5 Things to Know Before You Get the NBN

NBN Questions

Below, I’m listing 5 important things to look out for in regards to the NBN. We hope you find this useful and if you know others you think may get value from it, feel free to pass it on. But please do me a favour, make sure you let them know that it came from Geeks to the Rescue which is a small, family-owned and operated Perth business.

Love it or hate it

The NBN is scheduled to be completed in 2020, so we’ve been solving related issues for clients ever more frequently as it steadily rolls out across Perth.

Some people love the NBN; others just love to hate it. No matter your feelings about it, if you haven’t yet switched over but you do use a phone line for the internet (ADSL) or a land line phone, the NBN will eventually affect you because you must switch over to it within 18 months of it coming to your street.

When is the NBN available in your street?

Usually a plethora of junk mail from internet providers will suddenly start turning up in your letterbox when the NBN is switched on in your street. But that’s not going to work for everyone, so to get a better idea of its arrival date, open your web browser and go to www.nbnco.com.au, type in your address and click on the “Check home” or “Check business” button.

What is the NBN?

Until the NBN arrived, phones and internet were mostly connected via the copper phone system. The copper network is very old technology and was only designed for phones, so it has become very congested due to the growth in popularity and necessity of the internet. One purpose of switching from the copper network to the NBN is the same as widening a narrow road that was always jammed with traffic due to unforeseen population growth.

Telstra, originally a government organisation, were the maintainers and controllers of our copper network from way back when it was just a simple phone system. With the advent of the internet, and Telstra’s privatisation, all of a sudden they had an uncompetitive advantage as a communication provider by also being the gatekeeper to the physical infrastructure. So, the other purpose of the NBN is to put everyone on a level playing field, and accordingly, Telstra are now just another provider with no control of the physical infrastructure.

NBN Co Ltd is the government owned company that controls and maintains the physical NBN infrastructure. So, when it comes to the NBN, you can just forget that Telstra ever had any overarching authority over Australia’s communication network.

What can Geeks to the Rescue do for you?

Switching to the NBN involves installing a new modem supplied by the internet provider. Some people find this quite difficult to set up. Sometimes they can set up the NBN modem, but they then discover that their printer now says that it is offline all the time or their smart TV no longer connects to the internet.

We’ve lost count of how many new NBN networks we’ve set up for clients, so feel free to call us to rescue you by setting up the new modem and connecting your printers, computers, TV, phones, etc. for you.  And once we’ve completed the set up, we can also test your new internet speed to make sure you’re getting what you’ve paid for.

What can you do for yourself?

Despite what you see in the media from disgruntled customers, there really are very few technical problems with the NBN. Don’t get us wrong, they do exist, but they also exist with ADSL and existed before that, when we had dial-up internet.

Still, we do hear plenty of complaints from clients about the NBN.  These are nearly always after they’ve switched to the NBN but they’re not actually technical problems. Most of them could have been completely avoided if NBN Co had done a better job of educating the public about what to expect when switching over to the NBN.

But don’t worry, we’ll do their job for them: we’re going to rescue you from these issues by helping you avoid them. Here’s what you need to know:

#1 What happened to my phone?!

First off, mobile phones aren’t affected by the NBN so don’t even bother worrying about them.

But if you use and, more importantly, want to keep using a land line phone and keep the same phone number, you need to switch that across to the NBN at the same time as you switch your internet across. If you don’t, you’ll end up with an internet connection but no phone service.

You can still add a phone service at a later date, but you will lose your existing phone number if you don’t switch both at the same time.

#2 No more splitting the bill

With the NBN, land line phones effectively run via the internet. Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense, just keep in mind that whoever is providing your internet will also be providing your phone service.
Do you already have your internet and phone with the same provider? You’re fine then – just make sure when you call them to make the switch over, you explicitly say that you want to move both your phone and internet to the NBN. If you don’t, they’ll usually only move the one you mention and you’ll lose the other – they’re clever like that.

Or, do you have your phone with one provider and your internet with another? Well, now you have a choice to make – which of them do you like the best? If you’ve been happy with both of them, just call each to find out what the total cost of providing both services will be and go with the cheaper one. Make sure once you’ve decided which to go with, though, that you tell them you want them to take over both your phone and internet, otherwise, again, they’ll usually only move the one you mention and you’ll lose the other.

PLEASE NOTE: if you are switching to a new internet provider, you will lose the email address that your original internet provider supplied to you. If you don’t use that email address, that won’t matter but if you do, that may be a good enough reason for you to have your NBN services with your original internet provider.

#3 Do I need new phones?

You don’t need to have a phone service to be able to get the NBN, so lots of people take this opportunity to retire their land line phone. But, if you still want a land line phone with NBN, it will be working via the internet so it will have to be plugged into your modem.

For homes, that means your kitchen phone probably isn’t going to work anymore because you probably aren’t keeping your modem in the kitchen. If you currently use a set of cordless phones with one central base-station, you’ll need to plug the base-station into the modem. If you still have one of the older style, non-cordless phones (which just has one cable and it plugs into the phone socket), it will still work if you plug it into the modem, but that will be the only phone you can use.
If the thought of plugging in phones and modems leaves you cold, book us to come and rescue you.

If you are a business with multiple numbers, you’ll have to talk to your provider and find out what solution they can offer. Unfortunately, sometimes this can be complex!

#4 My computer isn’t faster!

The NBN will not make your computer start up faster or applications open quicker. The only thing it does is gives your computer the ability to access web services faster.

For most people on ADSL their speed is between 5 and 10 Mbps (the official minimum is 1.5).

For NBN, the speeds start at 12 Mbps but you also have the choice of 25, 50 and 100 if you are willing to pay more. If you only have basic internet requirements, 12 will be perfectly fine. If you do a lot of video streaming with Netflix or Youtube, you could benefit from the 25 Mbps speed as this will give you better picture quality.
50 or 100 Mbps will be useful for businesses with a lot of devices accessing the internet at the same time.

My recommendation is to start at a low speed and if you feel it isn’t fast enough for you, just give your internet provider a call and ask for the next highest speed. They only have to flick a switch at their end and the change will usually happen within an hour.

Keep in mind that increasing the speed won’t help if you’re expecting a particular website to respond faster but it turns out that it is simply a slow website. If it was a fast website that was being held back by your slow ADSL connection, you usually would have noticed an immediate improvement once you switched to the NBN.

#5 Be prepared! Certain devices are likely to stop working

Monitored security, medical alarms and health or EFTPOS terminals probably won’t work once you’ve switched to the NBN. You’ll need to call the companies that provide those services to you before you switch to NBN so you can find out what they need to do. In the case of monitored security, a mobile phone device is usually wired directly to the alarm by the alarm company – for a cost, of course.

Faxes usually still work, but only if they can be connected to the phone that is plugged directly into the modem – few people use faxes these days, so it’s not usually a big issue.

Help is but a phone call away

Remember, if things just aren’t working like they did before you switched to the NBN, give us a call and we’ll come out and rescue you. NBN issues usually only take around an hour to resolve.

Or, if you’re about to switch to the NBN and the thought of setting it up is giving you nightmares, book us in to come sort it for you when you’re internet provider has said you’re ready to go. We usually only need 24 hours’ notice.

Call us on 9313 1844 or 0416 092 000 and book us to come out and sort out any computer-related issues you have!


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