Removing old and unneeded internet and TV cabling

I want to remove all the old internet and cable TV cabling that is in and on our house.
We have accumulated cables, wall sockets, inlets and outlets since our first internet connection in 1994.
Now I want to have all the old cabling removed from the ceiling space, under the floor, on the outside walls and threaded through the internal walls.
And I want to replace the old cables with the minimum of new cables, safely and attractively installed.
I don’t have the knowledge to do this myself.
What sort of contractor does this work?
Any tips from homeowners who have been through the same experience?


Sparkies and antenna people would be the main ones; they need to have a cabling license.


There are some IT or specialist cabling contractors as well which have a cabling licence. If you currently have an IT person you use, ask if they can do it for you or if they can recommend a good local contractor.

This website provides some information about installing ethernet cabling in house. It may be useful to read and have a think about before engaging a contractor to do the work:

The other consideration is the cable category:

Cat 5e, Cat6 and Cat6a are generally those used in domestic applications. Generally Cat5e or Cat 6 is all you will need and it likely to give a long service life. If you run a local home network, a high data use business from home, then possibly Cat6a would be a consideration. Ask for difference in pricing for the cable categories, and if they are the same price, go for Cat6a. If there is a significant difference between Cat5e, Cat 6 and Cat6a pricing, you need to weight up if the additional cost is worth it.

The other thing is look at how many LAN ports your NBN router has.

This might determine the maximum number of LAN access points in the house. If you need more, you will need to buy an additional/new router.


I solved this problem with a cheap (less than $30) unmanaged switch, which may fit under the heading of routers. It worked out of the box with no configuration - you just plug stuff in and turn on the power. It has not missed a beat since turning it on. It is rare to have a good OOBE.


or add a switch to have more ports. They usually start with 4 (1 uplink to the router, 4 downlink to devices or more switches) and go up smartly to higher port counts.


Some have power management to idle inactive ports and some do not.


You might review which of your devices would work fine on WiFi and which you want on wired ethernet. Wifi networks are more hands-on than a wired network but they can significantly reduce the wiring. If unfamiliar with all the options this is a decent intro

My house has the router/WiFi in an office at the rear of the house, and chose to run a wire to the front of the house connecting to a basic switch, that in turn connects to 5 devices and and another WiFi AP. This was done before mesh networks were getting traction. If I had to do it now I would seriously consider a mesh network unless you need the performance of a wire.


Rather than add or install new cables we have found a wireless range extender provides adequate service. Hence we only need the ISP/RSP supplied modem/router device attached to the internet/NBN. The wifi range extender (Netgear brand in our instance) selected has 4 ethernet ports as well as providing an extension to the area the wifi can service. We’ve also used basic WAP devices to connect devices that do not have wifi.

The range extender is located in our home office area next to the printer and desktop. In previous homes, some not ours, it’s been more than adequate. High speed backups would be the one exception.

The latest ‘mesh’ network devices as mentioned by @PhilT would be our go to for any future upgrades. They offer faster and easier access than the range extender we have been happy with for some time.


That’s what we intend to do, Mark. An extender looks good.
But, I want to remove about 250 metres of cabling that is no longer needed.
I could just rip it out myself, but I’m not cluey enough to distinguish what cable is no longer needed from the cable that is still required. I have asked a number of electricians but they aren’t interested in the assignment. They will happily install new stuff, but turn the other way when I suggest they tidy up the mess their predecessors have left behind over 27 years.


Try a computer network company catering to the home office clientele. Not a reference, just an example, geeks2u. You could also check the IT departments from a school or university that might have a capable, licensed, and interested individual.


I can’t see that a problem unless the cable runs up the lounge-room wall next to the bar. Is it really necessary that in the roof or under the floor is tidy?


When we rewired the older portion of our current home it had numerous runs of older antenna cable, ancient bare earth wires and steel piped rubberised cable. Some newer cabling dated from the 1970/80’s.

We had all the redundant materials removed. Some needs were obviously cosmetic. The balance a precaution against future confusion or inadvertent coupling. The current wiring rules require coms cables to be separately ducted or protected. It seems unlikely that an insulated 230 V electrical supply cable can connect to a sheathed coms cable, but that is how it is. Assuming it’s a similar risk, removing all older and redundant cables, likely installed to lesser standards would be best practice.

Admittedly the cost was not great at the time.


Thanks, syncretic. That’s how I feel. I should have done it years ago.


They can be subject to interference, especially the 2.4GHz banks. They are susceptible to interference from microwave ovens, garage door openers, baby monitors and a host of other devices…which can be a pain if you stream movies or need a semi permanent connection etc.

If your devices support a LAN connection and interference is likely, then possibly consider powerline adapters which use your electrical wiring as a LAN network. They are fast. They state that they can only be used on the same electrical circuit, but this is not totally correct as they can work over all circuits and it depends on how your switchboard is wired. If each circuit is isolated (meaning each circuit is electrically separate and not connected), then they will only work on the some circuit.

