Much like electricity or water, a fast Internet connection is no longer a luxury or a nice-to-have addition, but an essential piece of infrastructure.
And that’s where an NBN connection comes in.
What is the National Broadband Network (NBN)?
Let’s start with the basics. Broadband is an umbrella term for faster internet connectivity. The term implies a broader bandwidth, which allows for higher information transfer. Imagine a super highway where millions of vehicles can travel at the same time, without causing a major traffic jam. Mind you, even with the NBN you can still experience a slow-down of traffic at peak evening times, but less so than with other types of connections.
Compared to other internet connections, such as ADSL or ADSL2+, which use a copper infrastructure that was not originally intended for more complex things than telegrams or phone calls, NBN is here to deliver on the promise of speed and reliability. But how fast your internet is can still largely depend on the type of NBN connection you have.
Types of broadband
Not all broadband connections are created equal. The NBN uses different types of connections across the network. That’s not something that you can choose or that is consistent to a neighbourhood, or even street. But let’s see what the confusing NBN acronyms stand for and how they each fare with experts and users.
- FTTP – fibre to the premises – optimal speed using fibre optic cable directly to your home.
- FTTC – fibre to the curb – considered the second best option; fibre optic to the curb of a building.
- FTTB – fibre to the building – similar to FTTC, but used for apartment buildings.
- HFC Cable – relies on the fibre coaxial existing TV infrastructure, and considered inferior to the three above.
- FTTN – fibre to the node – relies on existing copper wiring. How good the connection is depends on the quality of the wires, some of which are very old. Considered the lesser quality of the bunch, the FTTN services 40% of the NBN.
Is the NBN available now?
Australians have been way behind the rest of the world when it comes to Internet connectivity. A National Broadband Network (NBN) has been in the making for many years, and the roll-out is now well under way, and estimated to continue into 2020.
Alexandria and Erskineville have been among the first suburbs in Australia to get the then novel FTTC (fibre to the curb) connections in 2017. Most of the houses in the area are already serviced by the NBN, with a smaller number of properties still awaiting connection. If you haven't received notice that the NBN is now available in your street, there's an easy way to find out when you're set to be connected, and what type of connection is planned for your property.
What do you need to do?
The NBN roll-out is Government-funded, so it comes at no direct charge to you. Once NBN is available for your property, you are encouraged to move your connection to it. To do that you will need to choose an internet provider and a plan that suits you.
The NBN effects on the housing market
In the UK and the US, where the broadband has been in existence for some time, there is evidence to suggest it has had an impact on the property market. A UK poll suggested a few years ago that British home buyers considered a good broadband connection came before off street parking and other local amenities.
In Australia, where the NBN rollout is still under way, the evidence is anecdotal at this stage. But there are clear signs from our conversations with home buyers that it has entered their list of considerations. While a fast NBN connection might not significantly boost property sales or rental prices in the current market, a bad connection can certainly have a negative impact. The NBN is also likely to become an important differentiation point when similar properties are listed.
If you’re in the market for a new property, or if your house is yet to get a connection, make sure you inform yourself and ask the right questions.
Do get in touch today if you want to have a chat about how your property might be affected by the NBN.