NBN Co prepares to switch off copper network

NBN Co prepares to switch off copper network

Summary: NBN Co will start the 18-month transition period to switch off the copper access network, in 15 of the 18 initial roll-out sites for the National Broadband Network, in November.


NBN Co's head of product management, Jim Hassell, announced this morning that NBN Co will begin the process of decommissioning Telstra's copper access network in 15 of the 18 National Broadband Network (NBN) roll-out sites from November 23.

Hassell told the CommsDay Summit in Melbourne today that the education campaign for residents in those locations will begin in November, before the switch off of the copper network in May 2014. Residents will be advised of the switch-off and made aware that they will be required to either migrate to the NBN's fibre services for broadband and voice, or just switch to mobile voice and broadband.

NBN Co and the government negotiated with the incumbent fixed line provider Telstra to decommission its legacy copper network in a deal worth AU$11 billion.

Approximately 25,000 premises will be the first to be disconnected from Telstra's legacy copper network in Armidale (four sites), Brunswick, Deloraine, George Town, Kiama, Kingston, South Morang, St Helens, Townsville, Triabunna, and Willunga.

The three first release sites in Tasmania (Midway Point, Smithton, and Scottsdale) will not be part of this initial switch-off period. NBN Co told ZDNet that this network is still technically separate from rest of the NBN network, and it will need to be connected to the point of interconnect in Launceston before it can decommission the copper network in those areas. In addition to that, NBN Co will need to finish upgrading all on-premise network equipment to the national standard before the switchover occurs.

A number of existing business lines will also be retained in the interim, NBN Co indicated.

The average take-up rate in those first release sites is currently 15 percent, however, NBN Co said that it is as high as 44 percent in some of those locations. As the copper network is switched off, the take-up rate is expected to greatly increase, however NBN Co said that it could not project what rates it is expecting to get in these first locations.

Across the board, and as of September, NBN Co has 24,000 active services across fibre, fixed-wireless, and satellite. Of the fibre customers, Hassell said that 44 percent were on 100 megabits per second (Mbps) down and 40 Mbps up service; 32 percent were on 25 Mbps down/5 Mbps up service ; 15 percent were on the basic 12 Mbps down/1Mbps up service; 7 percent were on the 50Mbps down/20 Mbps up service; and 2 percent were on a 25 Mbps down/10 Mbps up.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Great news but I wont be happy until it's all turned off. The rotted out copper has served us well but it's time is well and truly up... Those wanting it to be "heritage listed" for emotional and/or political reasons need to grow up.
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • NB is copper and fibre

      I signed-up for the NBN yesterday after having a long chat with friend who has done a fair bit research. I anticipate my NBN to to be installed very early Nov. Apparently, at the moment, voice services are over copper and data over fibre, with possibly only one ISP being the exception to use voice and data over fibre.
      • Telstra are the only ones that force you to keep a copper line with their NBN plans. No other ISP does this.
        Hubert Cumberdale
        • I did not realise that

          I was given that impression that just about all other ISP were working that way. Thankyou for the correction.
      • So...

        ... how does this new found education and signing up to the NBN fit in with your previous comments where you argued with me about the NBN's worth and called me troll etc?

        You see, the pro-NBNers (like me and your friend) have done a lot of research, mostly have no political bias (of course some are Labor thru and thru) and I simply tried in vain to also explain the positives to you...?

        Regardless I'm glad you can now see that the current NBN (run by NBNCo, not Labor) is indeed a winner.

        Good luck as from November.

        Please let us know if it's really good, because I know... you will certainly be telling us about any and all niggles, I'm sure.
        • I tried to make it clear then,

          and I will again, that at a selfish level I was in favour of the NBN but that I was ambivalent to the current form of NBN at a national level because of its extraordinary cost. I was also critical of Conroy and his statement, "$4.7bn and not a cent more" (I forget the exact amount but it was about that), which now has become closer to $50bn. I am also critical that this current government has failed with just about every policy, program and initiative it has tried to implement and so to have it responsible for a $50bn program is really quite disconcerting. I do not resile from those remarks and I do not see those beliefs as being inconsistent.

          Just because I have not had time to research the NBN to a deep operational level (about whether NBN Co installs the equipment or an ISP does) does not mean that I have not been doing quite a bit of reading on the NBN at a more strategic level. I am well aware of its strategic and structural potential. My concern remains about its high cost and the continuous failure of this government to effectively implement its policies etc.

          I have never said that the NBN is "no good" and I actually do not anticipate any real problems. I can hardly wait to experience 100Meg of pure Internet speed! I now need to find a way to blow-through 500Gig of data per month.

          We will always disagree on the nature of previous conversations. However, let's shake hands, put that in the past, and get on with things :-)
          • :)

            I already did
          • Capability

            Just for a couple of items, the problem is the toxic media does not reoprt the success stories as that is counter to their agenda

            Suggest check out Keys2Drive.com.au
            A free lesson (paid by Fed Govt ) which involves the supervising driver with an accredited instructor ( has completed an upskill course in their own time taxpayer funded @ $1,500 )
            The purpose is to prepare the student for life as a SOLO driver, the reality is that has not happened, we have taught them to drive, been back seat drivers taught them how to get their licence, then suddenly alone with no support learning how to be a solo driver making their own decisions the hard way - then wonder at the toll.
            The important components are the games which instill skills, the lesson which involves the parents usually as they are the ones that are with the learner most of the time. There is a section for the supervising driver to enroll with a wealth of resources to assist - yes it is common sense, but that is the rarest commodity.
            About saving lives, where has the media input been. Excellent Labor program - Hush keep it quiet.

            Then the Personal Property Security Register (ppsr.gov.au) . Replacing over 500 registers and databases nationwide of wildly varying design and format. Up and running since Feb, legislation through Federally and all States in 2009. Very successful.
            Covers agricultural eqpt, tradesmans eqpt, cars trucks, caravans, trailers, boats etc. Anything that can be financed covering ALL STATES and Territories in the one location. It is brilliant and very successful and a major project.
            Of course you have heard about it, designed for small/medium business and the public also benefit, or another of many that are hushed up in the media
            Abel Adamski
  • NBN is NOT 100% fibre!

    Another NBN = 100% fibre article.

    Umm... it's only being switched off in ***FIBRE*** areas. The copper will remain fully functional for a minimum of 10 years for the million and a bit folks who live in NBN Wireless and Satellite areas.
    • Spot On

      The original article was in the Australian and News Ltd. FUD masters inc.

      That is fact as I have pointed out to so many FUD masters on the internet, FTTH is REPLACING Copper only
      Abel Adamski