The third installment of our guide to the NBN and it’s impact on the Sutherland Shire and greater Sydney.

Moving to the NBN - How to choose the right provider for your home
You’ve read the first two parts of our guide and now have a solid understanding of the NBN.

Now you’ve been sent a letter from your service provider advising that the NBN is available and you need to choose a new plan.

Read on to find out how to manage your move to the NBN.

How much time will I have to move to the NBN?

You will generally have 18 months to move once you have received notification from NBNtm that NBN services are available in your neighbourhood. Some service providers (particularly Optus) have sought to dramatically reduce this time period to fewer than three months.

Should I move to the NBN immediately?

You should consider moving immediately to the NBN IF your existing internet connection is unbearably slow.
Otherwise, we recommend waiting until approximately 6 months before your deadline. This should allow plenty of time for any teething issues to be sorted out.

Will I be charged for moving to the NBN?

Newly built premises will be charged $300 for a first time connection to the NBN. Typically, Nbn™ will charge the service provider who passes the cost onto the homeowner.

You should not expect any charges from Nbn™ if your premises is not a new development.

Your service provider might charge you plan connection fees depending on the NBN plan you choose. This is common with “No contract” plans, usually because the service provider needs to cover the cost of providing a modem/router.

Do I need to book and pay for the person who installs the NBN equipment?

NBN NTD Installation
Nbn™ is responsible for coordinating the installation of equipment that connects you to the NBN. You should receive a letter from Nbn™ advising you when an installer will visit your premises to perform this work.

Installation of the NBN equipment is currently free however a $300 charge may apply for new builds (see above).

Your service provider might bill you for installation of a modem/router (see below).

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Do I need a professional installation from my service provider?

Each home has its own requirements but generally speaking, the majority of modem/router installations do not require a professional technician.

You may require a professional installation service if your home has many telephone points (with or without phones plugged in). This is especially true in older homes where the wiring is decades old.

Our advice is to use a local ACMA accredited cabler if you want to keep your telephone points. This will likely be cheaper than using your service providers professional installation service. You will also have more flexibility about what you would like done.

As an example, you can ask a cabler to:

  • install new internet access points throughout your home,
  • move your NBN device to a new location,
  • optimize your wiring for internet speeds,
  • close off unneeded telephone points

You should consider purchasing a multi handset wireless telephone system if you don’t already have one. These will allow homes who use landlines to have numerous handsets throughout the house without having to install telephone access points.

Which service providers can offer NBN plans at my address?

The major telcos offer plans right across the Sutherland Shire. You will need to check whether any smaller service providers are available for your property because not all service providers have a presence at the Points of Interchange that service the Sutherland Shire.

You can use Whistleouts very handy plan page to see the service providers currently offering plans for your household.

We also recommend the Finder NBN tracker which lists service provider plans and extra information about your property (including your Point of Interchange and NBN technology type).

Which service provider is best for fast NBN speeds in the Sutherland Shire?

Aussie Broadband
Aussie Broadband get alot of accolades nationally because of their consistently fast NBN speeds. This homegrown service provider were originally on the Optus network however they ended that relationship in spectacular fashion when they publicly lambasted Optus’s poor infrastructure and it’s inability to deliver the quality their customers demanded. Aussie Broadband chose to build out their own network which means they have greater control over service quality (and it shows, particularly on the NBN100 tier).

Aussie Broadband don’t currently offer now offers an unlimited plan priced at $79 for 50/20 or $99 for 100/40. They should be your first consideration if service levels and NBN reliability is important to you and you’re happy to pay a bit extra for it.

Which service provider is best for unlimited plans in the Sutherland Shire?

For a great price with excellent speeds & unlimited data, we recommend TPG. We’ve seen consistently good speeds with many of our customers who are with TPG and they recently topped the ACCC new broadband monitoring report amongst the major telcos. TPGs unlimited 50Mbps plan costs $69.99 per month (a one time setup fee of $99.95 applies if you opt for no lock in contract) which is what many of us currently pay for our flailing ADSL connections. There’s no charge for changing plans either.

We also recommend Internode who recently advertised the highest yet seen average speeds on the 50Mbps tier (as well as second highest for the 100Mbps tier). Internodes unlimited 50Mbps plan currently costs $79.99 (a one time setup fee of $99 applies if you opt for a no lock in contract). There’s no charge for switching plans which is great for those who want flexibility. Note: Non FTTP homes may need to pay $199.00 for a new modem.

Alternatively, you might consider talking to your neighbours about their experiences with their service providers. If you like what your neighbour is saying, sign up with the same service provider and you should expect to receive a nearly identical service because you will be mostly using the same infrastructure.

Which speed tier is best for my home?

You will generally have four different speed tiers to choose from any single RSP:

NBN12 (12 Mbps / 1 Mbps)

This tier is suitable for light users. It’s perfect for those who only want to read emails and /or browse social media.
You’ll be able to stream HD video (ie Netflix, Stan) but there won’t be much bandwidth left for anything else.

