What New Home Owners Should Know About the NBN

Guest post by Reyhan Yesilnacar

Buying your first house can be a pretty daunting step in life, no matter who you are or where you come from.

Besides the task of getting the money together to pay for it, you also want your first house to be as livable as it is lovable.

Is it close enough to the things you need to do in your day to day life?

Does everything within the housework the way it should? and what sort of NBN has been designated to the neighbourhood?

Indeed, while there are dozens of generations of Australian homeowners before us who have known to double-check the functionality of utilities such as plumbing and power, the modern Aussie house-hunter also has to keep in mind that the location of a home may actually affect the quality of the NBN.

Not everyone is across this; indeed, not everyone’s fully aware that there are different versions of the NBN, and that’s perfectly all right given the networks cumbersome and complicated rollout history.

So if you’re looking to be a new homeowner, read on to learn how the NBN might affect your new home broadband.

THE DIFFERENT CONNECTIONS

Whether you’re buying or renting, it’s worth doing a little bit of homework so you know exactly what sort of NBN connection you’re getting yourself into.

First of all,  contrary to the common misconception, the NBN (National Broadband Network) doesn’t consist of the one speed.

There are four different speed tiers on the NBN network.

While some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will offer all four in their choice of plans, others will only offer a select two or three.

Ranging from lowest to highest speeds, the four-speed tiers are commonly categorised as:

  • Basic Evening Speed (no minimum)
  • Standard Evening Speed (15 minimum Mbps)
  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (minimum 30 Mbps)
  • Premium Evening Speed (minimum 60 Mbps)

So if you want reliable home NBN, you can just fork out for one of the better speeds, right?

Well, yes, in theory, but the quality of your home NBN is also going to depend on where your house is located.

You see, just to make things complicated, besides the different speeds, there are also different NBN connections, predominantly…Fibre to the Curb, or FTTC, is so named because it is connected to a DPU (Distribution Point Unit) that is situated within a street curb, or sometimes a pit, close to your property.

It is typically seen as the second-best option; while the data only has a short distance to travel from the curb to your home, it is obviously not as quick as a connection that’s installed directly into your home.

Additionally, FTTC relies on old copper lines that are now seen as inferior.

Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial Cable (shortened to HFC) is a hybrid NBN connection that amalgamates coaxial cable with optical fibre.

It’s effectively a new technology slapped on top of the old Aussie Pay TV infrastructure, and it’s the ancientness of the latter that makes HFC a less than ideal version of the NBN.

Fibre to the Node, or FTTN, is the type of connection that runs from an old telephone exchange, through a fibre optic cable into a local node that’s located in close proximity to your property, which then connects to your residence via old copper wires.

Fibre to the Node is also generally reviewed as being as a lesser connection (some even claim it’s the worst of the lot).

Fibre to the Premises, often shortened to FTTP, is the NBN connection that’s connected all the way to your home or office.

It is also sometimes referred to as Fibre to the Home (in which case it is shortened to FTTH).

As the connection goes directly into your premises, it typically delivers optimal NBN speeds and is therefore considered by analysts to be the more advanced and efficient NBN infrastructure.

Ideally, FTTP is the version you want.

But unfortunately, homeowners can’t pick and choose which NBN connection they want; they get what they are handed. So it’s total luck of the draw.

This has been what’s referred to as the NBN Lottery

There’s currently nothing you can do about it unless you do some NBN research before you invest in a property.

The geographical difference between a property with good NBN and one without it can be as slight as one street.

You can find out what version of the NBN your residence has (or is soon going to have) by putting your address into the map here.

THE NBN CAN ACTUALLY IMPACT UPON PROPERTY PRICES

Will a high demand for better home broadband cause property prices to increase with the NBN?

It appears that might soon be the case, at the very least in more rural regions, where internet-savvy folk are preferencing FTTP areas to settle into.

In fact, up to 80 per cent of homebuyers have stated that a reliable home broadband connection was a primary factor when purchasing their property.

This philosophy not only applies to homebuyers, but also to those who are still renting.

Obviously, these consumer choices are bound to have an impact on the property market – in 2019, your postcode can not only affect your internet speed, but also your property value!

This may seem ridiculous to casual internet users, and though there are many who’d consider optimal home broadband an optional luxury, there are many more consider it an absolute necessity.

Especially as…

MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE WORKING FROM HOME

Of recent times, there was a noted spike in residents of outer city fringe areas working from home, and it appears the trend has caught on elsewhere.

The ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) reported that the number of people working from home significantly rose from 20 per cent of the entire labour force to a staggering 30 per cent in a mere 15 years.

This should come as little surprise, given all the perks the work-from-home lifestyle offers. For small business owners, it eliminates the cost of renting an office space.

For working parents, it provides a better opportunity to be around their loved ones. And most obviously, for everyone, it allows flexible hours and cuts out both the stress and the cost of commuting to work.

This is certainly a boon to those who live in remote regions, but a coveted luxury to most regardless of where they may hang their respective hats.

As such, around 1.3 million Australians are opting for the work from home lifestyle, which means there’s an even greater demand for fast and reliable home broadband.

SO WHAT ELSE CAN BE DONE?

Obviously, not everyone is in a position where they can choose a house that just happens to fall within an optimal NBN zone.

Fortunately, there are still ways to find a good service as well as curb those additional costs.

It’s advised that you narrow down which ISP and plan best suits your location, but also which best suits your budget and average data usage.

Keep in mind, we may only be a year or two away from a 5G revolution that may drastically change the ubiquity of the NBN.

Time will tell. . . Until then, happy home hunting!

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