NBN Explained

Will somebody please explain the National Broadband Network (NBN) and what on earth is going on with my internet speed!!!!! And Pleeeaaasse no more jargon!

"OK so at great risk of being shouted down by all the boffins and technical gurus here is the current internet service plan in terms I can understand – I hope this helps.

I am going to describe the system as if it were simply a plumbing problem – and I am talking about the lovely clean waters that arrives at our taps every time we turn the tap on. Have you noticed how the water pressure doesn't seem to fail just because it is tea time and everybody is cooking and washing? And after tea when the whole of Australia turns on the dishwasher somehow miraculously the water still flows at normal pressure. Now how clever are these guys and gals.

What they did is this – they worked out that the main water pipe had to be certain large size and then the sub pipes medium size and then the pipe to the house was just the right size and it works.

Now I am not kidding when I say that the current internet service and the NBN plan work very much like plumbing pipes. I know – too simple – what about all the Megabits and Bytes and Nodes and blah blah blah........ this is just terminology and also generally a subject that we don't know a lot about so it just becomes confusing.

So I am going to do this as an analogy to plumbing and water pressure because internet signal is invisible whereas we have all seen water come out of a tap

What I am saying is that the problem is simple - the main internet pipes are not big enough and the medium pipes aren't either and the ones to the house are tiny in comparison to what is needed.

The current situation in the majority of homes on the Sunshine Coast if the internet connection was a tap and you turn it on you get a trickle ( that is about 3Megabits per second) Then when our share of the new 2,000,000 (that's 2million Aussies) Netflix and Presto and Stan subscribers sit down to watch their movies – guess what... these folk are your neighbours and fellow suburbians and so now your trickle turns into a drip.(less than 1 Megabit per second) and your poor old computer is dying of thirst and stops, or has to take a rest (loading loading loading – little wheel going around for ever).

So that is the system we have unfortunately, and the reason it is so bad is that the upgrade to the system that was required many years ago did not occur.

Yes, the internet has become a basic utility like phone, water and electricity as our business our home office and our leisure are all being affected by this. Sad to say the world would stop without it.

OK, so onto the NBN – the white knight that has become the white elephant.

Plan A – Fibre to the home!
The plan was basically to put this great big pipe (Fibre optic cable) along every main street of Australia! And the a big pipe down the smaller streets and then a large pipe right into your house and turn on the tap and full pressure comes gushing out (fast Internet up to 100 megabits per second) As matter of fact there is so much pressure that you have to put a reducer valve because it is more than you need right now.

This was a great plan, a really truly sensible well designed plan and it would work brilliantly – except..... even before the cost blowouts it was going to cost a fortune – more than "we the people" could afford (despite of all the billions of tax we pay)

Then came Plan B – Fibre to the Node!

So this solution became– let's not put in all the pipes – simple – saved a fortune but sabotaged the workability of the system!!! So now we have people like you and I with a big internet pipe running right passed our door and we can't tap into it (excuse the pun) Instead it goes to the end of the street then it is connected to a tiny corroded cable and then comes back to you via all the other neighbours first and you turn it on and now you have a fast trickle(5-8 megabits per second) as long as not too many others are on at the same time.

I do hope that analogy at least makes it easier to understand, and please don't plug the hose into the computer – it wont help!


Of all the options out there at the moment, wireless internet can be a smart alternative and some cases seems the best way to go because it allows you to bypass the underground cable system and get fast internet direct to your house from an independent internet provider.

The way it works is like TV transmission but it works both ways. For Internet they have a transmitter on a tower like TV transmission and you have an aerial fitted on a mast on your roof and a cable run to your modem and now you turn on the tap and you have internet pressure! (12-25 megabits per second depending on the plan) The internet arrives over an invisible pipe through the air. It is simple and it works in some areas.

The cost varies and the integrity of the companies providing the service is a critical part of choosing the right one for you.

If you want to solve your internet problem right away then I would suggest you go to the Our Community Broadband website and check out their plans. If they don't have a transmitter in your area then register with them and once there is enough people registered in an area they will put up a transmitter and then you can book to be connected. They are not the cheapest but they are an ethical company and their product is good. (if you do contact them let them know you heard about them from us)

And if you need some cabling or connections done we are licensed master cablers and are very happy to help!"