NBN HFC rollout is put on hold

NBN CEO, Bill Morrow, recently announced that it was putting the rollout of its Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) connections on hold while it reviews and fixes issues around the per performance experienced by end users.
This move has come about after NBN’s admitted to making a mistake with the HFC mistake rollout; prioritising activations/connections over ensuring the network was up to the task.

Issues related to speeds, dropouts and migrating customers to the HFC network have been noted as the specific issues to fix.

NBN warned that there could be a delay of up to 9 months while it reviews and remediates the network.
A spokesperson from NBN said, “In order to meet a higher level of service quality, NBN Co will be performing advanced network testing and remediation where needed, including connector replacements, signal amplification calibration, and lead-in work as required”.

This rollout largely impacts the inner city suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney but also affects many premises in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, including small businesses that are in the HFC footprint.

NBN noted that connection requests placed before the middle of December 2017 would progress as per usual, however, will not take new orders after this date until NBN is satisfied the issues are resolved. NBN also noted that an update could be expected around February 2018 and during the process, existing connections will be reviewed and fixed where required.

On a technical note, one of the issues NBN experienced was with the connectors (sometimes called joints or taps) often found located up on the utility poles, which connect customer premises to the network. A majority of the HFC networks in Australia were rolled out in the 90’s and early 2000’s, so some of these connectors could be over 20 years old.

Another issue was with the spectrum band NBN was using to deliver its super-fast broadband service. Some experts and critics suggest that the spectrum being used (15-40MHz) for the NBN network is not designed for super-fast broadband and is more prone to interference versus other spectrum ranges used on the cable network (Telstra Cable and Foxtel Pay TV).

Other technical issues cited were focused around those in the customer premise, particularly the wall plates, which can be moved about and loosened as people connect and disconnect cables a the wall plate, making them unstable.

While it’s frustrating our customers have to wait to be connected to the NBN, we would much rather the network be in tip-top condition and customers receive the service they’re promised, rather than a sub-par service.
We wait for further updates from NBN on the progress of this remediation effort.

Update (March 2018):
In March 2018 nbnCo released details on the resumption of HFC rollout. Several changes were made to timelines, however, some areas existing HFC equipment was deemed inappropriate for use and is now slated to receive Fibre-to-he-Curb (FTTC) technology.

Connecting to the NBN

The NBN installation Part 2: On installation day

Many of our customers ask us what they should expect with the nbntm installation process and while it differs for a lot of customers, we’ve come up with a series of posts to give you some insight on the process and what to expect. Check out part 1, or read on for part 2

In our previous post, The NBN installation Part 1: Prior to installation day, we gave you an overview of what will happen leading up to the day of installation. The installation day has arrived, and the following is what you can expect:

The technician will arrive during the timeframe you were provided after submitting your order. As we mentioned in part 1, technicians may not call prior to their arrival or to let you know roughly what time they’ll arrive so expect them to arrive within the time-frame window.


When the technician arrives

As with any contractor that arrives to perform work at your premise, you should request to see their identification. They should also walk you through what may be required for the installation.

At this point, you can discuss with the technician the preferred location of any equipment related to the nbntm installation. Keep in mind, if your chosen location results in what is called a ‘Complex Installation’, the technician will provide a quote to you for the additional costs incurred outside of a standard installation.


What will the technician will do on the day?

What the work the technician performs on the day depends on the technology type that nbntm have rolled out in your area and ‘Service Class’ of you premises (the current ‘nbntm’ status of your premises).

Depending on the ‘Service Class’ of your premises, they may;

  • install a ‘lead-in’ cable from the communications pit or utility pole outside your premise;
  • install a Fixed Wireless Antenna to the outside of your premise; or
  • install a Network Termination Unit (NTU) inside your premises.

During this process, the installer may need to make modifications to your premise, including fixing the required hardware to the interior and exterior.

Most nbntm technicians will install your modem/router for you; however some may leave this for you to do yourself. We provide instructions on how to install our modems with all nbntm technology types making it simple for you.

