What is a ULL ID? How to find yours to speed up your NBN setup

Having trouble connecting to the NBN after signing up? You might need to provide your ULL ID number.

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For many Australians, signing up to the NBN is an exciting proposition. Even though the multi-mix technology solution we have now doesn't live up to the promise of near-universal fibre we were originally promised, switching from ADSL can still bring a massive speed boost.

Sometimes, though, the process of getting connected isn't as smooth as you might like. I should know – I spent two whole months without an Internet connection after signing up to the NBN.

When I chased up technical support to ask what the holdup was, I was informed that nbnco (the company that's building the NBN) was struggling to find the line that connected the local node to my house. Initially I was asked for my home phone number, but apparently, that didn't help. Then I was asked to provide my ULL ID.

So what is a ULL ID anyway?

Who likes technical jargon? You? Then you're going to love this bit.

According to nbn's dictionary for FTTN connections (pdf) , the ULL ID is "the unique 10 digit number allocated by Telstra to a ULLS". And because you can't define an acronym without using another acronym in this universe, nbn defines a ULLS as an "unconditioned local loop service".

Super-useful information, to be sure. But what does it actually mean? Basically, the ULL ID is a unique number for the copper phone line leading into your house. It's not your telephone number – you can change your telephone number after all. Given Telstra was responsible for rolling the copper into the vast majority of homes around the country, it's generally a number it created or provided.

While it's a 10-digit number, it's worth noting that the ULL ID begins with the digits "161". That may not sound important, but it may help you locate it, should the need arise.

How do you find your ULL ID?

This is the not-so-fun part. For starters, you're going to have to hop on the phone to your ADSL provider, wait on hold for a varying amount of time depending on your ISP's level of investment in customer service staff, and ask. While you're waiting, you could consider crossing your fingers and praying to your respective deity that you'll get the information you ask for.

That's because it appears that you won't always get it. A quick search of the Whirlpool forums shows plenty of examples of people who have contacted their ISP for a ULL ID only to be told that it can't be provided. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of success stories on the broadband forum either.

There are some exceptions. If you're a TPG ADSL customer, you should be able to locate your ULL ID within your My Account portal. Simply head to the ADSL settings option and you'll find the ULL ID listed as a "Nominated number".

As a TPG customer, I lucked out by finding my number in my account details. But colleagues on iiNet had no such luck sourcing it independently.

Ultimately, you're at the mercy of your ADSL ISP's service department to provide you with your ULL ID. There's a good chance you won't need it when connecting, but if you do, good luck.

In the meantime...

If you're trapped in the cogs of the NBN machine and need a quick solution for your Internet needs, you might want to consider signing up for a month-to-month mobile broadband plan to tide you over. Not only are there plenty of cheap options nowadays, many pack data caps equal to what traditional fixed-line services were offering just a few years ago. Best of all, signing up to a month-to-month plan doesn't lock you into any commitments, so as soon as your NBN connection is available, you can simply cancel your mobile broadband service without having to pay any nasty termination fees.

To find a mobile broadband plan suitable for your needs, check out our mobile broadband plan comparison tool.

Looking for a better NBN deal? Compare NBN plans now

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