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How long does it take to get a new internet service connected?

The long and short of how long it takes to get your new internet service connected.

Nathan Lawrence
Nov 15, 2021
Icon Time To Read5 min read

You’ve just signed up for a new internet service, and now you’re playing the waiting game. So, how long exactly is this going to take? It may be as short as 15 minutes or it may take several days, but that depends on the type of internet service you’ve just signed up to. Scroll on to help speed things up.

Types of internet services

At the time of writing, there are four main internet services available in Australia:

  • NBN
  • Home wireless broadband
  • Mobile broadband
  • Starlink satellite

While home wireless broadband, mobile broadband and Starlink satellite are straightforward in their estimated connection times, homes connected to the NBN may have varying time frames depending on the technology type that gets them online.

Info Box
What about ADSL?
Despite the NBN rollout being complete, there are still a rare number of homes that still have access to ADSL services. If you’re one of these homes, it takes around four days to connect to a new service. Really, though, if you can get any other form of broadband internet in your home, we’d advise considering it over ADSL.

NBN wait times for plan and provider shifting

Let’s start with the speediest news first. If you’re simply shifting from one provider’s plan to another provider’s plan, you may be connected in as little as 15 minutes. That’s a best-case scenario, but you should otherwise expect it to be completed in no longer than an hour or so. Get on the phone if it’s taking noticeably longer than an hour, but some providers note that this can take between 24 to 48 hours.

If you’re sticking with the same provider and just shifting plans, either up or down, expect it to be done in minutes, too.

New NBN plan wait times

For homes signing up for their first NBN plan, things can take a lot longer than 15 minutes to an hour. Regardless of the provider, it can take up to six weeks for your NBN equipment installation. This is because there are a few steps to getting a new NBN service. The first is to order an NBN plan that you like the look of, like one of the options from the daily updating list of cheap picks below.

Ordering a plan is straightforward for homeowners but renters may need approval from their landlord first. Once you’ve ordered an NBN plan, your new provider takes care of liaising with NBN Co to get you connected. If a technician is needed for equipment installation, your provider will let you know and you can confirm an appointment date and window (usually via text).

New NBN plan technology type considerations

There are seven different technologies that are used to connect homes to the NBN:

  • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP)
  • Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)
  • Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC)
  • Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB)
  • Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN)
  • Fixed Wireless
  • Sky Muster satellite

Most of these NBN technologies have different installation requirements, which may take longer than others. For any NBN technologies that require a visit from a technician, it’s worth thinking in advance about where you’d like the equipment installed. If you get stuck, the technician will be able to advise, and they’ll also tell you if your ideal spot isn’t possible.

FTTP installation considerations

FTTP homes require a visit from an NBN technician who will install an NBN box on the outside and inside of the property, which can take a few hours. The NBN connection box inside the home acts as a modem, which then connects to a compatible router or ‘bridge mode’ modem-router. If the NBN hardware is already installed, expect to be connected in one to two business days. If it’s not, providers like Internode advise it may take between five and 20 business days.

HFC installation considerations

HFC can either be self-installed for eligible homes or installed via an approved NBN installer. NBN Co advises that a standard installation takes between two to four hours, but complex installations may take up to eight hours. Once installation is complete, connect a router or modem-router to the NBN connection box inside your home. If a router or modem-router is sent by your provider, it should arrive preconfigured. If not, check your provider’s website or contact them for installation steps. For example, Internode advises that an HFC connection can take between five to seven business days.

FTTC installation considerations

As someone who has FTTC, I can attest to the estimates that installation takes between 15 minutes to a couple of hours. For me, it was about half an hour. While certain homes are eligible for self-installation with FTTC, mine was done via an NBN technician. All the technician or you have to do is run a phone cable between the NBN connection box and a telephone socket, then power on the device. FTTC requires a router to share the internet connection with your home via WiFi and Ethernet (otherwise you’re restricted to a single Ethernet connection to a compatible device from the NBN connection box).

FTTB and FTTN installation considerations

FTTN and FTTB are similar technologies, both of which use a VDSL2-compatible modem-router to connect your home to the NBN. If you don’t already have a modem-router, speak to your provider about supplying one or which models they provide tech support for (in case things go wrong). Like FTTC, a VDSL2-compatible modem-router needs both power and a telephone cable connection to the telephone wall socket. Unlike FTTC, FTTB and FTTN modem-routers don’t need to be connected to an external router and you can connect your devices to the modem-router via Ethernet and/or WiFi. After the hardware is configured, connection times vary from 15 minutes to 48 hours.

Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster satellite installation considerations

Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster satellite installations are very similar and may take up to 28 days to install after a plan order is placed with a provider, and this process involves a visit from an NBN technician. The NBN technician will test whether a standard (roof mount) or non-standard installation (elsewhere on your property) is required for the outdoor antenna. The antenna is connected to an external box and, finally, an NBN connection box is installed inside your home. Standard installations take around two to four hours. The NBN connection box acts as a modem, so you’ll need to connect it to a router to get online and share the internet with your devices.

Home wireless broadband installation considerations

Outside of the waiting time for your modem-router to arrive, home wireless broadband is an incredibly speedy configuration. All you have to do is ensure the SIM card is inserted, then power on the device and follow the configuration steps in the manual or sent by your provider. Feasibly, you could be up and running in around 10 minutes if everything is working properly.

Mobile broadband installation considerations

Mobile broadband is very similar to home wireless broadband, in that all you need is power and an inserted SIM card to get online. The only difference here is if you opt for a modem dongle, this device will only work with a PC or Mac and you’ll have to wait a minute or so for your computer to install the necessary drivers to detect the device. After that, you should be able to get online. If you choose a WiFi hotspot instead, charge the device first, then connect to it as you would any WiFi network to get online. Either way, you’re looking at a few minutes of configuration time to get online as long as everything is working as it should.

Starlink satellite installation considerations

At the time of writing, Starlink was still rolling out around Australia. If you are in an eligible home, placing an order with Starlink will have the necessary equipment shipped out to you within two weeks. Once it arrives, follow the installation guide to tripod-mount or roof-mount the Starlink dish on your property or your roof. Use the app and documentation to help, but you can be up and running in around 15 minutes.

Info Box
NBN Technology Choice Program
If your home isn’t connected to the NBN via FTTP—and you can check this by entering your address on the NBN website—you can get a free quote to see how much it will cost to convert it to a full fibre connection as part of the NBN Technology Choice Program. Be warned, expect a quote that will cost many thousands of dollars and also prepare to wait multiple months for this upgrade process to complete.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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