The NBN copper cut-off: Everything you need to know

The NBN rollout will result in most ADSL broadband connections being shut off.

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Key points

  • If you haven't arranged for your ADSL/landline service to move to the NBN, it might be disconnected.
  • You typically have 18 months to change networks once you've been notified.
  • nbnco and your service provider should notify you well ahead of time.
  • If your address is NBN-enabled, compare plans to find the best one for you.

Compare NBN plans

The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) is gaining momentum, with over 7 million homes and businesses now able to connect to the network via a mix of technologies.Alarmingly though, only slightly more than half that number of buildings have actually been connected. In other words, about 50% of occupants who could be using the NBN are not doing so. This gap is likely to widen as the 2020 rollout completion date approaches.

Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that recent research from revealed that 58% of Australians remain blissfully unaware that their current ADSL Internet and phone service will likely be disconnected if they fail to switch to the NBN in time. Which means a large chunk of the population is in for a rude shock.

Homes and businesses typically have 18 months to migrate to the NBN from the date a connection is made available. After this time, traditional copper and cable-based phone and Internet services will be severed. Ultimately, switching to the NBN will be necessary for those in fixed line (FTTP, FTTN, HFC) areas who want to maintain a fixed-line Internet connection.

What gets disconnected?

According to NBN Co, the following services will be permanently disconnected for all Australians living in fixed-line NBN areas if you don't arrange to move them to the NBN network before the advised date.

Please note that residents receiving fixed wireless or SkyMuster satellite NBN services will not have these services cut off.

  • Telstra home/landline phone services
  • Home/landline phone services from all other phone companies, where the service is provided over Telstra's copper phone lines
  • All ADSL, ADSL2 and ADSL2+ Internet services from all providers
  • Telstra BigPond cable Internet services
  • Optus cable Internet and cable phone services

It’s important to note that if your phone or Internet service is already provided over another fibre network or cable Internet that’s not owned by Telstra or Optus, such as TransACT, Pivit and OptiComm, they will remain unaffected unless your provider advises otherwise. NBN Co dubs this an Adequately Served Area (ASA).

Similarly, customers who have their Foxtel Pay TV service piped across by either satellite or Telstra Cable, will not have their service switched off as part of the NBN rollout.

The only other exceptions to the switch-off are specialised business services such as ISDN lines which are commonly used for PABXs and some EFTPOS terminals.

As well as phone and Internet, it’s important to consider other services running off the old copper-based network that will be affected after the switch-off date. These include:

  • medical alarms, auto diallers or emergency call buttons
  • security alarms
  • EFTPOS or health-claim terminals
  • monitored fire alarms
  • lift emergency phones
  • fax and teletypewriter devices

If your home or business uses any of the above equipment, then be sure to contact the provider well in advance of the switch-off date, to determine whether your existing set-up is compatible with the NBN network. In some cases you may only need to upgrade software, while other services may need a complete upgrade to work properly.

Power and the NBN

One key issue to keep in mind when switching to the NBN is its reliance on a constant source of electricity. Unlike traditional copper-line phones which can operate even during power outages, VoIP phones that run on the NBN require electricity to both make and receive calls. This means that you can't use an NBN phone during a blackout – unless you purchase a battery backup for your NBN modem, that is.

This issue also extends to any other device that relies on phone communications to operate, including medical emergency devices, alarm systems and business payment systems. In the event of a power outage, these devices will be similarly inoperable due to the NBN's need for constant external power.

About the author
Krishan Sharma is an award winning freelance technology journalist who writes for a number of tech focused publications. Outside of his journalistic endeavours, Krishan is an IT professional who has established a wide breadth of experience in the ICT industry.
Above all, Krishan is a self-confessed tech junkie and can usually be found tweaking and testing out the latest gadgets, home theatre gear, games, software and mobile applications.

Copper cut-off timeframes

From the moment you receive notification that you can switch to the NBN, you typically have 18 months to move your services to the new network before the existing network is switched off. Keep in mind that a technician will still need to come out and physically connect your premises to the NBN network. There can be very lengthy queues for a qualified technician, so we highly recommend switching well before your disconnection date.

Be aware that a disconnection date might not be visible for premises that were connected very recently. In this case, simply add 18 months to the "ready for service" date listed, to work out when the disconnection date will be. If you’re unsure when your existing network will be discontinued, use the finder NBN address checker.

