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All You Need to Know about the Free NBN Fibre Upgrades

Abhishek Bhargva

Telco ICT

24/06/2024

NBN Fibre Upgrades

Free FTTP NBN upgrades are available to more than two million fortunate Australians with Fibre to the Node (FTTN) NBN service. That’s a significant victory because FTTP is unquestionably the finest fixed-line NBN connection option, while FTTN is generally regarded as the worst. All FTTP connections can achieve a gigabit connection (NBN 1000 plans), however many FTTN connections aren’t even able to handle NBN 100 speeds.

Though there are a few caveats to be aware of, the process of actually receiving your free FTTP upgrade is a little trickier than you might imagine. This article addresses all of those issues and more.

Through a broad upgrade program, NBN Co. will be able to provide gigabit NBN plans to up to 10 million homes by the end of 2025. For those who have been suffering from poor internet connections, this was good news. However, if you want to upgrade for free, you will have to wait until every suburb has been covered.

The first two million FTTP NBN upgrades were finished as of July 2023, with the majority of the upgrades aimed at Fibre to the Node homes and businesses. However, you might want to think about the Technology Choice Program (a paid option) if you can’t wait that long to upgrade your NBN connection to a complete FTTP connection. 

Understanding NBN Technology Types

To appreciate the significance of the FTTP upgrade, it’s essential to understand the different NBN technology types:

  1. Fibre to the Node (FTTN): This technology connects fibre optic cables to a node (a street cabinet) located within a neighbourhood. The final connection to homes and businesses is made via existing copper telephone lines. FTTN can suffer from speed degradation over longer distances between the node and the premises.
  2. Fibre to the Curb: This brings fibre optic cables closer to the premises, terminating at a curbside pit near the property. The last leg of the connection is made using existing copper or coaxial cables. While better than FTTN, FTTC still relies on older infrastructure for the final connection.
  3. Fibre to the Premises (FTTP): FTTP is the gold standard of broadband connections, where fibre optic cables run directly to the premises. This provides the highest possible speeds and reliability, as it eliminates the use of copper cables entirely.

The Push for FTTP Upgrades

The Australian government and NBN Co have recognized the limitations of FTTN and FTTC and are committed to improving the nation’s broadband infrastructure. As part of this effort, they are offering upgrades to FTTP for eligible premises currently served by Fibre to the Node and Fibre to the Curb. This initiative is driven by the need to support increased data demands, facilitate remote work and education, and future-proof Australia’s internet infrastructure.

Fibre to the Node (FTTN) is generally regarded as the worst NBN technology type because of speed degradation difficulties brought on by the use of copper from the node to your premises. 

Customers of Fiber to the Curb will also have the option to request an upgrade to FTTP. When the infrastructure is live in your area, you will need to order an NBN 250 or NBN 1000 plan to start the upgrading.

Clients of Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) can currently obtain plans more quickly than those of NBN 100. NBN 1000 and NBN 250 plans are now available for purchase at all HFC locations.

NBN Fibre Upgrades

Free Upgrade FTTP Upgrade Eligibility

The free upgrade is available to premises currently connected via Fibre to the Node and FTTC. Eligibility criteria include:

  1. Location: The upgrade is being rolled out in stages, with certain areas prioritized based on network demand and existing infrastructure.
  2. Service Plan: To qualify for the free upgrade, users must opt for an NBN plan that offers higher speed tiers, typically starting from NBN 100 (100 Mbps download speed) and above.
  3. Provider Participation: Not all internet service providers (ISPs) may participate in the upgrade program. Users should check with their current ISP or consider switching to one that offers the upgrade.

Why You Need a FTTN to FTTP Upgrade

For a home or company to have a possibility of receiving NBN 100 speeds, it must be 400 meters or less from the local exchange. FTTP, however, is not plagued by these problems. Just under a gigabit per second can be reached by all residences and businesses. This is the major reason you would want to upgrade from Fibre to the node.  Besides that, let’s look at more benefits:

  • Enhanced Reliability and Fewer Dropouts: The connections are less prone to dropouts due to the absence of copper wiring, which is susceptible to transmission loss and electrical interference.
  • Faster Speeds and Increased Bandwidth: It supports higher speeds, up to 1000 Mbps (1 Gbps), compared to the maximum download speed of 100 Mbps available on FTTN.
  • Future-Proofing and Upgradeability: FTTP connections can be easily upgraded to support faster speeds as technology advances, without the need for new fibre optic cabling.
  • Improved Performance and Reduced Interference: FTTP connections are less susceptible to interference from other multiple devices and networks, resulting in a more stable and reliable internet experience.
  • Cost-Effective and Free Installation: Wondering about the upgrade cost? The Fibre Connect program offers free installation for eligible FTTN customers who upgrade to FTTP and commit to a 100 Mbps or faster plan for 12 months.

How to Upgrade to FTTP: A Step-by-Step Guide

Upgrading from Fibre to the Node to Fibre to the Premises can provide a significant boost in internet speeds and reliability. If you’re one of the over 2 million Australians eligible for a free FTTP upgrade, here’s a detailed step-by-step guide to help you through the FTTP upgrade process:

 

Upgrade to FTTP

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility

The first step is to determine if your premises are eligible for the free upgrade. You can do this by:

  • Checking the NBN Co website and entering your address to see if your area has been announced as eligible.
  • Contacting your internet service provider (ISP) and asking them to check your eligibility.

