What is OptiComm Internet?
The OptiComm network provides a high-speed alternative to the NBN. But do you have access to it?
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Have you just moved into a housing estate or a new development? If so, you might be lucky enough to have landed in an OptiComm zone – a high-speed alternative to the NBN.
How does OptiComm work?
OptiComm is Australia's largest privately-owned provider of, what is essentially the same as, Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) networks. It is one of the few private alternatives to the government-owned NBN (National Broadband Network) fibre cable network that most people are familiar with.
Back in 2009, Opticomm was one of several companies that started laying down high-speed fibre broadband infrastructure. Today it rents out those cables to other telecommunications providers like Exetel and iiNet.
Since the OptiComm network offers the equivalent of the fastest NBN technology, FTTP, OptiComm should perform as well as or better than any NBN connection. The catch is that it's only available to a small number of communities, so it's not at all surprising that you may not have heard of it before.
What are OptiComm plan speeds like?
Like most Internet users, you probably care about speed. Luckily, the OptiComm network is entirely composed of high-speed fibre cables, giving you access to lightning fast broadband.
Plans for the OptiComm network are divided into speed tiers in the exact same way that the NBN is. Here are the speed tiers available, along with their maximum download and upload speeds:
- 12/1 (NBN Basic I equivalent): 12Mbps download, 1Mbps upload.
- 25/5 (NBN Basic II equivalent:) 25Mbps download, 5Mbps upload.
- 50/20 (NBN Standard equivalent): 50Mbps download, 20Mbps upload.
- 100/40 (NBN Fast equivalent): 100Mbps download, 40Mbps upload.
- 250/25 (NBN Superfast equivalent): 250Mbps download, 25Mbps upload.
- 1000/50 (NBN Ultrafast equivalent): 1000Mbps (1Gbps) download, 50Mbps upload.
Because all OptiComm connections are the same, anyone on the network can purchase whichever speed tier they're after. This is different to the NBN, where some connection types don't support Standard or faster speeds.
Where is OptiComm available?
OptiComm is heavily restricted and is largely only available in new or recently developed housing estates. Here's a map showing all of the places that you can currently get an OptiComm plan.
Keep in mind that if you're outside of an OptiComm zone, you can't purchase an OptiComm plan. Instead, you'll be serviced by the NBN.
OptiComm vs NBN: What's the difference?
In most ways, an OptiComm Internet connection is identical to an NBN FTTP connection. It uses the same core of high-speed fibre-optic cables to transfer signals rapidly. The only real difference is in who maintains the network and the technology that's employed.
OptiComm is superior to around 80% of NBN connections because it doesn't include any older technology. Most of the NBN uses decades-old copper wires and coaxial cables as part of its connections, which can't transmit signals as fast as fibre-optic can. This limits the maximum speed of some Australian NBN connections.
On the other hand, the NBN is available to almost all Australians, while OptiComm is only an option for a select few. If you have access to OptiComm, there's very little chance of it being replaced by the NBN in future – which is probably great news for you, considering how fast it is!
One potential downside of OptiComm is that you may or may not have access to free-to-air TV in your housing estate. This will depend on exactly how your building has been wired. On the plus side, if free-to-air TV is available, Foxtel and other cable TV options will be, too.
Like the NBN, if you're not keen on a fixed-line home Internet connection, you could look into other wireless alternatives such as mobile broadband and home wireless broadband. Keep in mind that there are less "unlimited data" options for these types of connections. The quality of your Internet connection may also vary since it's heavily dependent on your location and network availability. But chances are that if you've got a decent signal on your mobile plan at your location, mobile broadband and home wireless should work just as well as your phone's Internet service.
OptiComm providers: Who offers it?
Although you're more limited in your choice of providers than you would be with the NBN, there are still plenty of providers out there that will cater to your needs. The Internet providers that offer plans on the OptiComm network are:
- Harbour ISP
- Aussie Broadband
- Brennan IT
- City Communications
- Clear Broadband
- Commander Broadband
- Connected Australia
- MyOwn Tel
- Origin Net
Finder doesn't offer OptiComm plans directly, but you can head to one of the provider websites listed above to get started with an OptiComm plan.
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