What happens if you don’t switch to the NBN?

Unless you're either in the fixed wireless or Satellite NBN areas, or in the small amount of areas that are deemed adequately served, switching to the NBN is the only way to continue receiving a fixed-line Internet service. If you don't make the change, you run the risk of losing your home broadband and phone services.

The good news is that both NBN Co and your ISP will contact you either via direct mail or phone and urge you to change, and will warn you regarding interrupted services if you don’t. If you choose not to act, then 18 months from the date the NBN was connected in your area, you will find yourself without a fixed-line Internet connection.

Compare NBN plans today and prepare for the copper cut-off

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Krishan Sharma

Krishan is an award winning freelance technology journalist who writes for a number of tech focused publications. Outside of his journalistic endeavours, Krishan is an IT professional who has established a wide breadth of experience in the ICT industry. Above all, Krishan is a self-confessed tech junkie and can usually be found tweaking and testing out the latest gadgets, home theatre gear, games, software and mobile applications.

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26 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    NBNDecember 10, 2018

    Thanks for the response, May. I am indeed referring to a broadband service on the mobile network, but I note that while it has a number associated with it, it can only send and receive SMS, i.e. no phone capability exists on the contract. The data allowance is good,and is even better with a contract – I think it rises to 120GB.

    With two of four bars of signal strength, I get better than 30Mb/s download and at least 6Mb/s upload speeds. When 5G arrives, this will apparently raise download speed to a minimum of 100Gb/s, but that’s some way off. As I see it, it’s faster than most people’s NBN service and it’s cheaper, and was available last year, while NBN is in the process of being installed in my area.

    • finder Customer Care
      MayDecember 16, 2018Staff

      Hi NBN Alternative,

      Thanks for getting back and apologies for the delayed reply.

      Yes, true, while you’re waiting for the NBN to be rolled in your location, thanks to the availability of mobile broadband as an alternative! There may be pros and cons (e.g. phone service is limited to sending and receiving SMS only), nevertheless, your data needs will still be served, and I guess it’s more important if you’re consistently using the internet. :)

      Thanks again for dropping by!


  2. Default Gravatar
    BarbDecember 8, 2018

    We just built a new house and I have all the leads at the front dangling from a pole to be connected to a pit. I’m told that we would have to pay hundreds of dollars to get this pit put in before we can have NBN. Telstra in the meantime has put us on wifi. I have a very sick husband whom needs a landline but they insist that it is up to us to put in the pit. The wifi service is shocking and we are limited to only 80g’s per month. Not happy with Telstra as I feel we have been stood over on this.

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnDecember 12, 2018Staff

      Hi Barb,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      I understand your frustration regarding this matter. You might want to check our page here to know what other providers are available in your area. Once you have selected one, you may want to inquire directly to the provider on how they could make the connection to yuor address and for how much. Hope this helps!


  3. Default Gravatar
    NBNDecember 4, 2018

    You don’t include the alternative of a mobile-data-only service, which is faster and cheaper than NBN and available now. Optus has a 100GB service for $70 per month, and I am a satisfied user.

    • finder Customer Care
      MayDecember 10, 2018Staff

      Hi NBN Alternative,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you are pertaining to the mobile broadband, you can find out guide on this page the plans available in the market. Indeed Optus offers 100GB service which was also included in the list, but as of this writing, they offer it for $80. Lucky you’ve got it at a lower price of $70! In case you’d like to compare the price of other providers, you can reset the filters found at the upper right corner of the panel just right on top of our list.

      Hope this has helped.


  4. Default Gravatar
    CNovember 20, 2018

    How can the Government say that everyone is going to be on NBN when my area is still on copper line from the house to the junction box on my street then to about 2 kilo meter or 3 away from a main junction?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 26, 2018Staff

      Hi C Valentino,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      It could be that your area isn’t NBN ready yet. We do have a tracker where you can check the availability of NBN in your area. Please go here to check.

      If you have confirmed that your area isn’t NBN ready yet, you would have to wait. You can also ask NBN when your area would be accommodated. On the other hand, if your area is already NBN ready, then you would need to directly get in touch with your provider and arrange the move of your connection to NBN.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


  5. Default Gravatar
    JanetNovember 19, 2018

    We are with W3 Networks. Do we have to change?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniNovember 19, 2018Staff

      Hi Janet,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      You don’t have to change since W3 Networks offers wireless connection.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  6. Default Gravatar
    DawesiSeptember 1, 2018

    What about cable customers that were given access, then had it suspended due to Telstra’s bogus contract with NBN?