Step 2: Order an NBN 100 Plan or Higher

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, you’ll need to order an NBN plan with speeds of 100Mbps or higher. This is because the upgrade is designed to take full advantage of the increased bandwidth, so slower plans won’t be able to utilize the full potential.

Your ISP will be able to help you select the right plan for your needs, whether that’s an NBN 100, NBN 250, or NBN 1000 plan.

Step 3: Schedule the FTTP Installation

After you’ve placed your order, your ISP will schedule an appointment for an NBN technician to visit your premises and complete the FTTP installation. This typically involves:

  • A pre-installation visit to prepare for the upgrade and identify any potential obstacles.
  • The main installation, which can take 3-4 hours and requires someone over 18 to be present.
  • Connect the new NBN connection box and your router to complete the upgrade.

Step 4: Cancelling Your Old Plan

Once your new FTTP service is active, you’ll need to contact your previous ISP to cancel your old plan. This is usually a straightforward process, and your new provider can guide you through it.

Tips and Considerations

  • If you’re renting, make sure to get your landlord’s approval before the FTTP installation.
  • Be prepared for a potential power outage during the installation, as the new NBN connection box may not work during a blackout.
  • Ensure that any existing devices and integrations are compatible with the new FTTP service.
  • Consider engaging a registered cabler to help with the fibre cable pathway if needed

Considerations and Potential Challenges

While the upgrade to FTTP is highly beneficial, there are some considerations and potential challenges to be aware of:

  1. Installation Disruptions: The installation process may cause temporary disruptions to the user’s internet service. It’s advisable to schedule the installation at a convenient time to minimize inconvenience.
  2. Equipment Compatibility: Users may need to ensure their existing networking equipment (such as routers and modems) is compatible with the new FTTP In some cases, upgrading to a newer model may be necessary to fully utilize the super fast speeds.
  3. Contract Terms: Switching to a higher-speed plan or a different ISP may involve changes to contract terms. Users should review the terms and conditions to understand any potential costs or obligations.
  4. Availability: The rollout of the FTTP upgrade is gradual, and not all areas may be eligible immediately. Users in non-priority areas may need to wait longer for the upgrade to become available.

Conclusion

The transition from FTTN and FTTC to FTTP is a significant step forward in Australia’s broadband landscape. By investing in FTTP infrastructure, the government and NBN Co are laying the groundwork for a future where high-speed, reliable internet is accessible to more Australians. 

This initiative aligns with global trends toward fibre-based networks, which are essential for supporting the digital economy, smart homes, telehealth, online education, and more. The future of broadband is here, and it’s faster and more reliable than ever before. Therefore, when the migration is available in your area, do not hesitate to book an installation appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much time does the FTTP upgrade require?

The length of time required varies depending on the nature of the job and the number of upgrades desired. In a few weeks, NBN Co hopes to finish FTTP improvements and fulfil requests. 19 business days is what NBN Co. expects for FTTN consumers in metropolitan areas. In rural and regional locations, this increases to 24 business days. According to NBN Co.’s estimations, FTTC will take 24 business days for urban areas and 29 days for remote and regional locations.

2. Who are the FTTP upgrade providers?

Even though it might seem common sense, not all NBN providers can initiate the FTTP upgrade procedure on your behalf.

Approximately forty telecoms provide the service as of this writing.

You can acquire a new NBN package from any of these main providers if you want to upgrade to FTTP:

  • Activ8me AGL
  • Australian Internet Manager
  • Dodo
  • Exetel Flip
  • The iiNet Internode
  • iPrimus Launches Mate
  • NBN Moose
  • Further
  • Origin of Optus
  • Southern Telephone
  • The SpinTel Superloop
  • Swoop
  • Tangerine
  • Telstra

The whole list of NBN providers that are participating, including a few smaller ones, can be seen here at TPG NBN Co. The list will be updated as additional telcos sign up.

3. Are there any drawbacks to switching to FTTP?

When requesting a free upgrade, there are a few tiny print items to be mindful of.

The most significant requirement is that you might have to pay NBN Co. a $200 fee if you downgrade your NBN plan or switch providers during the first year of being upgraded. This entails downgrading to a plan below NBN 100 for current FTTN users. This means that current FTTC subscribers will be downgraded below NBN 250.

Within a year of upgrading, there can be a $200 moving cost as well.

4. Does upgrading to FTTP require permission from my landlord?

Yes, to request an upgrade if you rent, you will need permission from your landlord or property manager. Drilling will be required to mount the equipment on the wall. A connecting box and power supply will be installed within the building, while a utility box will be placed outside.

5. Is my presence at home required for the NBN technician’s visit?

The installation requires your presence or the presence of an authorized adult over the age of 18. However, for the pre-installation visit, nobody must be present at home.

6. When will my new plan’s payments begin?

Your new NBN plan won’t become active until the FTTP upgrade is finished.

7. Should I revoke my previous plan?

You will need to make arrangements for the cancellation of your prior plan once your FTTP plan is connected. You will be charged for two services if you don’t want this to happen automatically.

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