CHOICE membership

New NBN connection charge a rip off


#1

We have just sold our house in Sydney and are moving to Tamworth in early August. On visits up to purchase the property, talk with our builders and find a house to rent whilst ours is built I was happily surprised to find both our property and the rental house (newly built on same estate) had NBN boxes ready to connect up.
Happiness soon changed though when talking with Optus about moving our account from Sydney to Tamworth, when they told me there was a $300 government NBN charge I had to pay as the first person to connect at the new address. I asked if that meant when we move out the next person doesn’t have to pay the $300 and they confirmed that was correct.
I then asked if I had to pay the $300 to connect our house up when building is completed and they confirmed once again we did, as we will be the first people connecting from that address as well. That means of course that in the space of 6 months (expected build time in Tamworth) we will be up for $600 in first connection charges, installation charges for both properties (not covered by government connection charge), as well as the cost of the plan we connect to, which was going to be the $120 plan after bundle discount.
All costs coming to $1320 for 6 months NBN connection, plus whatever Optus want to whack us for a technician to come and actually connect the service to both properties! The two major problems we have with this whole scam is that once one person pays for an address to be connected no-one after that gets whacked with the $300, ever! Second major problem is that because NBN is there and it’s a new development, no other cabling of any sort will be rolled out…no phone lines, no Foxtel or Optus cabling…no copper wire for ADSL even. Basically if we want internet besides using our mobile phones as hotspots (with the outrageous charges for data that will entail), we basically have no choice whatsoever except to pay the $600.
One of the main reasons that we bought in the area of Tamworth that we did, was the fact that NBN had been rolled out to it, and of course at that time there was no new connection penalty as it only started (very quietly) this July!


#2

Hi @obbigttam - thanks for letting us know about this one! Have you been able to see if NBN Satellite has any better options? There was a thread talking about some of the regional NSW providers here.

CHOICE has a great article on the FAQs about the NBN which may be useful for others about to connect: https://www.choice.com.au/electronics-and-technology/internet/connecting-to-the-internet/articles/nbn-rollout-q-and-a


#3

Hi @rachelbee - I had looked into the wireless option but in my research found that it was too slow for what we wanted, as well as being fairly unreliable. All ended well though as I finally got through on the phone to Optus sales staff here in Oz, and after playing hardball for half an hour got transferred to the Optus relocation team (we’ve been customers of them for a few years). End result is the $300 connection fee is getting waived (they first tried to put it on me to get the rental landlord to foot the bill lol), as well as waiving the $80 relocation fee. All in all a good result for me and a smarter business decision for Optus and their shareholders :).
It can be amazing at times how flexible large corporations can be when they know a customer will walk away if they don’t play fair and listen to reason. I don’t blame Optus for the one-off fee though, that blame lies squarely with whichever public servant came up with the half-baked idea in the first place lol. Making one person foot the bill for every person that follows them is not exactly the fairest system I’ve ever encountered.


#4

From my understanding whether by satellite or cable the $300 stands either way. It’s a federal government charge/levy for every first NBN connection to a property and does not stipulate whether that connection is by cable or satellite. It was explained to me as a way of clawing back some of the rollout costs associated with connecting properties to the NBN.


#5

Like you we have just moved into a lifestyle village to a new house in Shepparton and are the first people in the house and have been hit with the same $300 charge. The village has been here for about 3 years.
While speaking to the managers, they advise that this charge has only been levied for about 3 - 4 months and on investigation was one of the changes to the NBN which were pushed through by Malcolm Turnbull when he was communications minister. It is causing a lot of complaints in this area, especially when the connections being done by Telstra always seem to have problems. At least ours was completed by NBN co.


#6

Telstra charges a similar fee to connect a new premises to a landline. Google it. Unless I am misunderstanding this fee, the only difference is who is collecting it, but you will pay someone for a new connection regardless of where you are or who the carrier is unless you can negotiate your way out of it (eg relocating long time customer). If the fee is new, as posted, and it is the only connection fee applicable, the case could be made that the early adopters got some freebies that have been taken away. If this is an incremental fee above a new premises connection fee it seems worthy of the strongest complaints possible.

Since most people move into homes with services already physically connected they don’t see that charge since they just need a change in “ownership” at a few $10s of dollars in most cases. eg, Only the first gets hit with the big charge.


#7

Yes this is an incremental fee that does not include the “normal” connection fee of having someone physically come out and connect the service, you have to pay that as well. This is a government imposed charge brought in to recoup some of the cost outlay of providing NBN services. It’s an NBN service charge basically, not a retailer connection charge. The legislation has given the retailers the option to pass on the $300 per property charge if they wish…and you can guess what their wish concerning that is lol.


#8

@obbigttam I’m about 30km SE of Tamworth and am on the waiting list for NBN satellite, as I’m too far out of town for fixed wireless. I’m going with ANT, who charge $105 for the nbn ready router in addition to the monthly charge, but there is no mention of any $300 up front cost, and I’ve checked the critical information summary for that.

