March 27 - April 2, 2016: Issue 257

nbn™ Rollout Comes to Pittwater: Be Prepared for Medical Alarm Changes and Nodebox Placements on Median Strips


In late February we were contacted by a frustrated Palm Beach resident who had been notified of the placement of a nbn nodebox in the middle of their front lawn and had sought to have the plan modified so it would not impact on their home and the use of it. Although the resident stated they had sold a portion of their front lawn so a road could be widened they reasoned the placement of this box as shown could quite easily be moved to the side of the property, and even forward, so as not to impact as shown above.

Since then we have been contacted by other residents who express anger at not having been contacted at all through any form of notification and finding that they too are in a similar predicament. Others have found that even when making a complaint there is a disconnect between the nbn company in charge of rolling out these connections and those contracted to do the work as, while a complaint is 'pending' a contractor appears before their home ready to do the work and states they have received no notice from nbn that a case is open.

In one instance the mapping section of Telstra in Brisbane had been contacted who informed two side by side neighbours that as they had received no complaints the file had been closed and was unable to be reopened, that if they had objected the nodebox would have been able to be moved, and that it was just 'process' that the file could not be reopened. 

When the caller stated they wished to make a complaint about the 'process' another Telstra employee from their Complaints Department stated bluntly the nodebox would not be moved based on their reasons. Their reasons?: ' the size, location, an eyesore, health effects, vicinity to bedroom windows, children playing in this area and devaluing of our property.'

The resident was informed someone would call them regarding their health concerns - they're still waiting on that call. A request for the employees Manager's name and contact details, to escalate their complaint,  was refused. They then found out their complaint case had been inadvertently closed by nbn, an apology received for that, and it was reopened.

On Tuesday this week the contractors turned up to measure the ground to install the nodebox. Fortunately one of these side by side complainants was at home and saw the gentleman. He explained they had received no notice a complaint was open and, after contacting his boss, placed the installation on hold for a week pending a resolution. 

This week we contacted nbn about these complaints, who firmly maintain that those homes adjacent to these nodeboxes have been sent notification, and that these are sent three months prior to installation.

Also that: 'These nodes are installed as an exercise of telecommunications carrier powers under Schedule 3 of the Telecommunication Act 1997 (the Act).  Broadly speaking, this Act provides telecommunications carriers with the power to install certain types of equipment without the express consent of the owner or occupier of land as they are deemed to be ‘essential infrastructure.’

Marcela Balart, State Corporate Affairs Advisor NSW/ACT for nbn stated, “While nbn understands that some local residents are unhappy with the placement of the node cabinets, the Council, who is also the landowner has been notified, as per our legal requirements under the Act.”

The Telecommunications Act 1997:

'o  The Act requires nbn to provide notice of proposed telecommunications infrastructure to the legal owner/occupier of the land, in this case, the local Council. nbn notifies Council, as per our legal requirements, and provides it with an opportunity to dispute the intended location. As the landowner, they are the only party able to formally object.

o Councils are engaged well before the design phase prior to issuing formal notification of our intention to install infrastructure on their land.

As part of our commitment to community consultation, nbn proactively notifies local residents of proposed equipment locations via a letter and/or pamphlet drop approximately three months ahead of the build.

o These courtesy letters notify residents that nbn infrastructure will be placed near their property, on council land with a picture and fact sheet. Opportunity is provided for residents to comment with concerns revised in good faith where it can be achieved without compromising the safety of workers or the integrity and proper functioning of the network.

o In determining the most appropriate position for a node, nbn is required to consider some 30 criteria relating to safety, design, network requirements and serviceability. These include:

o   Proximity to existing telecommunications infrastructure including Telstra pillars and maintenance pits;

o   Property access and local government requirements;

o   Environmental conditions including the presence of trees or other vegetation; and

o   Safety considerations such as maintaining sight lines for drivers, away from streets with high speeds and traffic volume, and safety of our workers.

As part of the nbn rollout, more than 8,300 homes and businesses in the local community will be able to access the benefits of faster internet from October this year.'

So it seems that a discussion can take place.

For those who haven't received a pamphlet or letter with some photos of where a nodebox is proposed to be placed, or work and may not see an installer pop up out the front of their home due to being at work, and absent from home, should a nodebox be going to be placed somewhere possibly not appropriate, or for those whose notice may have gone astray, nbn do provide some contact details in the sample letter they kindly provided us with:

For more information call 1800 687 626 | visit  - email

If you would like more information or you believe there is a significant issue with the location of an nbn™ cabinet, please call nbn on 1800 687 626

Make sure you keep a record of conversations, the dates these occurred and Case numbers. 

A Reminder, as run in a previous article, you can Register with nbn and they'll let you know when you can switch to the nbn™ network.

Register Here

Unfortunately there is no page on the nbn website where you may sight or read where nodeboxes are proposed to be placed. There is only a 'rollout map' where you may enter your address and be informed 'Build commenced - Work has started in this area.' or 'The nbn™ network rollout has not started in your area. Keep checking the website for more information.', so it may be too late by then if your home is 'adjacent to' and your pamphlet or letter went astray. Hopefully the disconnect people have been experiencing will be resolved.