In addition, the technician should clean up after installation and they may show you the work that has been completed.


Can I specify the location of my NBN equipment?

When the nbntm technician arrives, you should discuss with them the most appropriate location for any nbntm equipment, which may include a Network Termination Unit (NTU), Wall Plate or both.


What happens if there is an issue on the day?

If the technician comes across an issue when attempting to connect the nbntm to your premise, they may need to request to reschedule a connection date & time. They won’t do this with you directly instead, they’ll notify nbncotm of the issue so they can reschedule with us. We will then communicate the new date and time to you.

Men pulling fibre through pits

The NBN installation Part 1: Prior to installation day

Many of our customers ask us what they should expect with the nbntm installation process and while it differs for a lot of customers, we’ve come up with a 2 post series to give you some insight on the process and what to expect. Here’s part 1.

So you’ve ordered your nbntm connection and it’s the day of installation – what should you expect to happen?

Well, let’s first look at whether someone is required to come out and install an nbntm connection for you.

Do I need a technician to come to my premises?

If your premises has had an nbntm connection in the past, you have previously had a Telstra Cable or Foxtel delivered by cable (in the case of HFC technology areas) or your area is using Fibre to the Node technology, then its highly likely an nbntm technician is not required to attend your premises. More about that in a later post.

If you’ve not had nbntm connected previously or never had a Telstra Cable or Foxtel delivered by cable before, then in most cases you’ll need to have a technician come to your premise.

There are some exceptions; however we’ve covered roughly 95% of cases above.

If you’re still reading on, then it means you most likely need a technician to come out and perform some level of work.


When you order an nbntm broadband service through innoTel, we can tell you whether an installer needs to attend your premises. Each premise is categorised into a set of ‘Service Classes’ denoting the status of your premises and from that, we can determine what’s required.


Once you’ve submitted your order to innoTel, we’ll lodge your order with nbncotm and await their response of a next available installation date and time. Once we have this information, we will notify you of these details.

In addition to the installation date, the time provided will be a timeframe of when to expect the nbntm technician to arrive. This will generally be either 9am-12pm or 1pm-5pm.

Keep in mind that technician may no call prior to their arrival or to let you know roughly what time they’ll arrive, so we always recommend being available for the whole day in case they arrive early or late.

The timeframe is also not indicative of how long the installation will take. Each premise is different and some may require more or less work to be performed.

Leading up to the installation day

In the lead up to the installation day, it’s best to get yourself organised. The specific things you’ll need are:


When you submitted your innoTel nbntm order, if you purchased an nbn modem/router through us we will ensure this arrives to you as close to the nbntm install date as possible. If you have elected to provide your own modem/router, you’ll need to ensure this is purchased, configured and ready at your premises for installation day.

Access to your premises;

Sounds pretty straight forward; however if you’re in a building complex you may need to arrange access to areas like a communications cabinet or Multi-Distribution Frame (MDF), which are typically located on the ground floor or in the building’s basement.

A spare power source;

A spare 240v general purpose outlet (GPO / Standard power socket) will be required which will be used for the nbntm Network Termination Unit.

In addition to the above, someone over the age of 18 must be present at all times during the installation.


Stay tuned for Part 2: On installation day

Backup Internet 4G – Keep your business online with mobile data

Backup Internet 4G Router

As a small business owner, you probably don’t realise how reliant you are on your broadband internet connection until it goes down. For whatever reason, technology can fail at times, leaving businesses without internet access. Backup Internet 4G  solutions can help when this situation occurs in your business.

This could affect many of your business’ tools including your phone, email, EFTPOS and other critical communication tools you use in your business.

What would it mean to your business if you;

  • Couldn’t receive incoming phone calls from prospective customers?
  • Couldn’t process transactions with your EFTPOS terminal?
  • Couldn’t read or response to emails?
  • Couldn’t access your online booking system?

For most small businesses, it would be a catastrophic circumstance to be in, however it doesn’t have to happen to your business.

