Those who’ve followed my journey over many a year will know of our woeful internet journey. Back in the early 2010’s, we lived in a nice older apartment that had Telstra HFC Cable, and we had nice 100mb speeds.
After that, things went down hill. We moved to a place that had only ADSL2, then ADSL2 (but with ADSL1 speeds… uegh), then a place we couldn’t get even ADSL and had to make do with 4G. As much as the 4G was faster than ADSL ever was, it was still pretty horrid, and it wasn’t until mid last year that I actually got a taste for NBN speeds.
However, back then, it was fibre to the curb and – as it was a rental – we had little opportunity to do anything with it; we got good performance from our FTTC connection, but if we wanted to upgrade it, we couldn’t.
Fortunately, having bought a place a little earlier this year, we had the opportunity to try out NBN’s Technology Choice program and – as of this morning – our fibre service is now active. As you can see in the header image, our NBN connection – thanks to Aussie Broadband – is humming along nicely around the 900mbps mark in the middle of the day – that’s a 900% improvement on our previous connection speeds.
We were somewhat fortunate – our Fibre to the Node connection (FTTN) at our new place was a strong performer, routinely hitting the full speeds NBN deemed it could do (100/40, to be precise). However, I wanted something a little faster, but more importantly, with work from home being a big thing this year, something a little more reliable and resilient, too.
With that in mind we pulled the trigger on the Technology Choice program a couple of months ago, and in just over two months, we’ve gone from application to working connection. You might think “he’s just a journalist, so they did his connection quickly” but that doesn’t seem to be the case – many, many other users on Whirlpool are reporting similar timeframes at the moment – between two to three months from application to connection, something much faster than NBN Co had suggested (closer to six months).
It seems – with recent changes to NBN Co’s upcoming works programs – that the national broadband network builder is steaming ahead getting as many fibre upgrades done as it can, across the country – despite COVID restrictions which until recently were causing havoc in Victoria.
We, for one, are not complaining. The service from start to finish has been exceptional, with regular contact from NBN Co, and – when they were involved – their service delivery partners as well. The team that came and did our civil works were friendly, showed up when they said they would, and completed their works slightly ahead of time – we didn’t have to take any extra time off work to get things up and running.
When it came time to do the internal install, the delivery partner contacted us the night before, confirmed a time, and the young fellow showed up when promised, did the install, and was gone within an hour and a half (of course, I had made things slightly easier by conduiting the cable-run from the external connection box to the internal comms cupboard).
From the time the NTD install was completed – Tuesday last week – we had a working fibre connection 10 days later on Friday this week. Probably the only thing we missed was that NBN didn’t tell us it was active – we found out when a random check of the Aussie Broadband POI checker told me that we were no longer served by FTTN, but by full fibre.
The process, at this point, was a little less clear; when you change from a FTTx connection to FTTP, very little actually changes in the NBN Co database, including your “location ID” which is how your NBN providers find you.
What I found is you need to call your NBN provider and request that they “relocate” your connection from the existing location ID to the same one – in the process, NBN’s systems will pick up the new fibre service option and it will “migrate” the service from your FTTx to your fibre.
All in all, it took a few hours to sort this out after a couple of hiccups with Aussie Broadband; perhaps complicated by me not explaining things all that well. As I write this, though, we’re online and enjoying nice fast downloads and super low latency too.
The entire process – from quote fee, to build fee, to development and final switch-over – should all be a thing of the past in the next year or two, at least for those people making do with Fibre to the Node. NBN Co is planning to overbuild virtually all FTTN connections with fibre to the premise, allowing those customers to request an (effectively) free upgrade to full fibre – all they need do is request a faster plan speed and, once fibre is in their street, it’ll be run down to the house and commissioned.
Far from being a two to three month process, we understand it might take as little as two to four weeks, and cost next to nothing (apart from higher plan fees, of course).
This would be a much more preferable approach – after all, NBN Technology Choice processes are far, far from cheap – but it also means waiting a few years until the process is widely available. For now, it’s pay for Technology Choice and get an upgrade within a couple of months, or wait a year or more to see if you’re eligible for a free technology uplift, and then you might get a free fibre upgrade.
Have you paid for NBN Co’s Technology Choice program to get full-speed fibre? How’d you find the process?