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What happens when you connect to the NBN?

My Business

What will you need to do when the NBN comes to your home or office? We’ve learned what’s in store to help you prepare.

Work on the mainland parts of the National Broadband Network (NBN) has commenced. If you live in nine locales around Australia (see ‘Confirmed NBN sites’ below) you may be able to connect in under a year.

If you are offered the chance to do so, now or in the future, here’s what Steve Christian, Head of Network Operations at NBN Co, says will happen.

Steve Christian, NBN Co

If a customer end user places an order with a chosen retail service provider (RSP), that retailer will book an appointment with an installer who will install the ‘drop cable’ which goes from the side of the street or a telephone pole onto your premises.”

Christian said this part of the process will be very similar to having Foxtel installed in your home, even down to the installation of a new box in your home or office. That box is called a network termination device (NTD) and will offer you two phone sockets and four for data.

Just what service you receive will be up to the RSP you decide to work with, because NBN Co is only a wholesaler and all the NTD does is provide a connection the retailer can use. RSPs will be the same phone companies you deal with today, so expect deals from the likes of Telstra, Optus, iiNet, TPG and so on. Your RSP will supply another piece of equipment which will connect to the NTD to bring your NBN connection to life.

For the next few months, NBN workers will also install your RSP’s equipment to enable your service. In the future your RSP may perform the installation of the NBN drop cable and its equipment. Christian said NBN Co wants to avoid a situation whereby you need to be at home twice – once for the NBN installer and a second time for the RSP to do its thing – which is why some RSPs will be able to install the whole lot.

An NBN Network Termination Device

Business waits

Body: The picture for businesses is a less clear, because NBN Co’s current services are designed for home and micro-business users only. More complex business services will be announced shortly.



Christian said if you have a home-based business the processes outlined above will apply.

If your business operates a PABX or a local area network that uses more than just the equipment provided by an RSP, Christian cannot yet advise just what an NBN installation will entail. He did, however, predict that PABX vendors will offer an extra device that sits between the NTD and the PABX so you can retain your equipment and your phone numbers. Installation of that device will, he feels, need to be carried out by whoever you use to service your phone systems. That will necessitate a second visit, but Christian said that as businesses nearly always have someone on the premises this will be less of a hassle than it would be for home users.

Confirmed NBN sites

NBN Co has confirmed the following sites and dates for the next phase of construction


Preliminary site works start date

Coffs Harbour

August 2011

Armidale NSW

August 2011

Townsville Qld

September 2011

Kiama township and Jamberoo NSW

September 2011

Toowoomba Qld

October 2011

Gungahlin ACT

October 2011

Riverstone NSW

November 2011

Goodna/Springfield Lakes

November 2011

Aspley- Brisbane metropolitan area

December 2011

The company estimates that services will be available in these locations around 12 months after construction commences.

NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley announced these sites early in August 2011 and also said “Our intention is to release a 12-month schedule, including new rollout sites, in the near future.”

What happens when you connect to the NBN?
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