    We’ve just been given a letter we can proceed, so how long do we have? 18 months from the original date, or the new date?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniSeptember 1, 2018Staff

      Hi Dawesi,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Regarding your query, it is best to clarify that with your provider – Telstra. Your provider basically contacts NBN Co about any changes that happen/will happen in your area.

      If you are looking for a page you can use as reference for NBN links and contacts for consumers like you, please check out this ACMA official page.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  7. Default Gravatar
    GottiJuly 30, 2018

    My mum has no computer devices at home but has a Telstra land line.
    What will she need to do to keep her landline?

    • finder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 5, 2018Staff

      Hi Gotti,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Australia is currently undergoing a digital transformation from a predominantly copper network, to the national rollout of the Multi Technology Mix (MTM), predominantly on a fibre network. This will affect the way you currently use your landline, particularly in a power outage. I recommend that you move your services over to the nbn™ access network well before they are switched off, which occurs 18 months after the network is switched on in your area. So please contact your provider regarding your mother’s homephone.

      As per surveys, homephones would completely vanish by 2037.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    • Default Gravatar
      DawesiSeptember 1, 2018

      Landlines will always be used. Business isn’t going to just move to mobiles just because of a survey. They will just move to voip, as most have already.

      Technology changes, people and habits don’t. It’s 2018 and we still use phones, we always will, just _how_ we use them changes, but one thing is for sure cellular phones will not be the standard once lawsuits start rolling for the danger (already proven) they emit through transmissions the brain.

      I.e. skype is a landline, as is facebook messenger video and voice – it’s just through wifi.

      Also considering the lawsuits on using mobiles have started (as they have now been proven to cause cancer in your brain), I’m sure that businesses will move back to voip in an effort to avoid class actions against employers who only provide mobiles.

  8. Default Gravatar
    GregMay 20, 2018

    I have been informed that NBN will not roll out to my suburb in the foreseeable future. The problem is that my suburb is too far from the centre of town(about 5kms from the Orange PO) That is great news as I have ADSL2 without dropouts. I have been told that the dodgy wireless would be the only option. Fortunately, covenants on my property prohibit ugly satellite dishes.

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiMay 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Greg,

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

      It’s great to hear that you’ll have better broadband service near your area. Since you are just 5kms shy from the town center, surely, service will get better soon. You can check on this page to be updated. Just enter your exact location and it will show you the services offered in your area.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.


  9. Default Gravatar
    SeanMay 11, 2018

    who is actually responsible for this – 7 months after moving into a new house neither Telstra nor the NBN can connect me – all they seem to do is lay more and more cable???? Even more frustrating is that I do not even have the internet connect to my house as when they laid the cable they cut everything – and the TIO is absolutely useless in helping with this claim – so someone tell – who do i have to now sue to get connected?

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldMay 12, 2018

      Hi Sean,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      If that is the case, NBN may still not be ready at your location. Telstra cannot provide services at the moment because of the upgrade of the infrastructure that is going on. To check the status and development of the upgrades at your address, please fill in the name of the location using our NBN Tracker. The tracker also allows you to check the approximate time the upgrade will be done.

      Hope this information helps


    • Default Gravatar
      DawesiMay 19, 2018

      In answer to Sean, he would be able to get 4g wireless services until the new services are available, Telstra and Vodafone (and Kogan) have this service now.

      TIO would certainly be able to help with that. It’a matter of asking the right question to TIO, they only answer complaints directly.

  10. Default Gravatar
    JeffApril 17, 2018

    I declined NBN connection because the Techs assured me my ADSL connection was superior. The dropout rate was so horrific they advised me to delay as long as possible. Now it appears the installing fibre to the curb for all those people who are not yet connected. Will I now have a new timetable?

    • finder Customer Care
      MayApril 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      That’s what we’re not sure of. I would suggest that you contact your ISP to confirm. Whether or not, in the future, your ADSL will still be disconnected. So in case you’d like to be installed with NBN fibre, best to get in touch with your ISP soon.


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