From the CIS:
“Inclusion, exclusions and important conditions, limitations, restrictions or qualifications.
nbn subsidies the installation which includes : Satellite dish, Wall Outlet, Network Terminating Device (NTD) and Power Supply Unit; external cabling from the dish and internal cabling up to the Network Termination Device. This equipment remains the property of nbn and is serviced and maintained by nbn. nbn’s boundary of responsibility stops at the data (UNI-D) / voice (UNI-V) port. The removal/moving of the dish is strictly prohibited and can only be carried out by
arrangement with an nbn installer”

The service apparently has relatively high latency, so isn’t suitable for some live streaming, games etc, which I really hope doesn’t mean that ABC Online and SBS OnDemand wont work, as we rely on them due to very poor TV reception here. We are hoping for a much more reliable (as in not having continual dropouts) and faster service than what we currently suffer with Optus Wireless Broadband.

From the CIS:
“Certain games and other highly interactive software (e.g. share trading / live-streaming) which require low
network latency are known to perform poorly (or not work at all) on satellite broadband services and so
ANT deems the service as provided unsuitable for those purposes.”


#9

@Gordon Hi Gordon, nice if you’re not getting slugged the $300, especially since you have such limited options available. As far as accessing ABC iView & SBS On Demand you should be fine, as buffering should take care of those services…it might be a little aggravating but if you load the show you want to watch and give it a minute or two to get a head start (so basically watching on delay), you shouldn’t have a problem. Gaming and streaming movies though would be bad, as games upload & download a lot of info, and movies are streamed in HD mostly so lots of bandwidth too.


#10

ahh buffering- I don’t know where I’d be without it! With Optus wireless broadband, sometimes a 1 hour program on SBS Ondemand or iView can take 2+ hours to watch (if we persevere with it, but the frustration level is generally high and we give up trying to watch), thanks to buffering ;(
SBS seems much worse than iView


#11

The information from Nbn Co is at this link:
http://www.nbnco.com.au/develop-or-plan-with-the-nbn/new-developments/government-policy-for-new-developments/end-user-contributions.html

Unfortunately, the best hope is to try and negotiate with your chosen ISP to perhaps only pay one of the connection fees and see if it will absorb the other for the second connection at your new place.


#12

We did manage to negotiate it so credit to Optus there. I still can’t help thinking it’s a ridiculous strategy that sits alongside the majority of government decisions these days - short term gains without looking at the long game. If you want the maximum amount of people to connect to & use something, don’t charge them a huge connection fee on top of an install fee, especially if they know they are the only ones at the address who will ever pay it.

It’s like building the WestConnex here in Sydney but only charging the first type of each car (Subaru, Holden, Ford, sedan, ute, hatchback, etc.) a toll of $500 and then everyone after that travelling for free! No-one would want to be the first car on the road to be hit with the toll, so the majority would avoid it at first and use other options.

A better business strategy long term is to get everyone paying the normal connection fee like @pdtbaum mentioned above, and then you’ll have more people signed up with a telco and using/paying for the thing. I must admit to a part of me thinking that maybe the government in power doesn’t want that, as then there’s a chance of more people complaining that fibre to the node & copper from there wasn’t a great option after all lol.


#13

One point I forgot to add regarding the negotiation is to make sure you are dealing with a call centre in Australia, not one from overseas. You’ve got a much better chance of getting a good result if you are dealing with someone local who has the flexibility to talk to a supervisor/decision maker, rather than talking to someone who is only dealing off a script. Most tech support and account enquiries for companies are now offshore, so call the sales team who still seem to be mainly based here. If that doesn’t work visit one of their bricks & mortar stores instead, and be polite but firm (not easy to stay cool but it’s worth it lol).


#14

If my memory is any good (debatable) when we were connected to NBN Fixed wireless there were no costs. Plenty of other issues to do with stupid rules and incompetent Telstra staff.


#15

Wow. Telstra got NBN Co to connect our house for free, including the inside box, the outside box, and the fibre optic cable that went from the pit in the street, across the road then up our long driveway via 5 telephone poles. When the cable got severed in the pit a few weeks back, they replaced the entire cable, again for free.


#16

Ros,
I know this is an older topic - however the one off first connection fee is really an asset for the landlord. I’ve seen plenty of consumer advice which suggests that tenants should first nicely ask/try to put this cost back to the owner of the property. There are differing levels of advice for each state and differing regulations. It is made all the more difficult because both parties need to reach a private agreement as the legal connection agreement is made with the user of the service, not the property owner. A one off rent rebate is one easy solution.

It may become more relevant for any property without a completed connection when the commercial broadcasters surrender their licenses and switch from free to air broadcast TV to streaming over internet!