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Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) NBN: What you need to know
The 1.0 plan for the NBN rollout was for most homes and businesses in Australia to receive full fibre connections. Now that the main rollout is complete, the full fibre-ification of homes is in full swing, focused on converting Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) and Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) homes to Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) abodes, capable of gigabit internet and future-proofed for potential multi-gigabit tomorrows.
Here’s everything you need to know about NBN Co’s speediest technology.
What is Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN?
Unlike copper/fibre hybrid technologies like FTTC, Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) and FTTN, Fibre-to-the-Premises is a full fibre connection from the nearest NBN Point of Interconnect (PoI) to your home. Because it’s a full fibre connection, FTTP homes can sign up for any NBN speed tier, including gigabit internet plans.
Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN plans
Fibre-to-the-Premises homes can sign up to all NBN speed tiers, which includes the main ones and the non-standard speed tiers offered by providers like Aussie Broadband and Superloop. For bare-bolts internet there’s NBN 12 or NBN 25, while homes with faster speed needs and more connected people will likely be tempted by NBN 50 and NBN 100. If those two aren’t fast enough, there’s also faster NBN 250 and no-compromise NBN 1000 to consider.
Below is a daily updating list of popular NBN 12 plans from our comparison engine:
But we’d absolutely advise treating NBN 25 plans as the minimum NBN speed tier:
NBN 50 is currently the most popular speed tier in Australia:
While NBN 100 is the fastest speed tier available to most homes:
FTTP homes can hit speeds more than double those of NBN 100 with an NBN 250 plan:
Alternatively, FTTP homes can go all out with NBN 1000 plans:
Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN providers
There are dozens of NBN providers in Australia, and we track more than 20 of them in our comparison engine, most of which offer plans for FTTP homes. The selection is a bit narrower when it comes to NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans, though, even if these beyond-NBN 100 speed tiers are being offered by more providers.
Look to these NBN providers for NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans (providers that offer both NBN 250 and NBN 1000 are in bold):
How Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN works
Fibre-to-the-Premises is the most straightforward NBN technology because of its exclusive reliance on a full fibre connection from FTTP home to NBN PoI (where provider networks take over). Because of this, there aren’t any disclaimers about potential speed degradation due to copper wiring (FTTC, FTTN and FTTB), wireless signal (Fixed Wireless NBN) or the inherent latency and speed realities of NBN satellite.
The NBN uses fibre to connect to an NBN utility box outside your home, which then links to an NBN connection box inside your home. This may also be called an NBN Network Termination Device or NTD. Whatever you call it, it’s a fancy term for ‘NBN modem’, which may optionally connect to a Power Supply with Optional Battery Backup. The NBN connection box connects to a router or modem-router in bridge mode to share the internet with the devices in your home.
Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN speeds
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: FTTP is the best form of broadband available in Australia because it offers a full fibre connection. This means FTTP homes should expect their NBN connection to reach the provider’s self-reported typical evening download speeds.
The trend for NBN 12, NBN 25 and NBN 50 plans is that NBN providers offer parity between advertised download speeds and max potential speeds, being 12Mbps, 25Mbps and 50Mbps, respectively. Provider self-reported download speeds tend to slow after this point, with only a handful from our comparison engine offering 100Mbps downloads for NBN 100 plans.
When it comes to NBN 250, Telstra, Aussie Broadband and Superloop are the fastest with 250Mbps, 248Mbps and 240Mbps, respectively. And it’s a similar story for NBN 1000, with Telstra (700Mbps), Aussie Broadband (600Mbps) and Superloop (500Mbps) leading the pack for self-reported download speeds.
Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN modem
For Fibre-to-the-Premises, the NBN modem is called the NBN connection box, while the device that shares the NBN internet connection around your home is called a router. While any router should do the trick, ideally, an FTTP router should be a newer model that has gigabit Ethernet ports and dual-band WiFi, and favouring the faster, shorter-range 5GHz band will get you closest to max download speeds. Why? So you can actually hit the speeds you should and not tap out around 100Mbps.
This is particularly relevant for NBN speed tiers above NBN 100, where you’ll want to ensure you’re using a gigabit-capable Ethernet cable (Cat5e and above) between the NBN connection box and your router as well as for any wired devices connected to your router. Speak with your provider about compatible routers if you’re seeking a plan above NBN 100.
For context, compare NBN plans below that either come with an NBN-compatible modem or are offered by providers that let you purchase one separately:
Not on FTTP? If you’re in an FTTN or FTTC home, there’s a good chance you’re on the list for an FTTP upgrade by the end of 2023. The only catch is that once the FTTP upgrade is available in your area, FTTN homes must order an NBN 100 plan or above to complete the upgrade, while FTTC abodes need to order an NBN 250 plan or faster.
For everyone else, you can also try the NBN Technology Choice Program; just be aware that while quotes for a single premises are free, actual upgrade costs tend to run into the thousands.
Fibre-to-the-Premises vs other fixed-line NBN technologies
Here’s how the ranking of NBN technologies looks:
- Fixed Wireless
- NBN satellite
In terms of the specific NBN technologies, here’s how all other fixed-line metro alternatives fare stacked next to FTTP (all of which are better than NBN Fixed Wireless and NBN satellite).
Fibre-to-the-Premises vs Hybrid Fibre Coaxial NBN
While all Fibre-to-the-Premises homes can sign up to NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans, only most Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) homes and a select number of HFC homes can access NBN 1000 plans. This is because HFC isn’t a full fibre connection; instead, it’s a hybrid mix of fibre and the existing coaxial cable network.
Fibre-to-the-Premises vs Fibre-to-the-Curb NBN
Fibre-to-the-Curb may be the best form of copper/fibre hybrid NBN technologies, but it’s still only eligible for NBN 100 plans. This is because FTTC homes still have a run of copper from the nearest telecommunications pit to their home or telecommunications room.
Fibre-to-the-Premises vs Fibre-to-the-Building NBN
Fibre-to-the-Building in its base form is a lot like FTTC, in that fibre runs all the way to a building’s telecommunications room before it’s shared with the building via existing copper wiring. This makes for shorter or longer copper cabling, depending on how far away a home is from the telecommunications room. Technically, if an apartment or building upgrades the copper wiring between telecommunications room and their home to fibre, it can be treated as an FTTP connection.
Fibre-to-the-Premises vs Fibre-to-the-Node NBN
Fibre-to-the-Premises and Fibre-to-the-Node are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to NBN fixed-line technologies. According to WhistleOut, NBN Co says that around 76% of FTTN homes can’t reach NBN 100 speeds even if nine out of 10 can hit speeds between 50Mbps and 100Mbps. These below-NBN 100 speeds are because of the hybrid mix of copper and fibre, the former of which can potentially stretch hundreds of metres, slowing down overall speeds. FTTP is full fibre, which means it doesn’t have the same speed-degradation concerns.