You've probably heard about the federal government's National Broadband Network (NBN to those in-the-know) initiative. It's set to change the way Australians access the Internet with lightning-fast fibre optic technology.
There are plans to connect more than 90 per cent of Australian homes to the NBN fibre over the next few years, giving them access to download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second - around 4 times quicker than the fastest ADSL2+ broadband currently available.
By running fibre-optic cable right up to your house (us geeky-types call it fibre-to-the home or FTTH), a much larger amount of information can flow over your Internet connection than with traditional copper cabling.
NBN Co is the organisation created a by the Federal Government in 2009 to build the NBN.
Their job is to roll out Australia's first national wholesale-only broadband network to all Australians, no matter where they live. Set to be completed by 2020, NBN Co will connect 93 per cent of homes, schools and businesses with optical fibre and the remaining seven per cent with wireless and satellite services.
As a customer, you won't access your Internet services through NBN Co, you need to choose a Retail Service Provider, like us, to get you connected.
In the same way you choose an Internet Service Provider (ISP) at the moment, when the NBN rolls around you'll need to choose a Retail Service Provider to provide you with ongoing services (including internet and phone), products and support.
iiNet is one of the RSPs offering services. As a wholesale provider, NBN Co can't offer you products directly - they do so through providers like us.
When it's your suburb's turn to have the NBN connected, NBN contractors will work their magic installing fibre cables down each street. The cables will then be extended to each residence – including yours, if you opt to have the services connected.
Currently, NBN services are available (in select sites) on an 'opt in' basis, meaning the owner has to provide written permission to be connected. This may change to an 'opt out' system where every residence will be connected unless the owner specifically chooses not to be.
Your home will be fitted with a Network Termination Device, or NBN Box. This little doovalacky has six ports – four for Internet and other data services and two for phone services.
A second box, which provides the power supply and a back-up battery, will be installed within ten metres of the NBN box.
The experts at NBN Co will liaise with property owners to decide where the boxes will be installed. And best of all, the installation is currently free of charge.
As a property owner, you will need to make the decision to have your premises connected to the NBN as its initially rolled out or later on down the track.
There are plenty of reasons to get hooked up during the initial roll-out in your area – and we're not just talking about accessing superfast broadband and bigger download quotas!
You won't pay a thing – currently NBN installation is free during the initial roll out. It's not yet known if you'll have to pay for connection at later date, but avoid the uncertainty and get it done early on.
The copper-wire network that's in use now won't be around forever. When it's removed, having a fibre-optic cable connected will allow you to continue using Internet and phone services without any interruptions.
Our NBN plans are designed to offer customers flexibility and value for money. Best of all, all your local and national calls are included and you can easily ramp up your internet speed by adding on a 'Turbo' pack.
You can access all the details on the NBN plan page on our website.
Our NBN plans will be available from 1 October, 2011 for those living in NBN areas. To see if your suburb is a first release site – click here.
We've already starting making plans to ensure there will be enough bandwidth to support our NBN customers. We've already formed a key partnership with International Network Suppliers which will give us access to more international bandwidth.