95,000 Australians could face summer broadband disconnection as NBN cutoff looms

Alex Kidman 3 January 2018 NEWS

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Australians who have ignored the disconnection window could find themselves without phone or internet services for extended periods of time.

The National Broadband Network has faced intense criticism in recent years for a number of issues, some more fairly balanced than others, but it's always been part of the rollout plan that, as services are switched on via the network, existing legacy copper services would be switched off.

The typical window given for disconnections is 18 months, after which existing landline telephony and ADSL services simply won't be provisioned any further. While a decent proportion of Australians are still waiting for the NBN to roll into town, it's a reality of life for more than half the population in terms of available access.

Which isn't quite the same thing as the number of Australians who have actually taken up an NBN connection. Our analysis of NBN cutoff dates reveals that the 18 month cutoff window is due to hit 173 suburbs nationwide, with up to 95,590 premises potentially liable to lose access by the end of the month.

So where are the cuts likely to hit the hardest? Here's the breakdown of suburbs facing copper switchoff in January 2018, sorted by number of premises:

Suburb State Premises
Pakenham Victoria 15,482
Murray Bridge South Australia 4,690
Edmonton Queensland 3,692
Terrigal New South Wales 3,078
Nelson Bay New South Wales 2,601
Mountain Creek Queensland 2,528
Beckenham Western Australia 2,525
Melbourne Victoria 2,479
Dubbo New South Wales 2,446
Nicholls Australian Capital Territory 2,183
Queens Park Western Australia 2,069
East Cannington Western Australia 2,064
Currimundi Queensland 1,977
Mount Barker South Australia 1,798
Cannington Western Australia 1,769
Withers Western Australia 1,564
Tuggerah New South Wales 1,517
Belair South Australia 1,513
Park Holme South Australia 1,473
Parrearra Queensland 1,383

What should I do if my suburb is on that list?

If you've signed up for an NBN service already, you can breathe easy. You may wish to change providers once you're connected to take advantage of deals or possibly get a better speed outcome, but once you're activated, you're good to go.

However, if you're not on the NBN yet and you're in those suburbs, you should start checking our NBN plan tracker and sorting out a plan and provider that best suits your needs as soon as possible. Preferably today, because you're really leaving it until the last minute now.

The reality here is that there's likely to be a rush of activation requests as the cutoff looms, and that could lead to delays in processing your order, which in turn could result in you losing broadband or landline phone access for a time if it's not processed before the switch off happens.

What should I do if I'm not in those suburbs, but not on the NBN yet?

You absolutely should check your address (which you can do on our handy NBN Rollout map) to see when the NBN build is scheduled to commence or conclude in your area. With the entire project scheduled for completion by 2020, it's likely that some kind of construction or schedule estimate is available for your home or place of business. If construction has concluded, your 18 month window may already be ticking away.

There are some exceptions to this. Anyone on the HFC section of the NBN faces an uncertain timeframe, with NBN pausing HFC rollouts recently and promising only to update consumers in February this year as to when they're likely to see rollouts recommence.

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