NBN Multi-Technology Mix Comparison

See how the different technologies in NBN's Multi-Technology Mix stack up against one another

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is being rolled out across Australia.  The current Government's NBN policy is to rollout broadband using a mix of technologies, utilising and upgrading parts of the existing copper and cable networks to complete the network sooner.  However, what you can achieve and expect may differ across the various NBN technologies being used in each area.

What is the NBN?

The National Broadband Network is Australia’s new high-speed broadband network.  It’s purpose is to replace or upgrade the existing telecommunications networks that we currently use to receive phone services and to access the Internet.

The upgrade to the National Broadband Network is compulsory and isn't done automatically.  The existing Telstra phone network and ADSL/2+ services delivered over the network will be switched off 18 months after the area goes live. However, you'll get plenty of warning from your existing provider and from nbn™ who will mail you to notify you of the disconnection.

Depending on the area you're in, the NBN technology and upgrade process may differ.  If you're unsure what technology your area will be covered by, contact your service provider or nbn™ to find out.  Read our comprehensive NBN rollout guide for more information.

Here at Finder, we've done a detailed comparison of the different technologies being used in the National Broadband Network to break down the jargon and to make your upgrade process easier.

TechnologyPopulation coveredDownload SpeedsUpload Speeds
Fibre to the Premises
(FTTP)
~25%1 Gbps 400 Mbps 
Fibre to the Node
(FTTN)
~29%25 Mbps
(up to 100 Mbps)
5 Mbps
(up to 40 Mbps)
Fibre to the Basement
(FTTB)
~11%25 Mbps
(up to 100 Mbps)
5 Mbps
(up to 40 Mbps)
Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial
(HFC)
~27%100 Mbps 40 Mbps 
Fixed Wireless~5%25 Mbps
(up to 50 Mbps)
5 Mbps
(up to 20 Mbps)
Long Term Satellite~3%25 Mbps5 Mbps
TechnologyPopulation coveredTechnician Installation required
Fibre to the Premises
(FTTP)
~25%Yes
An NBN technician will come out to install the external NBN utility box and internal NBN connection box.
Fibre to the Node
(FTTN)
~29%No
(Unless speeds fail to reach the mandated 25 Mbps download speed requirement. In that case, NBN will install a central filter at the premises.)
Fibre to the Basement
(FTTB)
~11%No
(Unless speeds fail to reach the mandated 25 Mbps download speed requirement. In that case, NBN will install a central filter at the premises.)
Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial
(HFC)
~27%Unknown
(The installation process for HFC is currently still being developed ahead of the product launch in 2016)
Fixed Wireless~5%Yes
An NBN technician will come out to install the NBN wireless antenna on the rooftop and internal NBN connection box.
Long Term Satellite~3%Yes
An NBN technician will come out to install the NBN satellite dish on the rooftop and internal NBN connection box.
TechnologyPopulation coveredInternetPhone
Fibre to the Premises
(FTTP)
~25% nbn™ supplied NTD
 ISP supplied (or BYO) router
nbn™ supplied NTD
Plug in existing phone to NTD
Fibre to the Node
(FTTN)
~29% ISP supplied (or BYO) modem ISP supplied (or BYO) modem
VoIP ATA to plug in existing phones
Fibre to the Basement
(FTTB)
~11% ISP supplied (or BYO) modem ISP supplied (or BYO) modem
VoIP ATA to plug in existing phones
Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial
(HFC)
~27% nbn™ supplied NTD
 ISP supplied (or BYO) router
Unknown
Fixed Wireless~5% nbn™ supplied NTD
 ISP supplied (or BYO) router
ISP supplied (or BYO) router
VoIP ATA to plug in existing phones
Phone lines will continue functioning
Long Term Satellite~3% nbn™ supplied NTD
 ISP supplied (or BYO) router
ISP supplied (or BYO) modem
VoIP ATA to plug in existing phones
Phone lines will continue functioning
TechnologyPopulation coveredInternetPhone
(incl. Triple-0)
Fibre to the Premises
(FTTP)
~25%
With the backup battery option, users can plug their computers directly to the nbn™ connection box to continue using the Internet during a power outage.

With the backup battery option, users can continue making phone calls during a power outage using a traditional phone set plugged directly into the nbn™ connection box.
Fibre to the Node
(FTTN)
~29%
nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Node.

nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Node.
Fibre to the Basement
(FTTB)
~11%
nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Basement.

nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Basement.
Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial
(HFC)
~27%UnknownUnknown
Fixed Wireless~5%
nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for NBN Fixed Wireless.

However, existing phone services delivered over Telstra's phone network will continue operation as normal
Long Term Satellite~3%
nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for NBN Satellite.

