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The NBN is here... some practical tips for Paddington residents as the rollout begins APRIL 2017

A tech-savvy member of The Paddington Society spent over 10-days digging through published articles, analysing reseller websites, talking directly with the NBN, and visiting ISPs to find out precisely what and how the NBN will be rolled out in Paddington over coming months, with some resulting traps, hurdles and things you can do to smooth the switchover to this different, somewhat compromised broadband internet experience...

•  Here is the condensed report below.  We hope it clarifies the important issues for you.

•  There are also links and tools at the end of the article to explore what will be right for your specific terrace, apartment or business installation:

 

April 2017

Work has begun in Paddington on the super hi-speed internet rollout

bought to you by the NBN Co, a fully owned Federal government enterprise. The broadband network build will be in full swing by June and is already in central Paddington. The impact unrealised for many people in terms of the switchover hurdles, understanding who does what, and how to smooth the switchover-connection process.

 

There is virtually no choice which technology will connect you to NBN, little consultation available and confusion via technical jargon, however, there are some benefitsts to be tapped. Actually getting the NBN service to your terrace, apartment or business is tricky, with potentially new cabling runs, trenches, unattractive junction boxes to locate and aged infrastructure, all contributing to signi cant impacts in our heritage suburb.

 

The best information on where, and timing is to go to the NBN website (www. nbnco.com.au) which has an up to date national map, you can key in your address and nd that you will be connected by HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial) technology in Paddington. You’ll can also see that cities have been left till this later stage of the rollout... go to www.nbnco.com.au/ learn-about-the-nbn/rollout-map.html or follow the navigation on their home page. • The NBN uses multiple technologies to bring the broadband/high-speed internet to your external home or of ce wall. Total Fibre Optic cable was the original plan before politics got in the way. In Paddington there is only one technology being used. HFC is a blend of optical cable joined to an existing pay TV coaxial cable. It uses the optical bre in the trunk network to local nodes and then the coaxial cables installed by pay TV suppliers, such as Foxtel, because of the high penetration of pay TV in the suburb. If you have pay TV the switchover will be less painful. If you have a landline, that’s the copper wire network (sold by Telstra to NBN) it won’t be used since it is so degraded here, so that will mean new cabling for your terrace. At this stage we are not sure if that will be an aerial cable to your house, a new coaxial cable “pulled” into replace the copper wires cable, or a newly dug trench and a utility box af xed to your outer wall. Fortunately HFC Utility Boxes don’t require electrical back-up as some systems do, so at least you won’t need an electrician to run a new power outlet. There is also the potential to use existing satellite dishes installed for some Foxtel customers, but that is not certain as the NBN SkyMuster satellite is reserved for remote locations.

 

Once the NBN box arrives then it is up to you to manage what happens inside your home or of ce. You need to organise the actual connection to the internet (as with ADSL+) via your preferred ISP - Telstra, Optus, iiNet, TPG, Foxtel, iPrimus, InternetOn, Dodo. NBN Co lists 147 potential ISP suppliers on their website just for Paddington.

 

• Here is the NBN bonus which doesn’t get much airplay. Phone calls, local, national and mobile will be free over the new broadband network. Now the bad news, your existing landline phones won’t work over the NBN internet unless they are digital and support VoIP or SIP - internet protocols. Landlines are disappearing now we all have cellular mobiles. It is all bundled in your ‘unlimited data’ plan. If you have a digital PBX or smart phones for your home business then savings follow because no more call charges, just a monthly at fee for data bandwidth. Some ISPs will charge a small connection fee for a Voip call (referred to as a NetPhone service) but the call length is untimed.

 

• Existing landlines will be switched off 18 months after NBN service is available, December 2018. No option. No more PTSN (old technology) phones.

 

• Speed is the promise. Currently. if you have an ADSL2+ internet service via a landline you will be getting around 5-6 Mbps (megabytes per second), possibly 8Mbps at best. NBN’s broadband network promises speed plans of 25 or 50 or 100Mbps, from 4 to 20 times faster. The reality is less. That is because of “contention”, the number of users plugged into an internet exchange and what they are downloading. You can test your current internet connection speed by using free Okla software at www.speedtest.net. Run the test and record your current speeds, several day’s data is useful for later negotiations. Retest when NBN is up and running, then you have some real facts to discuss with your ISP about actual speeds.

 

Connecting to the NBN. Once the NBN Utility Box has been installed, or new coaxial cable pulled, you will need your Internet Reseller to organise the actual connection of the service... the POP (point of presence – this used to be your telephone wall socket).

 

You will need a new modem. Your ISP usually supplies a new technology modem with your new plan. Free if you’ve been loyal, charged or bundled if you are taking the opportunity to switch suppliers. They rarely cost more than $80, but connectability varies. Ask if it will support digital phones, or a pbx if you have one. Not all modems have ports to allow you to plug in internal cordless phones with those located on other oors throughout the house. This new modem, often called a gateway will have an inbuilt wireless system operating on several frequency bands to connect to your smart TV, laptops, mobiles, iPads, even desktop computers, and wireless back-up systems to store your les.

If you live in a terrace with multiple oors you’ve probably already invested in “wireless repeaters”... so make sure the new supplied modem/router has the ability to plug into your existing wireless distribution system usually by Ethernet cable (the thicker blue or yellow computer network cable).

 

NBN has a consulting mechanism, Technology Choice Program where areas, towns, organisations or corporates can apply for a speci c method of connection. This does not seem to be available to individuals.

 

What about heritage issues? When we raised our concern over new cabling that could be needed, the location of utility boxes on walls, the digging up of footpaths with landscaping just completed by local council, we were told by the online info centre we could “defer our installation”. No attempt was made to provide speci c details or links to an area manager who could eld questions and provide a better Paddington solution.

 

Some Recommendations:

1. Go to NBN’s website (nbnco.com.au), and register your home, study their interactive map accessible from the homepage on where installation is happening right now.

 

2. Read the pages on HFC and other technology pages so you are knowledgeable when you talk to your Internet Reseller (ISP).

 

3. Visit ISP websites to compare what is on offer, for example Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet, and your current internet provider. 25Mbps Plans with a 250Gb data limit start at about $60 per month and will handle email, video downloads, FTP transfer and smartTV watching. 50 Mbps Plans cost around $110 per month and handle high definition video downloads with unlimited data. 100 Mbps Plans are generally for professionals who need real time mass transfer. Resellers are also reluctant to sell you a 100 Mbps plan beacuse of the current wholesale cost to them of large capacity plans from the NBN (based on NBN revenue model to be profitable).

 

4. The ISPs quote 5 to 10 days for switchover. We experienced less than 36 hours switchover with an ISP outside of Sydney.

 

5. Download the NBN’s Getting Connected HFC version brochure from their website. It’s also available at this link for download.

 

6. Start today, because tomorrow’s promised internet is arriving in Paddington this month.

SOME USEFUL LINKS:

• The NBN Hybrid Coaxial Fibre info leaflet - the link at the bottom of this story will download a PDF with an oiutline of what and how technology-wise   
• The NBN Rollout Map in Paddington:  
www.nbnco.com.au/learn-about-the-nbn/rollout-map.html 

 

• A speedtest tool to let you measeure you current link speed (Download & upload speeds) and once installed again with NBN :  visit  www.speedtest.net

 

 

 

Bruce Druery for The Paddington Society

Download file

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