Are You NBN Ready?

Monday October 23rd, 2017

The National Broadband Network (nbn) is in full swing with 2018 expected to be its biggest year to date for installations. Australia is in desperate need of higher internet speeds; in its most recent rankings, Akamai’s annual internet report placed Australia far below the usual standard of a developed country: currently residing behind Kenya, a country with GDP per capita roughly 3% of Australia’s.

Having high-speed internet is quickly becoming a quality of life necessity. While previously unavailable for most Australians, one in two properties in Australia are now “nbn ready”, and this number is quickly increasing as we approach the scheduled completion of the nbn roll-out in 2020-21.

For both building owners and residents, the nbn brings the opportunity for faster speeds, powering the internet that Australia requires. For building owners, how will the nbn and service offered by the ISP affect their multi-dwelling units (MDU’s), especially 18 months when the existing service is switched off?

Where do I start?

The best place to start is to search for your address in the nbn rollout map to get an idea of if and when the nbn is deploying to your area. With this information, building managers can start planning how to manage the process to deliver the best outcome for their building, including making decisions around registration and whether other fibre providers should be engaged.

Connecting of the nbn to individual buildings is not an automatic process; building managers should be proactive about their decisions on nbn, as missing the chance to register may add additional cost to the process.

What will be the impact on existing infrastructure and facilities?

The nbn has mandated that strata managers and building owners migrate specific services and upgrade technology to ensure that facilities can meet the demands of the new internet service.

This includes meeting nbn requirements of:

  • lead-in conduit (the internal conduit to run the cable from the PCD/NTD to the nbn location)
  • Power for the GPO (Power for the nbn equipment)
  • Accommodating the nbn’s use of existing copper cabling that connects residential and commercial properties to the nbn network. This may necessitate upgrade of existing cabling.

Where services migrate to the nbn connection from infrastructure that did not require power, the services will be exposed to the risk of disconnection during blackouts or brownouts. Building owners may need to explore options to mitigate this risk (and meet compliance obligations), particularly in relation to critical services such as:

  • Monitored medical devices
  • Lift phone
  • Security Alarms
  • Fire Alarms
  • EFTPOS machines

Finally, after nbn installation is complete in the area, generally the countdown will start for the disconnection of traditional networks 18 months later. This disconnection will affect most landline phone services in addition to ADSL and cable internet services.

Do building owners have the ability to stop the nbn from connecting?

Yes, but it’s not a simple process and may be more trouble than its worth.

After receiving an installation notification, a building owner has nine business days to object – by submitting a letter that details valid and credible reasons for objection. Under the Telecommunications Act 1997, the nbn (and other carriers) has broad powers to enter properties and install; if no objection is received within the required timeframe, the nbn is likely to exercise these powers to begin installing into the common areas.

If the nbn has unsuccessfully attempted to enter a building three times, the building is listed as “frustrated”, and the nbn will move on without installing. When this occurs, the nbn will send all residents a letter explaining that they have not been able to install. This can prompt some angry responses from residents where there are no fast fibre alternatives in the building, so building owners should come prepared with a response!

So what are the alternatives?

There are several commercial telecommunication carriers that deploy fibre to buildings. These carriers will engage with building owners, giving the owners more control over the process and generally providing a better deal for the residents. One such provider, VostroNet, specifically targets its service at MDUs and residential precincts. Under the building owner’s instruction, VostroNet will install the dedicated fibre connection into the building and provide the retail service to residents. By acting as both the hardware supplier and network provider, VostroNet keeps the pricing down while closely controlling the quality of the end-to-end service.

With the ever-increasing pace of fibre deployment in this country, Australia should soon be climbing up the internet speed rankings; not a moment too soon either – with NetFlix, Instagram, YouTube and smartphones quickly making the fast internet a necessity for all of us.

For more information regarding the NBN refer to https://www1.nbnco.com.au/content/dam/nbnco/documents/preparation-and-installation-guide-for-sdus-and-mdus.pdf

When do I need to migrate my services?

https://www.acma.gov.au/Citizen/Phones/Landlines/The-NBN-and-you/phone-and-internet-disconnection-schedule

nbn urges businesses to migrate ‘Special Services’ ahead of first disconnection

https://www.nbnco.com.au/corporate-information/media-centre/media-releases/businesses-urged-to-migrate-special-services.html

This article was contributed by Jonathon Runge – CEO, VostroNet.