However, existing phone services delivered over Telstra's phone network will continue operation as normal
NBN Speeds

Across the fixed-line networks, the NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and NBN Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) networks are capable of delivering speeds in excess of 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload.  Roughly 25% of Australian premises will receive a new Fibre to the Premises connection, while an additional 27% of premises who have access to Telstra and Optus' cable TV networks will be upgraded to be able to access those speeds.

The remaining portion of the NBN fixed-line footprint will utilise a mixture of Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) and Fibre to the Node (FTTN).  The speeds that end users can expect from the NBN will vary depending on the customers distance from the NBN node.  nbn™ has a mandated requirement to deliver speeds of at least 25/5 Mbps to all customers across the NBN network.

The NBN Fixed Wireless and Long Term Satellite service (expected to launch in 2016) can deliver speeds of 25/5 Mbps to all customers and can soon provide up to 50/20Mbps to Fixed Wireless customers.

NBN Installation

An NBN technician installing a Fixed Wireless antenna on a rooftop

As nbn™ rolls out new infrastructure parts of its network, an NBN technician may have to come out to your premises to connect you to the National Broadband Network.

If you're in the NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) footprint, an NBN technician may have to come and install the external NBN utility box (if not already installed) as well as the internal NBN connection box to connect you to the NBN.  Similarly in the NBN Fixed Wireless and NBN Satellite footprints, an NBN technician will come to your premises to install a rooftop antenna or satellite dish and an NBN connection box inside the user's premises.

The NBN Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and NBN Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) technologies do not typically require an technician installation.  Normally, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide you with a new VDSL modem to replace your existing ADSL/ADSL2+ modem.  Once NBN switches on your area, simply swap over to your new modem and your service will be up and running again.

In the case where your NBN FTTN or FTTB service is unable to deliver speeds of 25/5 Mbps, nbn™ may send out technicians to remediate (or repair) your phone line.

NBN Equipment

NBN Fibre Connection Box

As you migrate over to the NBN, your existing networking equipment such as routers and modems may need to be upgraded to support the new network.

If you're in the NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Fixed Wireless or Satellite footprints, your Internet connection will be delivered to a single port on the NBN-provided connection box (or NTD).  To share your Internet connection with multiple devices within your home, you may need a new NBN-compatible router with Wi-Fi functionality.  Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may supply you with a compatible router as part of your plan, or you may need to purchase the router yourself.

If you're in the NBN Fibre to the Node (FTTN) or Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) footprints, your Internet connection will be delivered to the first phone port at your premises.  Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) should provide you with an NBN-compatible VDSL modem.

During a Power Outage

Unlike your current phone service with Telstra, not all technologies in NBN's Multi-Technology Mix will continue working during a power outage.

If you're in the NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) footprint, you can choose to install the optional NBN Battery Backup Unit to continue receiving phone and internet services in the event of a power blackout.  For phone services, simply plug in a traditional corded phone to one of the NBN voice ports on the NBN Connection Box.  For internet services, plug your laptop directly into the data port on the NBN Connection Box using an ethernet cable to continue accessing the Internet.

In all NBN other footprints, nbn™ does not provide a Battery Backup option.  You may wish to purchase an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to continue powering your networking equipment - however, nbn™ does not guarantee that their network is accessible during a power outage.

Migrating to the NBN is compulsory

Moving to the National Broadband Network (NBN) is compulsory and the process is not automatic. We've written a detailed NBN upgrade guide to help you through the process of switching to the National Broadband Network.  Depending on the area you're in, the technology and upgrade process may differ.

A standard NBN installation is free of charge. However, some ISPs may decide to charge a set-up fee or sign you up to a long-term contract.  There are also service providers who offer free trials and no-contract options.  If you find a better NBN deal, you may want to ask your current service provider to see if they're willing to match the price.

Kenneth Tsang

Kenneth is the publisher for Broadband and Internet TV at finder.com.au. He's currently studying Geospatial Engineering at UNSW. You could say he's a bit of an NBN geek.

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2 Responses to NBN Multi-Technology Mix Comparison

  1. Default Gravatar
    Barry | December 23, 2015

    I own a unit in a Strata Title building and the NBN is getting close. I assume we will be supplied with FTTB, but I would like to have FTTP speeds.

    It is unclear whether FTTB will supply these speeds. Can you tell me if this is possible?

    Barry

    • Staff
      Kenneth | January 13, 2016

      Hi Barry,

      Thanks for your question.

      NBN will guarantee speeds of at least 25/5 Mbps to all Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) premises and will also offer speeds of up to 100 Mbps / 40 Mbps on FTTB — subject to a service qualification check. The availability of these higher speeds depend on factors like the condition of the copper cable to your home and the distance to your assigned node.

      Once the NBN is available and you still find that the speeds achieved are inadequate for your needs, NBN also provides an option to upgrade the technology offering to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) at your own cost. This is known as the Technology Choice Program and more information on this can be found on the NBN website.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Ken

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