Copper cable

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

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

The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) is gaining momentum, with over 4.5 million homes and businesses now able to connect to the network via a mix of technologies.

Alarmingly though, only half that number of buildings have actually been connected. In other words, 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 finder.com.au revealed that 58% of Australians remain blissfully unaware that their current ADSL Internet and phone service will 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 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 compulsory.

What gets disconnected?

According to NBN Co, the following services will be permanently disconnected if you don't arrange to move them to the NBN network before the advised date:

  • 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.

Copper cut-off timeframes

From the moment you receive notification that you can switch to the NBN, you 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.

If you’re unsure when your existing network will be discontinued, use the finder NBN address checker. 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.

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

Unless you're in the small amount of areas that are deemed adequately served, switching to the NBN is mandatory. 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 an 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.

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