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The Government's Reboot Of The NBN Explained With "Bring It On" Gifs

This is not a democracy.

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The first thing that greets you when you visit the website of the government-owned company that's building the NBN is its slogan: Bring it on.

It cost them $700,000 to drop the word "co" from the name "NBN Co" and come up with the slogan, which adequately explains the frustration of many people who are waiting for the NBN.

On Monday, NBN released its corporate plan, revealing that the project's construction costs had blown out to $56 billion, $15 billion more than it estimated a year ago.

But much like the Bring It On reboot, the coalition's NBN reboot was made quickly, cheaply... and with a noticeable drop in quality.

Universal Pictures

The original plan for the National Broadband Network was to give every household in Australia access to super fast internet by replacing the existing copper network with fibre-optic cables running right up to your house. (Called Fibre to the Premises, or FTTP)

But the coalition said Labor's plan was going to take way too long and cost way too much. So, then-opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull proposed a "mixed-technology model" which he promised would cost less and be deliverd more quickly than FTTP.

The government says most of us won't need those super fast internet speeds.

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Which is like saying we don't need the on-screen chemistry of Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku's brother in the original movie, and that we should be happy to settle for the lukewarm romance between other blonde lady and star jumping man. (Disclaimer: I haven't seen the second movie).

The government has promised minimum speeds of 25Mbps for all of Australia. To put that in perspective, the USA has just deemed 25Mbps as the bare minimum classification for broadband.

This reboot of the NBN uses a mix of old and new technologies to get the internet to everyone. It's called the multi-technology mix.


So depending on where you are you'll get one of the following options.

- Fibre to the premises (FTTP)
- Fibre to the node (FTTN)
- Fibre to the building (FTTB)
- Hybrid fibre/coaxial cable (HFC)
- Fixed wireless and satellite internet


Fibre to the premises (FTTP) is the original NBN plan, where fibre optic cables go all the way up to your house.

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But in the corporate plan released released on Monday, it was revealed up to 550,000 less Australian households would be getting fibre to the premises than previously planned. Delimiter reports that this equates to only 20% of households getting FTTP, as opposed to 93% promised by Labor with the original NBN.

Then the coalition came along and presented us with fibre to the node (FTTN), which they admit is pretty much like the cheer the Toros copied from the Clovers. Similar, but not as good.

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This is the compromise option, where the fancy new fibre optic cables will go to boxes on your street, and then they rely on existing copper phone lines to get the internet to your house. It will roll out later this year and it looks like this:

The big argument against FTTN is that the old copper wiring will have to be maintained and eventually replaced, when we could just get rid of it now. In a worrying sign, NBN's corporate plan revealed that they haven't tested the quality of the copper wires yet.

"The quality of this network is not fully known as there has been limited opportunity to evaluate the physical infrastructure at significant scale," the report reads.


Then there's fibre to the building (FTTB), which is mostly for new apartments and high rises.

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NBN started rolling this option out in March, and it involves installing new NBN equipment in the communications room of each building.Then it just uses the wiring that's already in your apartment block.

FTTB speeds seem pretty impressive, with the company reporting an average of 89Mbps downloads and 36Mbps uploads.

Hybrid fibre/coaxial cable (HFC) will be available for people who already have Foxtel cables.

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This involves using pay TV cables already installed by Optus and Telstra and there are plans to start testing this soon. NBN estimates four million households will get this option. They're promising download speeds of up to 10Gbps and up to 1Gbps upstreaming, but won't be available until 2017.

But they have to do a bit of work on filling in gaps in the network, and NBN told a Senate committee in April that they don't know how much it will cost yet.

And if you're in rural or regional Australia, you could be getting NBN via satellite or fixed wireless, which uses radio signals.

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This option doesn't use cables to get the internet to you, and won't be as fast as what they'll get in the cities. The first satellites will be launched next year and it's expected that fixed wireless will reach maximum speeds of 25/5Mbps, while it will be more like 50Mbps for fixed line connections.

The government says it's not going to put in any more money than the $29.5 billion they've already invested.

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Which means the rest of it will have to be privately funded.

When you do get the NBN, you won't have to pay to get connected, but you will have to choose a new plan with your internet service provider, and that could mean paying more to get the top speeds. Your actual speed will depend on who you're with.

So when will you be able to wave goodbye to slow internet?

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If you check on the website, you can put in your address but all it does is tell you if you have it or not. There's no timeframe but the goal is for everyone to have it by 2020. So until then, we'll all just have to sit back and patiently wait for those Bring It On gifs to load.

Alexandra Lee is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Alex Lee at

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