A Backup Internet 4G solution can work in conjunction with your fixed-line broadband connection and provide you with internet access even while your fixed line broadband is unavailable. In most cases, you won’t immediately know when the fixed-line broadband connection is lost as the Backup Internet 4G solution takes over shortly after it notices you don’t have internet access.

For obvious reasons, a Backup Internet 4G solution won’t work when the power is out, unless you have a laptop with sufficient battery life.

Think of a Backup Internet 4G solution as insurance. It often costs very little up-front to introduce a 4G backup solution into your business network with a small ongoing fee for 4G mobile data access. While this adds to your overall communication costs, think about what you would loe if you couldn’t run your business – we bet that would be worth more that what this solution would cost you over 12-months.

Think of a Backup Internet 4G solution it like insurance; when your fixed-line broadband services decides to stop working in most cases you won’t even know.

While it might not happen often, think of how crippled your business would be without a phone and internet service? innoTel make implementing a Backup Internet 4G solution for your business simple and cost effective. We’ll work with you to get the right solution for your business and the right price point.

Speak to innoTel today about our Backup Internet 4G solutions.

Moving to the NBN. How late is ‘too late’ & nbn disconnection date.

As the NBN roll-out progresses, we’re seeing more and more areas coming up to their nbn disconnection date where all existing copper phone and broadband services will be disconnected in favor of the new NBN services.

The nbn disconnection dates affect those who have had either a Fibre to the Premise (FTTP), Fibre to the Node (FTTN), Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) or Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) and occurs 18-months after an area has had its NBN network installed and is considered Ready for Service (RFS).

We have come across customers who had thought the nbn disconnection date was the date they had to order a new NBN service by, which is isn’t incorrect, but also given some of the complexities around transferring phone numbers from copper to VoIP services, could mean you need to allow more time.

As the old copper based phone services are being replaced by Voice over IP (VoIP) services, in most cases your new NBN provider will need to also transfer your old phone numbers from your copper phone services to a new platform, which requires a process called ‘porting’. Porting, the process of moving phone numbers between networks, can take up to 30-business days in some cases.

Imagine this scenario;

Michelle runs a hairdressers; all of their appointments are made over the phone and they have lots of long term clients who either know the number off the top of their heads or it’s stored in their phones.

Michelle’s shop is located in an area which had the NBN rolled out 17 months ago and the old copper phone and broadband services in the area are being disconnected in a month’s time. Not wanting to lose her phone number because everyone know’s it, she rings Provider X who discusses the appropriate service plans with her and she settles and signs on the dotted line.

It is not until after Michelle places the order that Provider X realises that there is approximately 20-business days before Michelle’s old services will be disconnected and the porting process for her phone numbers can take up to 30-business days.

See the problem? It’s purely mathematical. The 30-business days required for most phone number ports does not fit into the 20-business days before the nbn disconnection date for Michelle’s area.

So what happens? It’s possible that Michelle could lose her phone numbers. The very same phone numbers that everyone knows.

That’s a BIG problem for small businesses…

What can you do to prevent that happening to your business?

NBNCo recommends businesses should leave no more than 12-months before the nbn disconnection date for their area to transfer their services. While 12-months seems a long time out, our advice would be, if you haven’t already moved across when the network was rolled out, is to start considering the move to the NBN around 12-months out from the nbn disconnection date, with a view to making the move with 6 or more months out from the nbn disconnection date.

This leaves ample time to organise the NBN Broadband connection and porting of the phone numbers, with little to no downtime for your business.

Are you coming to your nbn disconnection date? Perhaps it’s time we discussed moving you to the NBN sooner rather than later. Give us a call, send us an email or jump on live chat and see what innoTel can do for your business.


The NBN and EFTPOS – The real small business NBN struggle

We field a lot of calls from small businesses who are considering upgrading to the NBN, but aren’t sure whether their EFTPOS machines will continue to work after making the switch? For most retail or hospitality businesses, EFTPOS is critical in the era of plastic money.

In short; NBNCo can’t / won’t guarantee that services like EFTPOS, HICAPS, Fax or Alarms that used the fixed telephone network to communicate will continue to work after a small business, and if NBNCo won’t guarantee it, then it’s unlikely any service provider will also guarantee EFTPOS will work too.

