The Jamesons quick guide to the NBN & Pipe Networks

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What is this NBN thing all about, and is it worth worrying about?

Here are some quick facts for you to be aware of if your building has been approached by an internet supplier.

What is the NBN?

  • The NBN essentially is fast internet connectivity.
  • It is connected via a means called (FTTP) or fibre to the premises OR FTTB (Fibre to the building) OR through the MDF in the building.
  • It is owned by the Government who are in the process of rolling it out across the country.
  • Once installed in the building, lot owners have to engage an internet provider at their own cost to access the service (the same way they currently do).

What is Pipe Networks (or TPG, Tesltra etc)?

  • Pipe networks is one of a number of suppliers offering Fibre Optic installation to sites across Australia.
  • They are in competition with the NBN.
  • It is also fast internet for your lot.
  • In most cases their product is linked to the building using FTTB or (Fibre to the Basement) meaning that there is cabling run into a small box installed usually in the basement of the building that your unit can connect to, to access the internet using the existing copper wiring in the building.
  • There are new suppliers entering the market all the time including Telstra who have a new offering available.
  • Once installed in the building the resident/lot owner will have to engage an internet provider at their own cost to access the service (the same way they currently do for their internet now).

What is Fibre Optic Cabling, and is it any good?

Fibre-optic setups enable higher speeds of delivery and greater bandwidth than some other kinds of infrastructure. This essentially means that you can use the internet and download things much faster than you could before. So, yes, we think it’s a good thing.

Here are some facts.

While this landscape is changing regularly, as we understand at the moment here is how it all works:

  • Both products (NBN & Pipe Networks) are maintained by the respective suppliers so there are no costs for your building if they install any equipment. (you should confirm this with them)
  • TPG/Pipe Networks have advised that, at this time, you are unable connect to any internet retailer you want to access their internet connection, ie. you have to use the services of TPG (you should confirm this with them in the event that it has changed)
  • Some of the suppliers will state that they can access your property to carry out an inspection to see if your site is suitable for the product under the Telecommunications Act. We have been advised this is correct. You should ensure that a member of the Executive Committee is on site at the time of the inspection to understand what they are intending to do.
  • Most of the suppliers are offering deals for lot owners including contracts for internet and phone line usage. These contracts are entered into privately by individual lot owners and paid for by them if they decide to connect to the services.
  • If Pipe Networks/TPG install FTTB into the property it can have a negative effect on another supplier who wants to do the same thing. Ie. If there is more than one device installed in the building it can cause interference/technical issues with the quality of your internet connection.
  • Residents/owners do NOT have to use the service once it is installed in their building if they don’t want.

So, what should we do?

We are of the view that having faster internet at your property at no extra cost is a good thing, but would encourage any Owners Corporation who are considering the new technology to meet with the suppliers on site to understand exactly what their proposal is for your building as the packages can differ from site to site.

Here are a list of questions you should also ask to help you understand what you are in for:

  1. Can you confirm that if you install any equipment into the building or (FTTB) that it would not preclude any other supplier from doing the same?
  1. Can you confirm that if there is more than one supplier using FTTB that there would not be any technical issues/interference with the internet connection supplied by you or the other supplier?
  1. Can we use any retailer for our internet connection we want or do we have to use TPG?
  1. Can the residents commence using your connection with their existing supplier or would they remain on their old and presumably slower connection with their existing supplier?
  1. Can you confirm that you will meet all of the costs of the installation, including any damage you may incur to the common property during the installation process, as well as the ongoing maintenance and repairs?
  1. Will the installation of Pipe Networks technology prohibit the NBN from installing their product in the building?

We hope this helps you navigate this complex and evolving issue – we will be continuing to publish more information on it as it becomes available.

These are general comments only. To obtain further information you should consult a telecommunications expert.

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