A contribution to climate change by the NBN?

Around 4 million homes will obtain their NBN sevice fia Hybrid Fibre Cable. (http://www.nbnco.com.au/blog/the-nbn-project/hfc-everything-you-need-to-know.html)

My home was recently connected to the NBN via HFC and I noticed the recently installed NBN Connection Box with the brand name ARRIS gets quite warm.
It is consuming around 8 watts - my measurement.

If 4 million of these boxes are permanently powered on, that equates around 32 MegaWatts continuous electricity consumption or around 280,000 MWH per year. This is in addition to the power consumed by the usually permanently on wireless router. (I hope my maths is right)

I suspect a more efficient Connection Box would have been a better choice for the enviroment and the hip pocket.

I guess some of this will be offset by the eventual closure of the equipment driving the copper landline network.


Interesting insight.

I wonder if the energy costs were included in the cost calculations for the FTTN version of the NBN?


That’s a completely insignificant amount of heat on a global scale, and I would think the electronics should be at least say 50% efficient, so only 4W is lost to heating the surroundings. Inefficient coal-fired electricity production means a lot more energy is released as heat in the generation of the electricity to power it, than is released by the device itself.

However, solar radiation intensity at the Earth’s surface is around 1200W/m^2 in the middle of the day in summer across much of Australia, so there is 32MW of radiation hitting an area of about 160metres square- a miniscule area in comparison with the whole of Australia.

Just to be safe though, perhaps you should install a PV panel on your roof to power it :wink:


Agreed Gordon. By the same token it would take 160,000 of 200W panels to generate the 32MW.

It is also about $18 power use for each household per year (or about 70kg/yr of coal burnt to supply this energy). Nationally this is a huge cost and potential source of GHGs.

Doesn’t sound much, but standby power is a hidden costs/energy use that mounts up quickly when one starts to add the standby of other appliances. Add PCs/TVs plugged in with the powerpoint switched on, electronic devices, clocks etc and it can easily add up to $100s per year.

Standby power is a considerable waste of the world’s resources, and in Australia causes a lot more coal to be burnt.

I wonder how many anticoal Australians still burn standby power at home by not turning appliances off at the powerpoint. This is a very easy way to reduce ones own emissions.

We use close to nil as everything is turned off during the day except rhe cordless phone, one clock radio, solar hot water pump and the fridge. It is a pain to tuen off properly after use, but after a few weeks it becomes a habit and with some modifications (such as powerboards with individual switches), easy to do.


Indeed standby use is a significant energy waster. My wife has a CD player that uses more power on standby than when running! 18W vs 11W, although we haven’t used it for years.

Having been off-grid since 1991, I’m well practiced in tracking down energy waste, and amongst various other measures, turn the NBN modem and wifi router off overnight, as they use over 40W between them- mostly due to the modem.


Thanks @home, I’ll pass on this info to our content and investigation team.


As a longtime “turn off at the power point” person, I would like to know if doing this to my NBN (fixed wireless) connection box and/or the router regularly (especially overnight), would have any deleterious effect on the equipment’s operation and ‘life’ ?

1 Like

Evantrish3, I have always turned off my ADSL router overnight so wanted to see what happend if I turned of the connection box and new router for three days while away from home.
The system restarted no problem although boot times are quite long. (gave me a “what have I done” moment)
The fixed phone is disabled when off including its answer machine but seems that messages then default to the 101 message service (My ISR is Telstra)
I have also turned off both the NBN box and router a number of times to reposition the units and cabling - again no problem restarting.

1 Like

I’d expect turning it off overnight would extend its lifetime, as there is basically zero deterioration in the electronics when it is not powered on, whereas the slight amount of heat generated when operating degrades electronics components, albeit very slowly.


Brendon thanks for passing this on.

1 Like

The more concerning thing about HFC NBN is that the first Arris Box I was ‘given’ lasted three weeks (and after a long drama primarily through iiNept not providing any form of service level to the customers) a NBN tech came out, replaced a silver box in the container on the outside wall and a new (different model) Arris box inside.

When asked why - the response was ‘there is a faulty batch, this must be one of them’.

Must have been true however, the NBN has been solid ever since and the worst you can say about the replacement box is that it is slightly warm after being on for weeks.