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Review: The National Broadband Network

What is the National Broadband Network (NBN)

We live in a “need for speed” era in which people expect speedier and more reliable access to internet services such as web pages, YouTube videos, cyber games etc. Because of this, the government announced the National Broadband Network (NBN) Scheme a few years ago. Until recently, the NBN has finally been rolled out to the general public; however I believe many of you still have little idea about what the NBN is and how you would benefit from it. If so, this is the article for you. We’ll also address some of your potential questions, such as what the adopted technologies are, how the overall performance is, costs etc.

What is the National Broadband Network (NBN)?

The NBN is the national network of communication infrastructure that utilises fibre optic, fixed wireless and satellite technology to speed up the Internet connections, which substantially benefit both commercial and individual users. The NBN involves three forms of connections to serve residents living in the different areas of Australia. We’ll elaborate on them separately:

1.      Fibre Optic

Optical Fibre vs. Copper
NameCopperOptical Fibre
Bandwidth10 Mbsp – 10 Gbps100 Mbps  – 100 Gbps
Max. Distance100 meters1000,000 meters
Spark HazardHazardousNo spark hazard
WeightHeavy1/8th weight of
NoiseEmits NoiseNoise Immune
Lifecycle5 years30 – 50 years
Installation Skills RequiredLowHigh
Installation CostLowHigh
Maintenance CostHighLow


Over 90 per cent of Australian premises will be connected with fibre optic cables. With the connection of optical fibre cables, users can experience fast upload and download speeds at a minimum of 100 Megabits per second and can be even further upgraded to 1 Gigabits per second by partially upgrading hardware. By contrast, the old connection, copper network, usually provides around 25 Megabits per second, which is less enjoyable and pleasant for users. Furthermore, copper wires in terms of material durability can be affected by humidity and extreme heat; thereby data speed being reduced, while fibre cables are much more tolerant of various and changing conditions. Moreover, there is much less data loss during the transmission using optical fibre cables in comparison with using copper wire transmission.

As the statistics presented in the table above show (i.e. table 2), using optical fibre results in less buffering and less waiting time while browsing webpages. In other words, it contributes to a more delightful internet surfing experience. Speaking of the cons, relatively more technical skills are required for electricians/technicians when installing. Plus, the installation cost is more expensive; however, as prices for hardware have been steadily dropping, I believe optical fibre will be more affordable in the near future.

1.      Fixed Wireless

For those living in the country, physical cable is not as accessible. For metropolitan residents, however, fixed wireless can help you out! Setting up an antenna on your roof is all you need to do. The antenna can receive wireless signals from a local NBN wireless tower. Because of wireless connections, download and upload speeds are slower than wired connections, which are around 12 Mbps and 1 Mbps respectively. The NBN wireless connection is only recommended when you cannot be connected to optical fibre cable.

2.      Satellite

Satellite NBN is a real “life saver” for those living in truly remote regions. People residing in some areas like the middle of the outback and the Great Barrier Reef haven’t had a good chance at accessing the Internet, and now with the aid of the NBN satellite they are able to access the basic broadband. However, accessing the Internet through satellite, has restrictions. Data quota is limited, plans are more expensive and data speeds are slower than wireless connections with up to 6 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

NBN Plan Comparison

After the official rollout of NBN, customers are able to choose a plan from a range of providers. Compare plans and providers so that you may have better understanding of price ranges, Internet quota, data speed and add-ons etc.

 The NBN Coverage Check

You can visit www.nbnco.com.au to view the availability of the NBN in your area by typing in your exact address in the search bar. Below is a quick peek of the NBN availability in the Adelaide Region.



You should now have some understanding about what the National Broadband Network is. It is a nationwide project supported and funded by the Australian Government to upgrade the existing network communication infrastructure to a completely new level, facilitating the super-fast internet access of residents living in all regions in Australia.

If you need more information or require support for the National Broadband Network, please contact our friendly Tech Team on 8269 5260 or email us at support@forerunner.com.au.