- What is the best type of internet for me?
- Who is NBN Co and what do they do?
- What is an internet service provider and which one should I choose?
- What is Starlink and is it suitable for where I live?
- Where can I go to get good advice from people who understand the problems in regional Australia?
There are several internet connection options for Mid North Coast residents, with the National Broadband Network (NBN) available to every single property in the region. Towns and cities have access to fibre optic wireless connection, and in the less populated areas of the region, fixed wireless and satellite options are available. There are also some legacy ADSL connections, but most telcos do not offer new ADSL contracts. If you need high quality internet connectivity for work, study or home, it’s beneficial to check the coverage available to you in your chosen location before you move there. The Regional Tech Hub can do a free and independent report of the options available to you at your address.
ADSL internet: Also known as Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line, ADSL is last century’s legacy broadband internet connection, transmitting data through a copper wire using your premise’s phone line. Telstra owns the ADSL line, and according to their submission to the ACCC’s Wholesale ADSL declaration inquiry (PDF), less people are using ADSL, there are a range of options for customers to use instead of ADSL, and most other providers don’t offer new ADSL plans. It’s likely that over the next couple of years, Telstra will stop providing an ADSL service, arguing that it is more expensive to operate and inferior to just about every other service. In areas without access to a fixed broadband service (people who live out of town), this is likely to mean that people currently on ADSL with no access to a fixed broadband network will need to change to a satellite network or other available internet service.
Mobile Broadband: internet delivered directly to your mobile device via a mobile phone tower.
Fixed Wireless: there are both NBN and non-NBN fixed wireless services, both of which require line of sight access from your premises to the nearest internet base tower. However, on the mid north coast there are limited non-NBN providers.
NBN Broadband: NBN Co is the government owned company tasked with building the Australian broadband network. Generally speaking, towns with more than 2000 people have access to some kind of fibre optic cable broadband. Although NBN Co builds and owns the network, you will need to buy your access from one of many internet providers – and while you’ll need to pay for your NBN plan, the cost of connecting the NBN to your home is completely free, with the Australian Government covering the cost. Broadband on the Mid North Coast consists of a suite of options including fibre optic cable connections, which is any type of NBN connection that uses a physical line running to the node, kerb or premises. There is also fixed wireless, which uses data transmitted by radio signals from a transmission tower to an outdoor antenna attached to the premises, and the Sky Muster satellite service which delivers the internet to regional and remote Australia, via two satellites.
NBN Co is working on a series of upgrades across the Mid North Coast over the next couple of years:
- For higher business data demands, they have announced a premium, high-performance fibre access network designed to be both fast and reliable. Business NBN Enterprise Ethernet is NBN’s flagship fibre access product, with synchronous speeds available up to almost 10Gbps. This is available in the NBN fixed line footprint within larger towns in the region.
- In some towns, they are extending fibre deeper into selected towns and suburbs. Selected homes and businesses serviced by the NBN network via Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) can now upgrade to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) with an eligible plan.
- Back in March 2022 NBN Co announced a $480 million investment in the NBN® Fixed Wireless network by the Australian Government, supported by an additional $270 million from NBN Co. The investment will help to deliver faster speeds to homes and businesses across semi-rural, regional, and remote Australia. This program is of particular importance in the region as there is a greater proportion of people connected to fixed wireless and satellite customers in the hinterland surrounding towns and villages.
- On the satellite front NBN Co have added NBN Sky Muster Plus, a new premium satellite service for homes and small businesses. The service has been enhanced to provide more data, providing NBN Sky Muster users with unlimited unmetered data across all online content and applications, with only two exclusions – video streaming and VPN traffic – which will continue to be metered between 4pm and midnight. They are unmetered outside those hours.
- Contact NBN Co for information about the NBN rollout in your area or when to connect.
Service Providers: NBN Co builds the network, and then sells access to the network to service providers such as Telstra, Optus and all the other internet service providers, who then sell the service to you. There are a LOT of different service providers, so you will need to do some research. The Regional Tech Hub is a great resource for regional internet connection. Contact your provider about plans and pricing, installation and activation enquiries, ongoing support and trouble shooting.
Low to Medium Earth Orbit satellites: while NBN Sky Muster uses two high to very high satellites to provide their service, Starlink uses new low to medium earth orbit satellites, which orbit 60x closer to earth than the NBN satellites. Newly available in Australia since late 2022, Starlink satellites offer faster speeds, with less latency (delay) and unlimited data, at a higher cost. Watch for new offerings by Australian telcos in this space, with Telstra planning its own low earth satellite technology. This type of technology is best suited to out of town or non-metropolitan users, as the speed can be impacted with very high users in built up areas, and as more people subscribe.
For more information:
Regional Tech Hub: offers independent advice and support and helps regional Australians negotiate often confusing phone and internet options and technical issues.
Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australians: a ‘one-stop shop’ of relevant info & links for all things bush telecommunications. BIRRR offers support, independent advice and advocacy and negotiates often-confusing bush broadband options and issues.