What does the NBN and EFTPOS mean for your small business?

Essentially, it means if you’re still using an EFTPOS or HICAPS terminal, Fax Machine or Security/Medical alarm that uses the old fixed line telephone network, it’s likely you’ll need to upgrade your equipment if you haven’t done so in the last few years.

Most newer EFTPOS terminals these days can connect to the Bank’s network in a number of different ways, offering higher reliability over the old terminals which only connected using one method, usually dial-up. New terminals often have at least two, if not more access method for communication with the bank including 3G mobile (data), Broadband internet Ethernet or Wifi (via your NBN connection) and Dial up (over the old phone network).

What happens if I move to the NBN and don’t change my EFTPOS terminal?

If you have an old terminal and you move to the NBN, there’s no guarantee that your terminal will continue to transact reliably over NBN Phone services. You risk some, or possibly all transactions failing which could lead to a loss of business for you.

What do I need to do to make sure I don’t get caught out?

You should first check with you Bank to see if your current EFTPOS terminal needs to be upgraded. Explain to your bank that you are moving across to the NBN and they’ll be able to organise a replacement device for your small business. You should do this as soon as you consider moving to the NBN.

If it takes some time for the bank to sort out a new terminal for you and your NBN service arrives before the new terminal is installed, you risk not being able to make transactions. Do this early to make sure you’re covered. This also gives you time to test using the EFTPOS terminal via Broadband internet to make sure it works before switching to the NBN.

Are there any other things that need to be taken into account when considering moving to the NBN?

Yes! There can be quite a lot of things, but as no two small businesses are the same, have a chat to our friendly team and we can help you identify potential issues and the things you’ll need to consider before making the switch to an NBN broadband plan.

25 areas will have copper services disconnected in Jan 2017

Quite a large number of areas across Australia are slated to have their existing phone and broadband services disconnected on the  20th of January 2017 as a result of the NBN rolling out in those areas over 18-months ago, some of which include a high number of business premises.

If you haven’t yet sorted out your move to the NBN, now is the time!

As the remaining homes and businesses rush to get their connections sorted in these, we expect there will be an influx of orders. Combine that with businesses generally winding down their operations and taking time off over the holidays, it doesn’t leave much time to switch to the NBN.

NBN FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) services have replaced existing phone and broadband services, offering super-fast speeds of up to 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload. innoTel has a range of NBN business broadband plans.

The following areas or parts of them will have their old copper phone (PSTN) and broadband services (ADSL/ADSL2+) disconnected on the 20th of January 2017:

  • Strathfield NSW
  • Lidcombe NSW
  • Taree NSW
  • Darley VIC
  • Golden Point, Mount Pleasant, Bakery Hill (Ballarat) VIC
  • Cranbourne VIC
  • Yarraville VIC
  • Langwarrin VIC
  • Noble Park VIC
  • Melton West VIC
  • Epping VIC
  • Werribee VIC
  • Drewvale, Karawatha, Parkinson, Calamvale QLD
  • Bellbird Park, Augustine Heights QLD
  • Over 20  (parts) QLD
  • Kirwan, Thuringowa Central, Cranbrook QLD
  • Hyde Park, Pimlico, Hermit Park QLD
  • Collinswood, Enfield, Nailsworth, Sefton Park, Broadview SA
  • Medindie, Medindie Gardens, Walkerville, Gilberton SA
  • Old Noarlunga, Noarlunga Downs SA
  • Applecross WA
  • Bluff Point, Spalding WA
  • Pinjarra WA
  • Victoria Park WA
  • Fannie Bay, Parap, The Gardens, East Point NT

Not all premises in these areas will be disconnected, so you should check to see if you are affected. Not sure if you’re located in one of these areas? Check your address using our NBN Rollout Map. If you are located in one of these areas, it’s worth getting your connection to the NBN sorted as soon as possible.  innoTel can help you make the transition to the NBN in time and smoothly, with no down-time for your business. Get in contact with us to find out how.

