The Ordering Process
When you are ready to start ordering the NBN you will need to go through a few steps to check your eligibility, making sure your street is hooked up to a node and setting the speeds you want to get.
Step 1: Check that you can get NBN
The first thing we recommend, before even choosing a provider is to check on the NBNco Website that your house is ready to be hooked up.
Simply enter your address, and if the site says you're ready to be connected, you can keep on with the ordering process!
Step 2: Choose a Provider
This is important, but not as important as it used to be, as long as you're not in a contract, switching providers once connected is a painless task. Still however you should be aware of different providers and tactics used.
Below we will provide a comprehensive list of good and bad providers, and outline why we think you should or shouldn't use them.
When searching for a good provider however, remember that they will use sales tactics on you to try and sell their product. Unfortunately, a lot of providers out there have been caught making false claims, selling low end plans at high prices and using other dodgy tactics.
Lies, Deception and Guilt: Things to beware of when choosing a provider!
You were in a contract with us: so you need to stay with us now
This is the most common tactic I see used, Telstra doesn't even try to sell you on choosing them, they send a modem out to you and just expect you to go on as normal with a new plan they preselected for you without your input.
You DO NOT have to stay with your previous provider, you can move to any provider without penalty, and the service will be as good, if not better than before.
If your provider just sends a modem and expects you to change over, question them, check the speed they chose for you (if you choose to stay) and make sure that you're not being forced into a contract you didn't want.
We own the lines, we run the network
Another Telstra Tactic; Telstra does not own any part of the NBN. They sold their stake in phone lines to NBNco when the NBN was being set up. Once you transition to the NBN, you no longer have any obligation to Telstra, and pay no fees.
This does get confused as NBNco often will Subcontract work to Telstra Technicians, but they own no part of the network, and being with one provider over another will not result in better service because of the lines. (CVC does impact but I'll explain that further down)
We'll give you a **Free Modem**
One of the most frustrating tactics, and widely employed by every Internet Provider.
However, there is a catch to these free modems: ISPs will often use them to spy on what you're doing.
This is a big problem with some companies, which employ a tactic that lets them sign you to a contract, then terminate it if they think you're using your internet for business purposes. We know of several and will flag them in our provider choice section.
These modems are also junk, they often are made from cheap parts, are not fit for purpose and will slow your network down, they are crippled in their software so that you can't change settings and they are usually either self-branded or branded with a cheap third party brand such as Technicolor, Netcomm, FritzBox and ZTE.
Providers sometimes will 'rent' you the modem for $0 and then expect it back when you move service or change modems, charging you a $200 fee if you don't return it! They often won't tell you that they're doing this, and will stick it on your last bill.
I recommend in almost all cases to NOT take the providers modem, and to purchase one yourself. (we'll discuss this later too)
There is one exception to this: Telstra Customers who take a Telstra phone line will often be forced to use a Telstra Modem, as they don't give out configuration details for your phone numbers to use them on other modems or devices.
This isn't always a bad thing, but you need to be VERY VERY CAREFUL.
A lot of providers who provide unlimited plans cut costs somewhere in the service. Some of the more common tactics I've seen are CVC Stuffing (where they put more people on a service connection than the connection can provide speed to) and Speed Throttling (where they sell you a plan at 12Mbps, but don't advertise it, or offer an 'upgraded speed' for a period of time that drops to 12 afterwards) both of these tactics are red flags for a provider and not always obvious at first. Read your contract carefully, and do research on who else has the provider locally.
Many Providers will charge you a fee to change to a different plan.
Very dodgy providers will only charge you this fee to move to a lower plan.
Often this is alongside a contract but can also happen to uncontracted customers.
Usually the provider is not charge a fee to change their customers plan, and this is purely profiteering.
We'll Bundle in X (and/or you get free EMAIL)
Bundling is an absolute pain, providers will usually sell you two services at once, (netting the sales person a tidy commission) and claim you are saving money. Often you'll find that you're actually paying more, as the services are sub-par or have had their price inflated, and you'd be no better off without the bundle.
