What is the nbn?


Close lesson
You have completed 0%

What is the nbn™?

The nbn logo

What's coming up?

In this activity, we look at what the nbn™ is and what it means for your home phone and internet connection.

Start activity

What does 'nbn' stand for?

You may have heard the term the nbn used in reference to both a company (the National Broadband Network Corporation – or NBN Co) and an internet network (the national broadband network – or nbn™ network).

This can be a bit confusing, so let's take a quick look at both.

A rectangular, concrete manhole cover for an nbn cable pit with the letters 'NBN' embossed.
A diagram of nbn infastructure being built.


This is the name of the Australian government-owned corporation that has been tasked with building, replacing or enhancing a network of cables, wires and satellite services that make up the nbn™ network. You may have seen nbn technicians working in your local neighbourhood in recent months.

NBN Co doesn't sell internet plans directly to the public. Plans can be purchased through regular internet and telecoms companies (we look at that in our next activity), but they do have a lot of helpful information on their website, https://www.nbnco.com.au to get you started.

nbn™ network

This is the official name of the network that is being finalised to deliver fast and reliable internet and phone services throughout most of Australia.

It is this network that we will focus on in this activity, and we will refer to it as the nbn, just for simplicity.

A diagram of cables connecting homes and businesses.
An illustration showing all the devices that will be able to connect to the NBN

Why was the nbn introduced?

As a nation, we are doing more and more on the internet these days, from watching videos, browsing the internet, playing games, learning, shopping, communicating and conducting business.

The nbn is upgrading the existing phone and internet infrastructure in order to meet this increasing demand, and provide reliable, fast connectivity for households and businesses across Australia.

How does this affect you?

The nbn replaces most existing internet and home phone services Australia-wide, and the old services will eventually be turned off.

Therefore, most Australians need to take action and change to an nbn phone and/or internet plan when the nbn is available in your area, and before the old services are disconnected.

While this sounds a little daunting, it can be a good opportunity to shop around for a good deal, so let's look at how to start this process.

An illustration showing all that old services will eventually be cut off once the nbn has been made available.
The 'Check your address' box at the top of the nbnco's web landing page.

How to tell if the nbn is available

To check if the nbn is in your area, visit the nbn's official website: https://nbnco.com.au, and type in your address in the box near the top of the page.

Once you've typed in your address, click Check residential for a home, or Check business for other types of premises.

The website will confirm if the nbn is available in your area yet, or if it isn't, when it will become available.

If the nbn is available

The website will also show information on:

  • When the existing phone and internet services will be disconnected, plus any other relevant information.
  • A link to nbn plan providers in your area that you can view to shop around for a new plan.
  • Technical information about the way your home will be connected to the nbn.
The 'nbn is ready in your street' page on the nbn's website.
The nbn website will give you an indication on when services will be available in your area if not already available.

If the nbn is not available

You don't need to worry if the nbn hasn't reached your area yet. Your existing services will be kept as is until it does become available.

The nbn website will provide an estimated date when it will become available, and you should then receive a postcard or letter in the mail to let you know when it has arrived.

You can always pop in a calendar reminder to check back on the website nearer the date for peace of mind if you prefer.

You can still do the same things on the internet with the nbn as before.

Is the nbn different to existing internet plans?

Mostly no. You will still be able to do all of the things you currently do on the internet, like browsing, watching videos, checking emails etc, but there may be some changes to your home phone service, which we look at in the next activity, Preparing for a new nbn plan.

When you purchase a new nbn plan, your plan provider will let you know whether you will need a technician, or if you can set up the new equipment yourself.

Well done!

This is the end of the What is the nbn? activity. You've learned that the nbn is an upgrade to the existing home phone and internet service for most of Australia, and how to check if it is available in your area yet.

The next activity in this course is Preparing for a new nbn plan where you'll learn some key things to consider when researching for a new nbn plan.

A new nbn connection being supplied to a local street, ready to connect the community