The NBN is rolling out in Wodonga

That gorgeous green cable

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The NBN is being rolled out in the major regional city of Wodonga. Personally relevant as Wodonga is the HQ of techAU, but also significant to show the current status of the overall NBN project.

Residents will see NBN contractors rolling kilometers of the large green cable off the trucks, that contains that ultra-fast fibre-optic cable, unfortunately its connecting nodes to each other, not individual houses. The NBN then leverages the existing copper to your home which avoids digging up your front yard. In the outskirts, the Government’s multi-technology mix will see households receive the slower fixed wireless and even further out, will connect by satellite.

Only greenfield estates like Whitebox Rise, Riverside, Huon park and Daintree will get the FTTP network that we were originally promised. Only with fibre-to-the-premesis, could we finally be freed from line rental and avoid having the internet connection be limited by the hardware and instead, only be limited by the amount you want to pay.

Yesterday construction crews were working feeding cables into pits in key locations on Melrose Drive and Melbourne Road, while today construction work continued along Lawrence Street. By connecting Wodonga, the project will pass another 40,000 residents and thousands of businesses.

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The need for faster internet has never been greater with internet speeds being dramatically impacted by congestion at peak times. At times, we’ll get 16-17Mbps down, but during peak times, like the weekend, that can drop by as much as half. While any speed increase afforded by the NBN is certainly welcomed, the roll out is a long way short of delivering the original plan from the Government, a minimum of 25Mbps to all of Australia by the end of 2016.

Nationally the uptake has been poor for the NBN, as of June 23rd, 2,715,721 premises were ready for service, yet only 1,081,114 actually have connected to the NBN. As a nation, we need to do better at discussing and promoting the benefits of faster internet to make an impact on adoption rates.

That leads into the connection experience. This afternoon I arrived home to a letter from iiNet which explained the NBN rollout is happening in the area. When I check my address on the NBN Co website, it lists ‘Construction of the nbn network has started in your area’, but then caveats that with ‘Construction takes approximately 12 months, on average, to complete.’ At this point, I’m really signing up for alerts, or a marketing list, rather getting a service.

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When it comes to changing from ADSL2 to the NBN, whatever NBN technology is available at your location, the decision isn’t always easy. If you’re in a contract with an existing ISP, you can usually upgrade to the NBN for free. That sounds great, but that new plan is likely to attract a new 12-24 month contract. If you’re like me and are in the process of building a new house in FTTP estate, things get complex and potentially more expensive.

If the NBN guys knock your door and offer to connect you the answer should almost always be yes, as you’ll be connected for free, but should you decide to connect later, you’ll pay a connection fee. Also there’s the issue of owners versus renters. If you’re a landlord, don’t just say no to a connection because things are new a different, in fact, if you’re paying attention, an NBN-connected property will be worth more. In encourage you, say yes to an NBN connection.

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Thanks to James Boagg for the tip.

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