Why upgrade to fibre? Not all NBN connections are created equal

April 11th, 2022 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Colette Smith

Internet is internet, yea? Well, not quite. You could have all the best equipment available on the market today, but there’s one thing that could be holding you back from achieving the breadth of speeds available: your NBN connection. 

When NBN Co first rolled out their network, you didn’t get a choice on which connection type you wanted. You got the internet technology you were given.  

It felt a little like a technology lottery. Some addresses could get fibre direct to their premises. Whereas others got fibre near their property, at the curb or to nodes up the street and then existing copper wiring used for phone lines took it the rest of the way to you. 

This approach worked well for a speedy, nation-wide rollout of a massive broadband network, but for those who missed out, it could be disappointing to see what was just out of reach. 

Now, NBN Co has opened up the opportunity for almost two million new addresses to get fibre optic cable technology right to your door. 

And it won’t cost you a cent*. 

*Additional external costs may apply.

What is the fibre upgrade? 

NBN Co’s Fibre Connect initiative aims to upgrade Aussie homes and businesses from that old-school copper wiring to high-speed fibre optic cables.

The copper cables used for existing Fibre to Node (FTTN) and Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) connections limit your ability to access faster speeds. They’re also more susceptible to damage or deterioration, weather and extreme weather events, accidents and other things well out of your control.  

FTTP vs FTTN vs FTTC:
What does it all mean?

An upgrade to fibre means your home or business can access the full range of nbn™ plans available on the market today. 

Want a 1000 Mbps nbn™ plan? With a fibre upgrade to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), that could become an actual option on the table.

For now the fibre upgrade program is only available to FTTN connections, but upgrading FTTC connections is on the horizon, so sit tight! Help is on the way! 

In fact, an NBN Co statement says that:

“By the end of 2023, up to 8 million premises in total will be eligible to access nbn Home Ultrafast, offering wholesale download speeds of 500 Mbps to close to 1 Gbps.”  

Why would you want a fibre upgrade?

We live by the rule of no BS here at Aussie, so with that in mind, we’ll freely admit that not every house or business is going to need the highest speed tier available. 

Yes, the more reliable fibre connection might come in handy, but for many, a 50 Mbps nbn™  plan or less is perfectly sufficient. 

However, for others who are battling perhaps with working from home and frequent video conference calls, or who may have multiple devices trying to connect to data-hungry services like streaming, gaming, or accessing business applications, these lower speeds may struggle to keep up. 

Read more: How a fibre upgrade
can help scale your business

Upgrading to a fibre connection opens the door to high-speed internet options that just aren’t possible on the lower-grade copper cables.  

Why is copper wiring so bad for internet?

As the technology pre-dates the internet, clearly, those old wires weren’t designed for transmitting internet signal. Rather, their purpose was to connect homes and businesses to phone lines. And it does this job well. 

Copper cables are designed to conduct electricity, so this makes them highly vulnerable to power lines, lightning, fire, as well as other extreme weather events. Copper also has a low tolerance for tension. This makes it much easier to damage due to accidents or even during its installation. 

Additionally, because copper wasn’t made for sending internet signal, it turns out it’s actually not great at doing that job. Over the length of 100 metres copper wiring loses around 94% of signal

Keep in mind that 100 metres is a realistic distance that copper wiring would span for many Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) connections. In some FTTN cases, line lengths can be as long as a kilometre!

That means that although your internet gets the high-speed fibre to your closest NBN node up the street or to your curb, most of that signal gets lost between that point and where you actually use the internet. 

How does copper wiring affect an internet connection?

The Scientific American refers to using this century-old phone wiring for the internet as “like the electronic equivalent of driving on dirt roads.”  

What this means to us using the internet is that you’ll end up with a lot more connection drop-outs, speeds that fluctuate or slow down randomly or even that don’t reach the speeds you should be getting in the first place. Sometimes it may even cause your internet to go down entirely. 

It also tends to cause a bottleneck for your speed. 

Think of it like you’re driving on a slick new freeway at top speed, then suddenly you and all your neighbours need to take your turn off onto a dirt road all at once. That’s what happens to your internet. 

And this is especially problematic during the peak hours when people are using the internet the most (measured from weeknights 7-11pm, also referred to as Typical Evening Speed).

Fibre internet for the win

Of course, fibre does a much better job on all these fronts. Fibre optic cabling was designed for the purpose of delivering internet signal, so naturally, it performs better. 

These fibre optic cables use pulses of light that can carry trillions of bits of data per second between massive data centres. 

Unlike copper, bundles of fibre optic cables used for transmitting internet signal don’t conduct electrical current. This makes a fibre connection resistant to environmental conditions like fire, lightning, temperature fluctuations, and moisture, as well as electromagnetic interference and radio signals.

Fibre cables are also more durable than copper and, in general, the only way to wreck them is if you deliberately try to break them (which we very much would not recommend!).

And as for signal loss, with fibre it’s only 3% over the length of 100 metres.

Shut up and take my money!

Hold your horses, there, and put that wallet away. You don’t have to pay to get a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) connection, the fibre upgrade installation is actually $0* (with some caveats and the usual disclaimers, you know the drill). Assuming, of course, that you’re going to upgrade to a high-speed nbn™ plan and stick with it – and us – for at least 12 months. But also, why wouldn’t you? 

It doesn’t matter if you’re already an Aussie customer or not, all are welcome (as long as you have an eligible premises).

You can find out more and check if your address is eligible here: 

For home
For business

Or if you’d rather have a chat with our friendly onshore team, you can give us a call on 1300 880 905.

 

*Additional external costs may apply. Offer subject to service qualification for nbn™ FTTP upgrade. NBN may recover costs if services are downgraded/cancelled. 

A $200 downgrade/cancellation fee will apply if customers who accept this nbn upgrade downgrade to an ineligible plan or disconnect within first 12 months. Full fibre upgrade terms and conditions.