aussie Broadband and Superloop are participating in the upgrade program and will be able to nudge customers when their home is eligible for faster speeds.
If you’ve found yourself in an eligible area and are wondering which NBN plan is the best here are some of the fastest plans available.
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