The only time we recommend Bundling is with mobile only services, when a Data Pool is available, as it allows the devices all to share a large amount of mobile data. Never bundle your home internet into a service.
Also providers will offer you an email address; DO NOT TAKE IT! this is a tactic to force you to stay with them. If or when you leave the provider, you won't be able to take the email with you. You should always use a free provider like Gmail or Yahoo, or self host your emails with your website (if you own one)
This is the simple part, taking in what is written about providers in Step 2, look at what your chosen provider has offered. Look at our speed recommendations, and pick a speed that suits you; Never pick a plan without knowing its speed!
Check the contract and the Acceptable Use Policy of your provider, and place your order.
Step 4: Wait for installation, buy your modem
You'll now need to wait for an NBN technician to attend your home. You'll be a a given a 'window' of several hours on the day of your installation where you will need to be present in your home, so the technician can check your line.
Prior to this occurring you should go out and purchase a modem/router (if you didn't order one) we will discuss later down below good models to purchase and what might fit your needs.
If you are on FTTC you'll also be sent a NTD or Network Termination Device. This will allow your node in the pit outside your home to connect to the internet. Do not connect this until your Internet provider instructs you to do so.
Step 5: Technician Attends, Internet Installed!
During the window that you were provided by NBN, a technician will attend and install your NBN. They will usually install a plug on your phone line, and head to the local node to find your line and connect it up to a service. They will then return and ensure the service is connected, and at this step; they are meant to be able to tell if your line is capable of the speeds that you have ordered.
FTTC customers may not have a technician attend as the work may have already been done ahead of time when the pits were upgraded for FTTC, your provider will instruct you to connect to your NTD box, and the box will automate the change over of your line.
From here your Internet is up and running.
(Optional) Step 6: Speed Tests
Once your Internet is installed, you should run a speed test before connecting any other devices. Many providers will provide an in-house speed test and often those results are kept by their in-house technician teams to use for troubleshooting if something is not right. (Aussie Broadband has this at https://speed.aussiebroadband.com.au )
You should also check your modem and what speeds it is achieving via its web configuration page (see it's manual) this is usually listed on an advanced status page under the heading DSL connection.
Your provider is obligated to ensure the speed it is advertising is actually met by your home. If you're paying for a 50Mbps service and only receiving a speed under 25Mbps, they are required to assist you to downgrade your plan free of charge or repair your service.
Choosing a provider
One of the hardest decisions you make during the NBN changeover process is picking a provider.
Many providers set out to deliberately deceive you, and many others are just simply incompetent and do not provide an adequate service. This is further complicated by people who actively try to pass on word-of-mouth recommendations for these services, without any knowledge of the background of the provider or their own contracts.
This is unusually prevalent for customers of a company called Belong, wholly owned by Telstra. The contract is very restrictive, their service is poor, and they actively monitor their users. I actually suspect that Belong may have an incentive program to encourage users to sign people up, which on its own is not a negative thing, but is very deceptive when they do not openly admit it.
When choosing a provider the things you should be considering are what their CVC distribution looks like, how good their technical support is, the tools they provide their customers, and how honest they are. Things like speed and plans should be second considerations when it comes to choosing an NBN provider, as most of the services tend to have a level playing field outside of CVC.
CVC is a virtual measurement used by NBNco to determine how much Internet is available to customers.
Think of the CVC like a pipe, and Internet connectivity like water flowing through that pipe.
Customers are connected to the end of this pipe, and the more customers that get connected then the lower the amount of water is able to flow through at the right speed.
Each Internet provider is required to purchase its own CVC, some providers purchase very little and share it out among its users, never increasing it despite more people being added, and this is where Internet slowdowns will usually occur. There are 121 points in the country where this CVC is distributed and a 'pipe' has to be purchased at each one, which complicates things further as this increases the cost to a provider to service all areas.