NBN25 (25 Mbps / 10 Mbps)

We recommend the 25 Mbps tier for users who are happy with their existing ADSL2 connection.
It’s suitable for small households, moderate use, streaming Standard Definition video.

You may be able to stream 4K video (ie Netflix Ultra HD), however, there won’t be much bandwidth left for anything else. NBN guarantee up to 25Mbps and will investigate if you are unable to attain this as a minimum.

Some service providers have stopped supplying this plan so you may need to shop around if your preferred provider does not offer it.

NBN50 (50 Mbps / 20 Mbps)

We recommend this tier for users who are unhappy with their existing ADSL2 connection.
This plan is perfect for households who like to stream and download 4K video/games and/or upload moderate amounts of data.

NBN100 (100 Mbps / 40 Mbps)

We recommend the NBN100 tier for those who currently receive 100 Mbps by cable or those who require the fastest speeds possible.
You’ll want this tier if:

  • your home has numerous users streaming 4K video at the same time
  • you backup alot of data to an online service (Backblaze, Carbonite, SpiderOak etc), or,
  • you regularly work on very large files (>100MB) that are downloaded/uploaded to the internet.

Can I get faster than 100 Mbps?

Aussie Broadband currently offers 150 Mbps and 250 Mbps plans to FTTP connected homes however the Miranda Point Of Interconnect that services most of the homes in the Sutherland Shire is yet to be upgraded.

An alternative “solution” (if you get on well with your neighbour) is to use channel bonding using Speedify.

Make sure you re-assess your tier regularly

Irrespective of the tier you choose, make sure you re-evaluate your decision after a month. Some service providers allow you to change plans once per month but make sure you understand any costs or restrictions first.

Which data allowance should I sign up for?

As a general rule, you should consider an unlimited data plan if you download or stream TV shows, movies, games or large files regularly. Otherwise, start on a 500GB plan and reassess your usage after the first month.

You’ll need to have detailed statistics of your existing monthly data usage to determine the optimal data allowance for your needs. If you don’t have this information, assume the following:

  • A 50GB plan should be ok for light use covering email, social media and browsing the internet, however, we recommend a 100GB allowance plan just to play it safe. You can always downgrade later and most service providers allow plan changes free of charge.
  • A 500GB plan is suitable for moderate use including music streaming (Spotify), online gaming and YouTube.
  • An unlimited data allowance plan is ideal for heavy users who stream TV/Movies and/or download games

These recommendations are a guide only. You need to monitor your internet usage closely if you opt for anything other than an unlimited plan. Exceeding your allowance may result in charges so make sure you understand your plan fully.

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Should I get a no contract plan or a 2 year plan?

No contract plans appeal to many users because it allows them to move service provider at any time. This is important because your NBN experience can vary significantly depending on the service provider you choose.

No Contract plans vary from one service provider to the next. Generally, you’ll need to pay for a modem and a connection fee. A disconnection fee may also be required.

Two year plans tend to come with a free modem / router and no connection fee. You’ll be expected to honour the full term of a two-year contract which might be a problem if your service provider cannot provide a reasonably good internet connection. You can dispute honouring the full term and raise the case with the TIO if your service provider has failed to deliver the speeds promised by their plan. Some of our customers have had success with this however it’s not without stress and can take months to resolve.

Why does NBN performance vary from one service provider to the next?

The most common issue seen is with service providers taking onboard too many subscribers and not purchasing enough bandwidth (CVC) from Nbn™ to satisfy them. This results in erratic internet speeds, especially in the evenings when internet use is at its highest.

Will my old modem work with NBN? If not, what kind of modem will I need?

You might be able to use your existing modem if it is compatible with the NBN. We recommend checking with your service providers because some providers do not support third party modems. Some service providers may restrict services on non-service-provider equipment.

You can consider using the “WiFi” functionality of your existing modem / wifi router which typically results in better performance. This can be as simple as connecting your existing device via ethernet to your service provider modem/router and make sure to disable WiFi on your service provider device.

Can I rely on the ACCC speed report to help me identify a service provider with fast speeds?

It’s useful but shouldn’t be solely relied upon.
The ACCC has started publishing a new speed report based on the broadband speed monitoring program announced last year.

The report shows iiNet, Telstra and TPG download speeds outperforming Optus at peak hours. This is very much in line with our observations in the field. That being said, we’re reluctant to draw too much from this report (for now) because the sample size of 400 seems too small. For this reason, we’ve asked the ACCC to provide population size, confidence and margin of error levels.

We have also asked the ACCC to provide data across all service providers and not just the major telcos.

I have more questions. Who can help me?

The next part of our NBN Guide is “Managing problems with your NBN connection“.

Make sure you also head over to our Sutherland Shire NBN Guide page which has an index of all Sutherland Shire NBN questions answered on our site.

You can also call our office on 02-8502-8954 7 days a week 8am to 6pm or raise a question using our contact form. We’re always happy to take calls and answer your questions, free of charge.

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