The nbn is coming Highett, Hampton East, Moorabbin and Cheltenham (VIC)

The nbntm has begun rolling out in Highett, Hampton East, Moorabbin and Cheltenham and will be the first suburbs to in the Bayside region of Melbourne, Victoria to receive the nbntm.

Businesses in Highett, Hampton East, Moorabbin and Cheltenham can now look forward to faster broadband internet speeds, better access to cloud services and fully featured digital phone services.

The selected areas in Highett, Hampton East, Moorabbin and Cheltenham are all in the ‘In-Build’ state at the time of this post, meaning that nbncotm are conducting pre-construction activities to deliver the network, readying for release to the public.

Hampton East is currently in the ‘Planning’ stage, meaning nbncotm are working through the details on how the network will be constructed.

Postcodes for these areas include Hampton East (3188), Highett (3190), Moorabbin (3189) and Cheltenham (3192).

A mixture of Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) and Fibre to the Node (FTTN) technologies will service these areas, with super-fast broadband speeds up to 100Mbps download and 40Mpbs upload available to businesses.

Register your interest and we’ll keep you update when the status of the nbntm rollout in your area changes and when you’ll be able to make the switch to the nbntm.

Areas will start to go-live from the 9th of December 2016 and progressively throughout 2017. Contact us today and find out when your area and premise will be ready for the nbntm.

What is an nbn NTD or nbn connection box – NBN Jargon

A Network Termination Device (nbn NTD), sometimes also known as a Network Termination Unit (NTD) or an nbn Connection Box is the device installed at your premises that your nbn connection plugs into from the nbn network, whether it be delivered by Fibre (FTTP), Copper (FTTN/FTTB), Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC), Wireless or Satellite.

You subsequently plug your router or modem into the nbn NTD, which allows you to access the internet.

When installed, the nbn NTD will be mounted on a wall inside your premise. NTD’s may look different on a premise by premise basic, but may look like the following image.

nbn NTD installed
Image: An example nbn NTD installed at a customer premises (source: Barry Electronics)

An nbn NTD was described by one of our customers like the telephone wall socket at their home, where once they’d plugged in a phone and modem, they could get access to a phone and broadband service. While it’s a bit more complex than that, it is a good non-technical explanation of how an NTD applies to you in connecting to the internet when you sign up for an nbn service.


Location of the nbn NTD in your premise

When the nbn engineer arrives to install the service at your premise, they will suggest where to best place the NTD and will generally be close to an existing wall socket (in the case of FTTN, FTTB, HFC) or close to the best entry point into the premise for the new nbn connection (for FTTP, Wireless or Satellite).

When choosing a location for the NTD, consider the most optimal location between the entry point (wall socket) and where your existing equipment is located, preferably in a dry, cool location away from dust, dirt or equipment that may interfere with the NTD.

If your location between the nbn NTD and your equipment is some distance, you may need to engage a certified data cabler to run an appropriate connection between the NTD and your equipment at your expense, as this isn’t a service provided by nbn, the nbn engineer or innoTel.

Connecting your equipment into the nbn NTD

The NTD has a number of ports available to plug network cables into. These ports will be marked as:

  • UNI-V1 & UNI-V2 (RJ12 plug type); and
  • UNI-D1, UNI-D2, UNI-D3 and UNI-D4 (RJ45 plug type)

The different sets of ports provide different services;

UNI-V ports typically provide phone services, however these are not used with innoTel nbn services

UNI-D ports provide data or Broadband services. innoTel uses these to provide both nbn Broadband and Phone (VoIP) services to its customers.

nbn NTD ports
Image: A view of the nbn NTD ports (source: Wikimedia)

When you sign up for an nbn plan with innoTel, we will advise you which UNI-D port to connect your router to.

A graphical example of where an nbn NTD lives within the nbn network and your premise looks something like:

Image: Indicative diagram of an nbn installation (source: innoTel)

Now you know a bit more about what an nbn NTD or nbn connection box is, why not sign-up for an nbn broadband plan?