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The NBN Technology Choice Program

The NBN Technology Choice Program lets you upgrade to a different NBN technology. But not for free. Boo.

What you need to know

  • NBN Technology Choice lets you gets faster internet with a new tech...for a cost.
  • Quotes for the upgrades range from the low thousands to over $19,000.
  • Eligibility for the program depends on existing infrastructure and planned rollout.

How does it work?

The NBN Technology Choice Program lets you upgrade to Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP). Basically, that's a fibre-optic cable straight into your living room. No old school copper between you and the web. Sounds great, but it can get expensive, depending on your home, and how long the cable needs to run. More on that below.

What tech can I upgrade from?

The program typically lets you upgrade from two of the other NBN technologies, Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) or Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC). FTTN runs fibre to a nearby node, with existing copper for the final connection. FTTC runs fibre to a distribution point, with copper for the last stretch.

The other two NBN connections are Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC), a combination of fibre optic and coaxial cable, and Fixed Wireless: Wireless connection from a transmission tower.

HFC can sometimes be upgraded to FTTP through the program, but not always. It all depends on the way it's installed in your area. For fixed wireless addresses, it's likely that the closest fibre node is a long way from your address, which would make an upgrade REALLY expensive, and probably not feasible. But it could be possible.

Eligibility and Application Process

Eligibility depends on the existing infrastructure and planned NBN rollout in your area. To apply, you can request an online quote to estimate the build costs for upgrading to FTTP. The full application involves submitting documentation, signing a contract, and making an upfront payment. The process can take around 6 months or more, depending on construction complexity.

Costs and Funding

Users must pay the full build costs associated with upgrading to their chosen NBN technology. This is a co-funding model, with costs varying significantly based on factors like distance from existing fibre infrastructure, civil works required, and premises complexity.

We went through dozens of forum posts on the topic, and specific quotes were all over the place. Quotes can range from a few thousand dollars to over $10,000 or even $19,000 in some cases. The online quote tool and business channels may provide different cost estimates for the same FTTP upgrade in limited cases.

Is upgrading worth it?

I've lived in houses with FTTP, FTTN and FTTC, and I've tried about a dozen Fixed Wireless networks over the years. They're all fine for the right use case. Even if you stream and game a lot, or do a lot of data transfer, any of the technologies are okay. You just might have to wait for those massive downloads.

That said, it is really nice to have super fast FTTP! I have it in my new apartment and it's been the absolute best. But I'm not sure if I could justify it for $5,000 let alone $19,000! Your mileage will vary though. It's a big cost for a pretty specific upgrade.

Frequently asked questions

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Tim Bennett is a Finder insurance & utilities expert. For over 10 years he's reported on news, politics, finance and other topics as a journalist and radio presenter. Tim's roles have included radio news reader and breakfast at the ABC, news producer for SBS and producer for Fairfax Media. Tim regularly appears as a health insurance expert on programs like Sunrise and SBS news, as well as in the Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail and more. See full bio

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