If you move into a recently constructed high rise apartment or unit block you might find that the NBN is not available and you’re given a brochure for fibre to the home internet access via LBNCo, Opticomm or OPENetworks instead.

All three of these companies are part of Uniti, the owner of Australia’s largest private fibre to the home network. Uniti also own Harbour ISP, Fuzenet ISP, the Velocity fibre networks formerly owned by Telstra, Pivit, ClubLinks and Capital Fibre Networks.

What’s happened is that a new apartment/unit complex property developer eg: Meriton gets to choose which wholesale internet provider it’s new buildings get connected to.

Why would they choose any other option besides NBN? Well we obviously don’t have any access to their contracts but at a guess Meriton is probably given a financial or other incentive to choose LBNCo, Opticomm or OPENetworks instead.

If you’ve bought a unit in one of these buildings or just started renting in one and want access to the Internet via NBN, unfortunately you can’t.

It doesn’t matter if you complain to the ACCC or anyone else. LBNCo / Opticomm / OPENetworks have a monopoly to provide internet to your building.

All else being equal most people would rather buy or rent an apartment or unit connected to the NBN.

If you’re thinking of buying or renting an apartment yourself don’t rely on the agent saying it’s connected to the NBN. Ask for documents that show proof and use the www.nbnco.com.au address checker.

If you’re stuck in a LBNCo / Opticomm / OPENetworks building already what you do have the option to choose is which Internet Service Provider (ISP) you pay for access to the Internet.

Unfortunately you’re not going to have as many ISP options as someone whose apartment building is connected via the NBN.

However your choices are much better then they were two to three years ago because a lot more ISP’s have decided to sell to customers who are on the wholesale LBNCo / Opticomm / OPENetworks networks.

Your building manager is likely to tell you that your only ISP option is Fuzenet. This is not true. Also Fuzenet has a really bad reputation as an ISP, check out their reviews online, many of their customers dislike them even more than they hate the big telcos.

At time of writing Uniti is “retiring” several of it’s sub brands and consolidating Opticomm as the name of it’s wholesale fibre to the home network, so customers on LBNCo and OPENetworks might end up with more ISP options soon.

In the meanwhile of the current options our shortlist which we recommend you choose from would be: Launtel, Internode, iinet, Exetel, Superloop and Aussie Broadband.

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Fred Smith

Neerav, thank you for your insight. Your opinion is of course worthwhile and you are entitled to it. However, I must note that it appears you are very strong in your negativity against other retailers than NBN, though there is not too much evidence why (other than speculation of a financial incentive to the developer other than basic contract price). I have had the opportunity to be involved with new developments following completion that have housed either NBN or other providers, and would like to offer some more insight that owners and residents may not be aware of. Please note… Read more »