They are also very easy to set up and can be expanded if needed.


Ethernet cabling will carry data at a faster rate than WiFi. I have taken out all my Cat5 cables and changed to Cat6a. I use a managed 18 port switch to distribute data to my big data using devices such as 4k TV’s, Apple Air compliant amps, Digital recorders and other PC;s in the house. My Apple phones and iPads use WiFi. But all these devices are not going to perform unless your NBN rubbish internet feed is faster than 80Mbps. Removing old cables is a big job and rewiring can be a nightmare in finished house. Putting cables in the wall can run into problems if the installer cannot access the void between the inner and outer wall space. If you have a brick veneer construction, that makes it a little easier. A high set house with access to under the floor is also an advantage. But all this work is expensive. A budget for $2000+ is a reasonable place to start, and any additional plates, conduit, network switches and repeaters would add to the expense. And it is a good idea to stick to one brand for your routers, switches and repeaters. They will talk to each other without having to fight different protocols. Go for known brands such as Asus or Netgear as they will be supported for longer. I would start a conversation with any installer with, “I know this is a big job and will cost me money, but give me a quote and then I will know if I can afford it.” Make sure in the quote that a WORKING network is mentioned in writing.


Brilliant! Very useful - not just for me, I imagine.


The other issue if one hangs every device of the local WIFI network, overcrowding can occurs as they all compete with each other to connect to the same router. This can means low quality or buffering during streaming, latency during gaming, and frustratingly slow browsing speeds. In simple terms, the more devices you bring, the slower the network becomes for all devices.

Impacts on signal reliability can also be compounded if others in the area are on the same channel (more likely with the 2.4GHz band). Their network with all of their WiFi devices will also impact on your network.

When we lived in Brisbane, it wasn’t possible for us to have a clean 2.4GHz channel. There was at least overlaps and one other sharing the same channel (we had a number of units in proximity). We ended up using a combination of 2.4GHz (not all devices can operate on 5GHz), 5GHz and a LAN (to the TV and computer). This seemed to work okay. We initially tried using every device on the 2.4GHz channel, but this became frustrating.


We all have different needs and ways we use the internet.


  1. How fast is your internet service, or how fast is your plan?
  2. How many people in your home will be using the home network at the same time, and what will they be using it for?
  3. What devices and how many will be permanently connected to the home wifi network?

Most home networking needs are very modest.
The majority of NBN customers are on 50Mbps or slower connections. Well within the capacity of the most modest of wireless networks.

We’ve all different experiences. Ours include wired Gigabit ethernet cabling, dedicated wireless bridges operating at 100Mbps, powerline house hold adaptors, and various wifi networks on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. All can handle streaming TV and web surfing needs. For power computer users, digital media enthusiasts or gamers with special needs wired ethernet might be ideal. These days without a home office and 3 teenagers at home we happily exist as a small family on wifi with a range extender. There has been no need to spend up big on extra tech.


This may be true today, but will it be true in ten years? How long do you want your cabling to last if you expect to gain some benefit from cabling as opposed to wireless?

Of course, we also do not know what technology is coming in the next ten years so it is not always easy to plan these things. That said, if you feel that you are constrained by a wireless connection then put in the best/fastest cable you can.


We are running 1Gbps nbn™ currently. As soon as 10Gbps is readily available we are thinking seriously about the move to it.

More premises need to be on Fibre and once this happens I think many more would be on faster plans. From my perspective the greatest limitation currently is the larger majority being on inferior tech that doesn’t easily support more than 50Mbps eg FTTN, Fixed Wireless. Getting Cat 7 or Cat 6a cable should future proof fairly well (we went with Cat 7 in the new place which is certified for 10Gbps). Patch panel and case next to the Fibre modem with 5 runs to bedrooms and TV suits our needs others may have different but always plan for expected future needs now as alterations after can be expensive and harder than it needs to be.


There are cable guys that do this sort of thing. When prepping for the NBN I had a guy run a single Ethernet cable from the point at which the NBN cable terminates directly to my study, (NBN does not run cable through your house). He didn’t remove old cabling, he simply disconnected it so it no longer served any purpose. These guys charge by the hour so if you want him to crawl everywhere neatening you’re cable rats nest, it will cost you. Electricians often advertise that they do cable as well.

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Per the latest ACCC report Aug 2021 on NBN services and customer speed plans (rounded to nearest 100k).

  • 7.0 million on 50Mbps or slower down load plans.
  • 800,000 on 100Mbps
  • 700,000 on faster than 100Mbps

There’s a further 300,000 still on ADSL. At least up until 2024. Telstra has given notice, with the end date tba.

The speeds reported reflect the plans individual customers are connected to. How many customers could reliably choose higher speed plans is not reported.