We’ve just made the NBN switch: here’s what you need to know

A sponsored post for iSelect

As you’d be aware of, the NBN is rolling out across the country right now (with full rollout expected to be completed by 2020). Being in a rural area we weren’t sure how long it was going to take to get to us connected but we were thrilled to discover a few months ago that our tower was up and we were ready to be connected.

So what exactly is the NBN and what are the benefits of it? Well when it comes down to it, it’s speed.

Rob and I both work from home and use the internet A LOT. Rob in particular has to send large files to clients, I am constantly uploading images and content to the blog and spend a large amount of my day on social media, and we have 3 kids who spend time on their devices (iPods, iPads and the like). We also consume our entertainment and media online through streaming like Foxtel, Apple TV, Netflix, iView, YouTube, SBS on demand and the like. We are online, most of the time.

We were constantly frustrated by our poor connectivity and speed that we received. For no rhyme or reason (the wind, rain?!) it would be bad, with download speeds around the 5mps and uploads even more pathetic under 1 mps. You get better speeds on a bloody high speed train in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the world. Apple TV would tell us we could watch a movie in 7 hours….and uploading simple images for editing online could take waaaaay longer than it should have. We were often on the phone to our provider for hours only to have things magically work when I was through to a consultant…much like a sick kid that perks up at the Doctors. So as soon we got the go ahead, we wanted to jump at the chance and be early adopters.

Now with so many NBN provider options, plans and information it can become overwhelming while also trying to have trust in what the provider is offering. So where on earth do you begin?

iSelect is a great tool available to try and help you navigate your way through all this information and find the best plan for you and your family. In fact, I wish I had used it when we started the whole process, as a way to sort through all the information, get myself educated and create a plan of attack. Hopefully sharing my story and looking at the resources available at iSelect this will help any of you out there looking to make the switch for your family.

So how did our family make the switch?Well, I handballed the whole project to Rob because it was all too hard for me and I had no clue where to even begin. I start hearing phrases like “fixed wireless” and “download speeds of 10mps” and I start to drift off, so here’s what we (and by we I 100% mean he) did.

Can you be connected?

First of all you need to work out whether your area is NBN ready. There are NBN rollout maps that you check for and iSelect’s broadband experts will direct you to them.

We registered our contact details with our address so when our area was ready we received an email saying we were good to go. You can check out whether you are ready here.

Our area is rural so we have fixed wireless so we have a tower that was installed in the village and our homes have to have direct line of the tower to receive signal. But this is only because we live in a rural area and won’t be the case for everyone, in fact only a small amount. So in our case, even though we were ready, some houses could not be connected (like my sister’s place just around the corner).

Who to go with?

This was the most confusing thing for Rob to look at – so many providers!

The biggest thing to get your head around is that basically NBN owns the network. They sell access to the network wholesale to anyone who wants it. That’s why there are so many providers of the NBN. They all offer access to the SAME NBN just with different packages.

If you’re unsure what to do, check out your existing provider and compare what they offer to a few other ‘name’ providers you know. Another option is to ask around locally to see who people have gone with and how happy they are.

We switched providers because we’re on fixed wireless (regional area) and the provider we went with offered better upload and download speeds than our original provider.

iSelect is a helpful resource to boost your knowledge and confidence in understanding NBN ahead of these provider calls. They can even help you out with all the technological NBN terms, so you can become an expert yourself and not overwhelmed like I was where you hear them. You may also not know that iSelect can take care of the whole process for you. They don’t just compare different NBN providers, but they can actually complete the switch for you and you pay the same as going direct to your chosen provider.

Next…what package?

This one is tricky, but it’s all about your needs and trying to match that. Here’s an article on the iSelect website about choosing the right NBN plan and some more general information on NBN plans.

Make sure you have enough download speed for the uses in your house. If you have lots of devices, all streaming video or gaming, then obviously pick a faster package with unlimited downloads per month. And also understand that the package speed is the theoretical maximum and your real everyday speed could be much less. If you’re unsure, make sure that whatever package you’re on can be upscaled or downscaled easily.

Finally, an important thing to note is your telephone: This is one no one really thinks about, but switching to the NBN also means you will have to switch your phone line over if you want to keep a land line home phone.

Make sure you pick the right plan for phone use as some will be unlimited calls, others will be pay as you go. We are on a pay as you go with Optus as we rarely use our phone line but being in the country it is ESSENTIAL that you have one. It’s just what you do!

Now you’ve chosen all that…there’s the Install

The NBN needs to have a new wall mounted connection box installed. Make sure you think about where you want it to go. Ours also had an outdoor antenna as we have the fixed wireless situation but think about where you want your NBN connection box to go and book in a time with your provider. We got a time slot about 2 weeks after we had booked it in, and then we received the NBN kit from the provider. There are options for a self-install which was actually pretty easy and then the option for the technician who comes and installs it. The process was all very straight forward for us and we had the NBN connected within a few hours.

So how has it been?

Well we cannot fault it since we made the switch. We are paying less money than we used to, plus the connection and speed has improved greatly and is much more reliable. We pay a small amount per month for the landline, and for both of us working at home (Rob in particular with those upload speeds), the NBN has been a game changer.

But of course every experience is different. By using iSelect, you can really be helped navigating your way through all the complexities: speed, needs, plans, and providers. Check them out and their extensive resources to help choose the best NBN plans.

I’d love to hear from you guys about YOUR experiences…

Have you made the switch?
How did you wade through all the choices? Did you use iSelect for the process?
Has making the switch made a difference to your home/work life?


  1. Good luck. We have been on NBN to the home since Feb 16 and honestly it was the WORST thing ever! Granted we are in W’Gong so not country regional as you guys. We were with one of the Big two and it was beyond appalling.

    We have changed providers now but had to go to the TIO to get out of the contract. I hope that you have better luck than we have had. I have researched it to within an inch of its life. So far our second provider is working a bit better.


    • Sorry you have had such a bad time with it Cath – you are not alone that’s for sure. So far it’s been really great for us – it’s been about 6 months too so fingers crossed it stays that way!

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