How to upgrade your NBN to FTTP
The NBN is currently separated into three core technology brackets: fixed-line to metro areas, Fixed Wireless for rural and regional places, and Sky Muster satellite for offshore and remote sites. For anyone not satisfied with their current NBN speeds, though, there’s always the option of requesting an upgrade quote via NBN Co’s Technology Choice Program.
In the past, it used to cost money just to get a quote, but that’s changed in more recent times, even if it’s far from cheap. That said, NBN Co has also announced plans for an upgrade program that’s set to happen between 2021 and 2023 with the goal of getting 75% of homes and businesses capable of connecting to gigabit internet plans by the end of 2023.
What is FTTP?
FTTP stands for Fibre-to-the-Premises and it’s one of the fixed-line technologies used to deliver the NBN to metro areas. Other fixed-line technologies include Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN), Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC), Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC). Of all these picks, FTTP is the best because it’s a full fibre connection between the NBN and your home, instead of a hybrid mix of either fibre-to-copper (FTTN, FTTC, FTTB) or fibre-to-coaxial (HFC). Having FTTP means the most options for today’s available NBN plans, while the fact it’s full fibre translates to it being future-proofed for tomorrow’s beyond-gigabit speeds (if and when they come).
Your best bet for seeing how your home is connected to the NBN is to visit the NBN website, punch in your address at the top of the page, click either ‘Check residential’ or ‘Check business’, then scroll down to the bit that says ‘Technology used in your connection’. If it says FTTP, you’re all set and ready to order a plan beyond NBN 100, which means either an NBN 250 or NBN 1000 plan. What you use your home internet for will ultimately determine the speed you need.
Below is a daily updating list of the most popular NBN 250 plans with unlimited data.
And below here is a daily updating list of the most popular NBN 1000 plans with at least 1TB of data.
How to check FTTP availability
Technically, almost every home in Australia is eligible for FTTP. If you’re in an FTTN or FTTC area, there’s a good chance your home will be upgraded to an FTTP connection in the next couple of years, but there is a catch. When a free FTTP upgrade is available in lucky FTTN areas, FTTN homes will have to order at least an NBN 100 plan to kick off the upgrade. For fortunate FTTC homes that are in FTTP upgrade areas, they’ll need to order at least an NBN 250 plan to kickstart the free upgrade.
At the time of writing, the plan was for 2 million homes to be able to access an FTTP connection by the end of 2023, joining the 3.5 million-ish FTTP and HFC homes that can already access gigabit internet. This translates to these areas in the following states:
New South Wales
- Belmont North
- Castle Hill
- New Lambton
- Wetherill Park
- Berwick South
- Deer Park
- Narre Warren
- Acacia Ridge
- Albany Creek
- Bald Hills
- Browns Plains
- Burleigh Heads
- Eight Mile Plains
- Ferny Hills
- Gepps Cross
- Golden Grove
- Canning Vale
- Double View
If you’re reading this article in or after November 2021, those ‘Check your address’ steps outlined in the previous section should also now offer an indication of whether your home is eligible for an FTTP upgrade.
FTTP vs HFC
NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans are currently available to all FTTP homes and a select number of HFC homes, with NBN 250 being more widely available to HFC homes and fewer still able to access NBN 1000 plans. This means HFC homes won’t receive a free FTTP upgrade but the NBN Co plan now is to upgrade nearly all HFC homes to be able to tap into gigabit internet speeds. By the middle of 2021, HFC users should be able to get NBN 250 plans, and most should be able to tap into gigabit plans by the end of 2023. No further on-premises work should be required for these HFC upgrades, which means you should be able to order an NBN 250 or NBN 1000 plan once the upgrade is complete.
How to get FTTP installed
If your area isn’t set to receive an FTTP upgrade or you don’t like the idea of waiting until the end of 2023 to maybe have access to a free upgrade option, there’s another way to do it. But it’ll cost you. NBN Co has the Technology Choice Program, which is a fancy way of saying ‘check your eligibility and the costs involved to upgrade your home to FTTP’.
Normally, there are three options for requesting a quote: Individual Switch for an individual home, Group Switch for a number of premises , and Area Switch for an area. At the time of writing, the Group Switch and Area Switch options were unavailable on the Technology Choice Program website.
Here’s the steps to take if you want to get an FTTP quote for your home:
- Head to the Technology Choice Program website.
- Read through the relevant information headings under ‘What you need to know’.
- Ready to go? Click on ‘Get a quote and apply’.
- Click on the ‘Get a quote for a single premises’ bubble.
- Read through more information, then enter your address at the bottom of the page.
- Enter your given name, family name, email address and phone number.
- Tick the confirmation checkbox, then select ‘Generate quote’.
You’ll be emailed a quote outlining the cost to upgrade to FTTP.
How much does FTTP cost?
This is one of those ‘how long is a piece of string?’-type questions that doesn’t have a straightforward answer.
If you follow the steps above, you’ll be emailed a quote almost straight away, but it’s only valid for 24 hours. You can request another quote later. Click on the ‘View your quote now’ link in the email to see your quote. This is where you want to be sitting down. Expect costs to range from thousands of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The quote prices also vary depending on when you do them. For instance, our FTTC test initially quoted a $9,898 FTTP upgrade fee but, at the time of writing this article, the cost was $8,572 (prices include GST).
Whatever the cost, if you’re okay to wear it and want to proceed, click on the ‘Submit an Individual Premises Switch application’ and follow the prompts to get the FTTP ball rolling.
Why are FTTP upgrades so expensive?
As you can see from the quote above, upgrading to FTTP ain’t cheap, even on an FTTC connection where the fibre runs to the kerbside telecommunications pit just outside the home. According to NBN Co, here’s what’s factored into the cost:
- Proximity to existing NBN infrastructure
- Distance between premises (where applicable)
- Complexity of required construction
- Original NBN technology vs FTTP
- Remoteness of your home