What is OptiComm Internet and How is it Different to the NBN?

What is OptiComm Internet and How is it Different to the NBN?

The National Broadband Network (NBN) dominates the internet in so many Australian households it’s pretty easy to forget that there are actually other alternatives out there.

This world of alternate NBN options opened up to me when I moved into a new apartment building that was built on the LBN network. This was the first time I was made aware that there was a broadband network that wasn’t the government provided NBN.

As it turns out, there are actually a few NBN alternatives and OptiComm is another one.

What is OptiComm?

OptiComm is a company that provides wholesale network infrastructure – ie. they help build the actual cables in buildings that connect you to the internet.

The company is privately owned and isn’t operated by the Australian government like the NBN is.

Similar to the LBN, OptiComm deals with Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections making it home to some of the fastest high-speed broadband around.

The company then onsells its network to Internet Service Providers that sell their tiered plans to the customer.

How does it compare to the NBN?

The main difference between OptiComm and the NBN is the provider. The NBN is a network built and maintained by the Australian government, meanwhile, OptiComm is an independently owned company.

OptiComm also specialises only in FTTP connections whereas the NBN offers a mixed bag of FTTC, FTTB, HFC, FTTN etc. depending on the premises.

These different types of NBN connections can determine the types of internet speeds you have access to, whereas OptiComm only offers FTTP which is typically the fastest connection available.

If you have fibre internet envy, rest assured that NBN Co is slowly yet finally rolling out fibre upgrades across Australia.

Who has access to OptiComm?

If you haven’t heard of OptiComm, you’re not alone and there’s a good reason for this.

OptiComm is only available in a small handful of communities and buildings. It’s more likely to be accessible in newly built residential areas or office buildings that have selected OptiComm during the construction phase.

According to Aussie Broadband, OptiComm has just over 120,000 premises across Australia, so it’s not nearly as big as the NBN.

If your home hasn’t been built on the OptiComm network you won’t be able to access it. Your realtor or landlord should advise you of which network your home is connected to when you move in or a quick google search will help you out.

How fast is it?

Like the NBN and LBN, OptiComm allows internet service providers to offer tiered speed plans. They range from 12 Mbps to ultra-fast 1000 Mbps speeds.

Given the network infrastructure is FTTP, you’re pretty likely to get consistently decent speeds.

On that note, is it expensive?

As with any internet plan, the faster the speed the more you’re going to pay for it.

FTTP plans are generally a little pricier and OptiComm is no different. That said they are pretty well matched with those of other fibre broadband plans like NBN, you just need to shop around.

Where can you get a plan?

OptiComm partners with a range of Internet Service Providers (ISP) to onsell its network.

There’s no guarantee that an NBN ISP will also provide OptiComm internet plans and providers differ depending on the state, so you’re going to have to do your research.

Some providers service multiple internet networks, like Aussie Broadband, iiNet or Exetel, but there are also a number of smaller providers that will set you up with OptiComm.

You can see a full list of providers here.

Moving into an OptiComm connected residence definitely isn’t a bad thing, you’re being given access to one of the highest speed internet connections available! It just means you’ll have to adjust your research to a new set of options.

If you’re not a fan of the NBN, LBN or Opticomm, there’s always mobile broadband to consider as well.

This post has been updated since it was first published.

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