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What is NBN?

NBN or the National Broadband Network is a form of Broadband that uses telephone lines, wireless satellites and fibre-optic cables to provide the fastest internet option in Australia today.

The NBN infrastructure is government owned and operated, it is an open-access project where retailers can provide fast internet options for their customers.

Broadband internet refers to any permanent internet connection that doesn’t dial up. When the internet became mainstream, the only way to access it in your home was through a phone line. Then came Broadband internet, the difference between the two was adding multiple bands for the internet to travel through – by adding multiple bands for uploading, downloading etc the internet was able to increase speed dramatically. This also explains the name, the narrow bands being replaced by broader bands.

Originally these bands were made from copper, now they are made from fibre optics – this is because copper degrades overtime and fibre optics can transfer the internet at the speed of light. This is because broadband fibre-optics carry information on pulses of light through the optical fibres, the way the light is encoded at one end and processed at the other affects and determines data speeds.

Australia is in the process of rolling out the NBN all over the country, replacing old phone lines and networks with new cables and networks.

There are 7 different formats of NBN available for Australian customers:

  • Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) or Fibre to home (FTTH)

    It is one of the best NBN connections available and may be available further Australia wide in the future. It was the original plan to have this in all Australian homes, unfortunately it is the most expensive form of NBN and the rollout was cancelled. You can choose to have FTTP in your home or neighbourhood but you have to pay for the installation which is expensive. Because this form of NBN is quite rare.

  • Fibre to the basement, Node or building, (FTTB)

    It is the most common NBN connection in Australia. It’s a line of fibre run into a central location in your neighbourhood, usually at the end of a street or between blocks. For it to travel to your house it uses copper lines which slow down the internet speed slightly, this made it easier for it to be installed Australia wide. Alternatively it can be run into your basement or building.

  • Fibre to the Curb (FTTC)

    It may be faster than other NBN options as it closer to the household, by being run to a street pit, often near the household’s driveway, meaningless copper cables and faster connection.

  • Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial

    It is the same technology that is used for PayTV, using insulated wires that strengthen the internet connection.

  • Fixed Wireless

    It is available in rural and regional areas by running wires to a transmission tower and using an antenna to send out the connection. The speeds for this format vary.

  • Satellite NBN

    This is used for very regional and remote areas, where the NBN broadcasts a signal and a satellite dish relays it back to your home. As for speed, this form of NBN can be quite slow and often has limited data.

Broadband can be accessed in most parts of Australia, however some parts of rural Australia can still find providers for Dial-up internet. For the most part, you don’t have a choice which NBN format you receive – it is all predetermined by your location and if you were to upgrade to a different type of NBN it will be quite expensive for you.

If you’d like to change your broadband, find out more about NBN in our area or would like to compare other household bills with leading retailers, contact CheapBills on 1300 786 045.

Related article: What is ADSL and ADSL2+

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