Clearly this is going to be great for Pittwater, and wonderful to know it should be completed by the end of the year in some areas of the community, but there will be a few shifts some of us may have to make.

nodebox example - from Cabinet Fact Sheet provided by nbn

The other aspect we'd like to bring an update on this Issue is factors that need considering over the next few months if you have a Medical Alarm. As one staff member does have a family member with one of these that requires 24/7 monitoring through a landline, and there were more than a few kinks and six weeks of stressful delays for them via their chosen provider when their changeover occurred, it would be great to 'Be Prepared' and look into what you may need to do to make a smooth transition.

As an nbn document indicates some people may need rewiring of home etc., and nbn are asking people to register with them if they do have a Medical Alarm, we provide their information and links to where you can do this as well as information on possible fees that may be charged by your server - we spoke to Telstra about their fees for rewiring should you require this.

Telstra: Thursday March 24th, 2016: 

Will we have to pay for an nbn in home equipment network?

“If there is already a previous telephone line, you don’t have to pay anything.”

If rewiring is required, as nbn states it will be for most Medical Alarms, what will the fee be? 

“If that (Medical Alarm through fixed landline), it will just be rewiring inside your house, it will be $125 fee.”

Why is rewiring required?

The position of the NBN box if on a fixed location has an exact wire to connect only to your modem. If it is required to connect to different devices, it will need additional wires and a technician visit will be required to do so.

Will there be extra fees for extra devices?

It is already included in the $125 fee, no matter how many devices you want to connect.

We have a package with Telstra - landline, Internet, Foxtel and one mobile - will we have to rewire?

There will be no need for the rewiring since there are already existing devices at your house.

Medical Alarm Register - Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to register?

The Register is designed to help support medical alarm users during the move to the nbn™ network.

It will enable nbn to access information about the locations that have medical alarms placed on the Register.

Most medical alarms operate over the telephone network and make calls, when an alarm is triggered.

Any alarms using services that haven’t been moved to the nbn™ network and are still using the existing network when it is disconnected, will stop working.

Register your alarm:

How much will it cost?

Registering on the Medical Alarm Register is free of charge.

A standard installation of nbn™ equipment is also currently free of charge. Most medical alarm users will need to make some in-home wiring changes to use their alarm on the nbn™ network. Ask your medical alarm service provider if you will need in-home wiring changes to use your alarm on the nbn™ network. Wiring changes beyond the installation of the nbn™ connection box aren’t included in the free standard installation.

Ask your phone company or internet service provider if they offer an in-home wiring service and if there are any charges – some providers include this as part of their package for the move to the nbn™ network. 

NBN in home equipment network

Switching Over Prior to Switch Off

The other important point to bear in mind that with the switch to nbn those who need to retain a landline for services such as a Medical Alarm, monitored security alarm, fire alarms and EFTPOS will need to switch these over as soon as possible. nbn states everyone will receive many early notices regarding this:

"If you are in an area where the existing network will be switched off, we will notify you by direct mail that the new network is ready and advise the date on which the old network will be switched off. Therefore, to keep using a fixed line home phone and internet you will need to move those services to the  nbn™ network."

Moving to the nbn™ network is not automatic and the following services will be permanently disconnected if you do not arrange to move them to the nbn™ network before the advised date.

• Telstra Home/landline phone services (except some Telstra Velocity lines)

• Home/Landlines phone services from all other phone companies, where the service is provided over Telstra's copper phone lines

• All ADSL, ADSL2 and ADSL2+ internet services from all providers

• Telstra BigPond cable internet services

• Optus cable internet and cable phone services (switch off date yet to be determined)

The switch off only affects the above services. If your phone or internet is already provided over another fibre network, such as a network provided by your building owner, private enterprise network, health or education network, or a cable network that's not owned by Telstra or Optus (such as TransACT – excluding ACT customers being migrated to the nbn™ network, OptiComm, Pivit or others), they should continue operating unless your provider advises otherwise.

Right: nbn installation device

We suggest you prepare before calling your preferred provider so you can discuss all your requirements before ordering your services and booking an installation. Your service provider will be able to advise you, discuss the options and the range of competitive nbn™ plans that they have to offer. After notification that you can switch to the  nbn™ network, you will have 18 months to move your services to the new network before the existing network is switched off. The will send you reminders, but highly recommend switching well before your disconnection date as it may take time to process your order.

Services that will not be switched off

If you subscribe to Foxtel Pay TV and it’s provided over satellite or Telstra Cable, it will not be switched off as part of the  nbn™ rollout. If you access any Foxtel services via the internet (for example, through an Xbox 360/PC/tablet/smartphone/smart TV), you will need an internet connection in line with Foxtel’s minimum requirements.

The only other exceptions to the switch-off are a set of specialised services mainly used by businesses such as as ISDN lines (which are commonly used for PABXs and some EFTPOS terminals), or phone or internet services that are already provided over fibre, or through a network provided by a building owner, or a cable internet network that's not owned by Telstra or Optus (such as Pivit or OptiComm).

As Marcela Balart stated this week,  “The fibre to the node technology being deployed in the area means that more than 8,300 homes and businesses will have access to superfast broadband far quicker, more cost effectively and with far less disruption to their homes and gardens.

“This is great news for local residents and businesses as access to fast broadband is designed to provide a range of benefits for homes and businesses such as improved opportunities to work from home, better access to online education tools and more options for on-demand entertainment.”

We live in fast and exciting times - let's hope we can retain better communication in resolving the rollout of the nbn network so 


nbn has reviewed its rollout information to align with the policy of the current government. This is an ongoing process and further information will be provided when available. Maps are updated weekly. Rollout areas and boundaries are subject to change as construction planning is finalised.