How do I get broadband?
The broadband technology available to you is dependent on a number of factors including availability and performance of service at your location, how the broadband Internet access is packaged, cost, and distance from the exchange. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for affordable, high speed broadband. That is why the Australian Government set about creating the National Broadband Network (nbnTM). The nbn network is Australia’s new landline phone and internet network. It has been designed to provide you with access to all the benefits of fast and reliable internet services, wherever you live.
The nbn will be rolled out in stages. Until the nbn is available in your area, please see below some information on potential options, solutions and challenges for businesses and consumers to consider.
What’s your location?
- Rural area – Distance from the local exchange results in poor ADSL performance, weak signal strength for mobile broadband, or low data throughput – leading to low business productivity.
- Industrial precinct – Business is located in a Sunshine Coast industrial precinct and the distance (as the copper travels) from the nearest exchange is between 2.5km (the typical ADSL speed that matches the base nbn service) and 5km (the limit of broadband above the speed of dial-up).
- Commercial area – Sometimes even in commercial areas, limited or no “ports” in the exchange, or distance from the local exchange results in poor ADSL performance which can lead to businesses not having access to high speed broadband.
- Urban residential area – Limited or no “ports” in the exchange, or distance from the local exchange results in poor ADSL performance which can lead to residents not having access to ADSL broadband.
Step 1: Review your contract
Do you have a phone connected at your location? Check your contract/agreement and establish the monthly price, total Gb (Gigabits) and advertised connection speed.
Step 2: Measure the performance of your connection
Carry out a speed test to assess download, upload and ping, so you can compare the results to the speeds that your provider has advertised:
Download measures the speed a typical download takes; the larger the number the better. Check against the contract you currently have.
Ping is the time for a data packet to go from you to the internet and back. The smaller the number the better.
The upload measure is the most critical. If you are sending information to others or uploading to the web this is the critical link and often the weakest. Often contracts don’t mention expected upload service levels.
Step 3: Compare your contract with your current service
By testing your service and recording the results regularly you can better understand if you are getting what you pay for.
Step 4: Talk to your carrier / internet service provider
Talk to your provider about the service you have and what you are paying for. If your speed test results are lower than what was offered in your contract, make a note of them and take them to your service provider to demonstrate that your internet is not performing. You may be able to troubleshoot some solutions with the ISP to assist you in fixing the problem. If your provider refuses to do anything to rectify the problem, contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) to help you resolve your complaint.
Step 5: Research alternative solutions
a) Fixed Services
Fixed services include the nbn, Fibre Optic Broadband, Ethernet Broadband, Fibre Ethernet Broadband, ADSL2+ amongst others. Have a look at the nbn rollout schedule to find out if the nbn network is available at your home or business. If you are in a rural location you are most likely to benefit from the fixed wireless or Satellite services.
b) Fixed Wireless Services
For businesses looking to achieve high quality connections, a point to point microwave solution may suit your needs. This would mean a dedicated aerial on the roof of your building pointing to the site by a line of sight. Then you would have access to a range of service levels and price points, symmetrical business grade connectivity.
c) Mobile Broadband
Home-based businesses in particular might want to have a separate internet connection – as a separate modem and data allowance will ensure that it does not have to be shared with other people in the home. Most providers will have coverage maps on their websites which allow you to check what coverage and data speeds are available in your area – however be aware that some carrier maps are optimistic in their projections. Carry out speed tests regularly to ensure your service is as good as promised.
Note: Each carrier has fine print messages about service experience at individual locations. Make sure you trial and test extensively to ensure you are personally happy with the service.
Aerial use: You may also find that a professionally installed aerial can substantially improve a wireless service. A correctly installed Yagi directional aerial will amplify the available signal and have the best potential to improve your experience.
d) nbnTM Network
The multi-million dollar investment from nbn™ Co into the Sunshine Coast will deliver broadband into homes and businesses across the region using the best-fit technology for your location. To find out when the nbn will be rolled out in your area, visit the nbn coverage maps, or the Sunshine Coast Council and Noosa Council webpages for updates. By checking your address on the nbn website you can find out if/when the nbn network is available to you and what equipment you will need to get connected at your address.
Step 6: Check out the range of satellite providers working on the nbn system
To connect to the Sky MusterTM satellite service, check your address to see if the nbn™ network is available in your area, and contact your preferred service provider to choose a plan that suits your needs. You will need to balance the cost of installation (if any), against the contract duration, cost per month and data provided. Remember that as a general rule data use is doubling every two years. Please also consider the timing of any nbn builds that are happening or likely to happen to improve your connection options.
Sunshine Coast service providers & nbn retailers
While it is difficult to provide a full list of internet service providers and nbn retailers operating on the Sunshine Coast due to the many different exchanges across the region, please find a current list below for your convenience. Please contact us if you would like to be added to these lists:
For tip sheets and resources for anything related to phones and internet; for advice on how to choose an internet service provider, or what to do when your home broadband service is slow or unreliable, visit the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) website.
See also: Technology and Definitions.
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