Quick answer: So you’ve placed your order with Australia Broadband and you are awaiting your turn to get connected to the superfast nbn™ network on Fibre to the Premise (FTTP). Below are a few things to consider before your FTTP installation appointment date with the NBN Co technician.
What are the utility box and connection box?
For people receiving an FTTP connection, there are two boxes that will need to be installed: the utility box (also known as PCD) and the connection box. The utility box is installed on the outside of the premises, and the connection box is installed inside the premises.
Some people will get to choose where these boxes are installed, some will have equipment already installed: this is known as your “service class”. People in Service Class 1 get to choose the location of both the utility box and connection box. People in Service Class 2 get to choose the location of the connection box, but not the utility box. And for people in Service Class 3, both boxes are already installed.
Where should the NBN utility box get installed?
The utility box must be installed on the same building as your electrical main meter box or distribution board. It needs to be at least 410mm off the ground, as well as 250mm from water taps and downpipes as well as electricity, gas and water meter enclosures. Allow 1.5m side clearance from gas cylinders.
It’s important the nbn™ utility box is placed in a location where it will be easy to access: not too high off the ground and somewhere free of obstructions or safety hazards. It’s worth considering any future renovation plans to avoid placing the box on a wall you may want to knock down later.
Where should the connection box get installed?
Just like the utility box, there are some restrictions on where the connection box can be installed. When deciding the location, ensure the lights will be easy to see and audible alarms will be easily heard.
It is wise to avoid installing the connection box in any of the following locations:
- Damp, humid or wet areas such as your kitchen, bathroom or laundry
- Below the Flood Hazard Level in premises in designated Flood Hazard Areas
- Where the ambient temperature routinely drops below 10°C, such as in an uninsulated garage
- Where the ambient temperature routinely exceeds 40°C, such as in a ceiling, wall, or floor cavity (this also includes a masonry wall facing north or west)
- Confined areas with restricted air circulation such as in a closed cupboard, wall cavity or an area restricted by curtains or furniture
- Areas subject to high dust or potential damage such as in a workshop
- Areas of high activity/traffic in your house where it may be bumped or knocked
Some of the recommended locations for installation include:
- Within 1.5 metres of an electrical outlet
- An office or study where you want the connection to be strongest
- A cool, dry, ventilated area
- Somewhere with easy accessibility and visibility
- Somewhere that will not be affected by future renovation plans.
What does the installation process involve?
The installer will drill a small hole in the wall to run a cable from the utility box to the connection box. Someone needs to be home for this step.
The standard FTTP nbn™ installation involves installing the utility and connection boxes as close as is practical to the existing telecommunications equipment inside and outside your home. If your existing phone connection runs from the street via an underground conduit, then the NBN Co installer will use the same conduit. If the existing lead-in conduit is unusable for any reason then nbn™ will look into other options to connect the fibre from the street to your premises. They’ll do their best to find a solution without cost to you, but if civil works are required it remains the responsibility of the homeowner.
Under a standard FTTP installation, the nbn™ connection box will typically go inside your home near an existing telephone jack and within reach of a power point. The connection box must plug straight into the wall socket, not into a power board or double adaptor. As such, we recommend installing a double power point near the connection box so the second socket can power your home networking gear.
What isn’t included in standard NBN installation?
Keep in mind that the standard FTTP installation does not include additional home network wiring. You need to plug your existing telephones and networking gear into the connection box, just as your modem and telephones were previously plugged into a wall socket. If you want to run Ethernet cables from the connection box throughout your home you’ll need to pay for this yourself.
Typically the inside connection box is installed on the same wall as the outside utility box, which could be in the house or the garage.
Not many people realise that if you’re not happy with where the installer wants to place the inside box you can ask for it to be placed elsewhere, as long as it’s still on an external wall and it doesn’t require more than 40 metres of cabling. This could involve some negotiating with the installer.
If your requirements aren’t as straight-forward you can opt for a non-standard NBN installation, although you’ll likely be charged a fee for the extra work.