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Byron Shire
January 29, 2022

When will I get my NBN?

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NBN technician Rajav Kapil connecting an apartment block to the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Brunswick, Melbourne. (AAP)
While the NBN boasts an new search engine indicating when you can expect fast broadband in your area, not everyone will be happy with the results. (AAP)

Chris Dobney

That’s the question many northern rivers residents are asking, plagued as many of us are by paying high prices for third-world internet services.

Well now NBNCo says it’s done a ‘major upgrade’ but, wait for it. It’s not to the quality of their rollouts but to the widget that tells you when you will ever get it.

According to the company, some one-third of Australians can now receive broadband on a comparable scale to most other countries.

But perhaps because of the timing of the media release, the company’s search widget is exceedingly slow. Or maybe that’s the fault of my six-megabit ADSL internet connection.

Living in rural Binna Burra, I am told I could already be connected to the NBN – but only via the much-maligned SkyMuster satellite, which had some 24 thousand people signed up still waiting to access the service as of last September.

But despite the slow searching I did manage to turn up some positive results.

Murwillumbah first up

Murwillumbah is first in line, with fibre to the node FTTN due to come online there in July this year.

Reasonably close behind will be Byron Bay and Lismore, both of which can expect FTTN to be available by December.

In Mullumbimby, Alstonville and Lennox Head, it could be as late as December 2018 before residents can apply for their FTTN connection.

Ballina will get its fibre to the curb connection completed at around the same time.

The clear loser will be Bangalow, which won’t get the NBN until its final roll-out phase in 2020 – and even then only the slower fixed internet service will be available.

NBN’s chief customer officer, John Simon, said the number one question people ask is ‘when am I getting the NBN?’.

60,000 homes a week

‘On average we are making the network available to around 60,000 new homes and businesses each week, so it stands to reason that there is growing interest in when the network will be available across the country,’ he said.

‘With this in mind, we have moved away from telling people when we’ll be building in their neighbourhood to when they can contact their retailer to buy a service,’ he added.

‘We have been working hard to provide as much clarity as possible on the rollout for the majority of Australians, but as is the nature of this business, people need to be prepared for change.’

Mr Simon said it was ‘not until we are in the streets that we have a clear view of the technology available to individual homes so there are times where a different solution is determined to be better than that which was planned.

‘The sheer size and complexity of the network build means there will always be a need for flexibility on our technology choice and service availability dates.’

He added that NBN ‘relies on address information from external sources that are outside of our control, which means we do discover the odd exception within our database containing around 12 million locations.

‘We will continue to update our website as more information becomes available,’ Mr Simon said.

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  1. ADSL? Luxury! Try living in a location where ADSL is unavailable, and you’re only option is slow, unreliable and extremely expensive wireless. I dream of having ADSL…

    But seriously, be careful what you wish for. I’ve read horror stories of people connecting to NBN and experiencing worse service than before

  2. Beware of the wireless NBN. In my experience it has been rubbish. Very unreliable and often slower than the copper cable ADSL we used to have! The ISP couldn’t deliver the promised 25/5 speeds we signed up for. It’s a joke. A very expensive joke! People will vote for the Coalition it seems, and this what happens every time they are in power. Policy failures on a national scale.

  3. What has been noticeable in the last twelve months is the diminishing standard of service across the area, whether ADSL or mobile (wireless). It’s been shameful. I’m left wondering if the service providers are using the NBN roll out (which is still on the never never for here) as an excuse to downgrade their services to the entire Northern Rivers. A slower network is a cheaper network to service. It’s pretty clear that when they crow about their roll out figures, they are based on population not geographic location so by rolling out NBN across the innner suburbs of our major cities thus actually servicing bugger all of the Australian network, they can make claims of already covering most Australians. I wonder how much further along they’d be if they took all that effort they put into PR and marketing, telling us what a great job they’re doing, and channeled that into actually doing. Instead we have to put up with existing services being wound back and degraded with nothing to replace them.

    • For the past 12 months (at least) the internet, as you say including ADSL and Mobile, are frustratingly slow, even more so than they were before. Perhaps it is to encourage us to switch to NBN (at increased cost and then only Fibre To The Node!), or maybe because everyone is moving into internet mode as predicated by the way businesses do business?! Either which way, it is less than third world service out here in the coastal fringe and not likely to improve in the near future if the “new” widget is any guide 🙁

  4. I note that the rollout in this area is pretty much all going to be FTTN (Fibre to the node) which uses the crappy old Telstra copper for last few hundred meters to your home.

    Everyone complains about the local roads that are awful and need constant patching to be usable. This is what we are getting with FTTN. Beautiful big cement surface highway that pretty much doesn’t get potholes to get you most of the way, then borderline crappy old roads that you use every day to get to/from your house and work.

    Under the NBN “Technology Choice Program” if Byron Shire Council got off their collective backsides and asked for it, we could get fiber all the way to every home and business in every township in Byron Shire. Yes it will cost us extra now, but its like building all the local roads out of concrete.

    Having super fast, reliable internet for the next 25 years will pay for itself many times over. Its not just Facebook and email, I am talking 3D VR, teleworking, remote health and a million other things we haven’t even though of yet (none of us knew about Uber or Facebook only a few years back).

    But no, lets spend millions of dollars patching our old roads up, that sounds like forward thinking!

  5. I was informed late last year that the node would be conected to our basement 17th March 2017. We are an apartment block at Coolangatta QLD. Not one of our 12 apartments have a land line phone. We are all digital.
    I don’t think we have to connect to the NBN if we are digital but i could be wrong? Gypsy 7.

  6. We had to connect to the NBN Wireless network about a year ago because after 3 years plus of empty promises to properly repair our Telstra land line cattle and bats finally destroyed the “temporary” repairs made by Telstra,

    All I can say is don’t hold your breath if you think that you will get much faster speeds with the NBN – usual pace is approx 2 -3 mbs although like one of the above correspondents initially 20 mbs for the first month or so then a rapid decline over the next few months to current pace (note I not using “speed”).

    Our service provider who has looked after us for 10 plus years (yes happy with its service) cannot make any headway with the NBN mob. Of course the NBN mob refuse to deal with us end users – we are just here to be conned not listened to.


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