Moving to the NBN for small businesses

Most businesses will need to move to the NBN if they want a landline phone or internet service.

Checklist for businesses moving to the NBN

  1. Keep informed: read information about when the NBN is coming to your area and check your business address on the NBN Co website.
  2. Prepare early: check with your phone service provider whether you need to move to the NBN. Find out your disconnection date.
  3. Contact your landlord or register your building: if you are leasing your business space, obtain your landlord’s consent for NBN Co equipment to be installed. If you are the owner, register your building with NBN Co.
  4. Consider your equipment: is your existing equipment compatible with the NBN?  What is the cost of making it compatible compared with buying a new system?
  5. Compare business offers: compare different providers and plans to find the best option to suit your needs.
  6. Ask the right questions: find out about fees (such as early termination fees, disconnection or connection fees), equipment, back-up batteries and any special services.
  7. Call for help: contact your phone service provider with any questions or concerns about the migration process.

NBN rollout

The NBN is Australia’s new network for landline and internet services.  The NBN will be progressively built over the next few years. NBN Co will contact you when your area is ready for service. You are also likely to hear from your current telecommunications service provider.

See: NBN Co information for business

Disconnection of existing services

Once NBN Co has announced that your area is ready for service you will have 18 months to move your service to the new NBN network.

You have 18 months to order NBN services before the disconnection date

The majority of existing landline and internet services will be disconnected. All services that are supplied over Telstra’s copper and cable broadband networks will be disconnected. This includes services that are supplied by Telstra directly, as well as services that other telecommunications service providers supply using Telstra’s copper network.

If you have ordered a service before the disconnection date your existing services will be available for up to six months while you wait for your NBN service.

Services that are supplied over other fixed line networks, as well as mobile, wireless and satellite networks, are not being disconnected as part of the NBN rollout. You will need to ask your retail service provider whether this is relevant to you, as it can be difficult to always know which network your preferred telecommunication service provider is using.

Moving to the NBN is not automatic

NBN Co will notify you when it is ready to connect your area to the NBN. Once notified you will have 18 months to move your services to the new network. If you decide to move to the NBN you should:

  • register your building with NBN Co if you are the owner of an apartment block, unit block, retail complex, commercial, industrial, government or high rise buildings
  • obtain your landlord’s consent for NBN Co equipment to be installed inside and outside the business premise if you are leasing your business premise
  • discuss the installation process and your business requirements with your preferred telecommunications service provider
  • order your services and book an installation with your preferred telecommunications service provider
  • contact suppliers of devices such as fax machines, fire alarms, lift phones, Eftpos/Credit card machines which may need to be tested on the NBN so they can be used during and after the migration to the NBN.

NBN equipment installation

The installation process and equipment will vary depending on your location and whether you are in a multi-storey complex.  Once NBN Co has notified you that your business premise is ready to be connected to the NBN call your telecommunications service provider to find out about the installation process and equipment.

Landlord consent

If you are not the owner of your business premise you will need to get permission from your landlord for the installation of NBN equipment at the property before you put in an order to be connected to the NBN via your preferred telecommunications service provider. You should also get the landlord’s consent with respect to the location of the NBN equipment inside the property.

If your landlord does not provide consent, explain to your landlord that:

  • your existing services are going to be disconnected, therefore to maintain the services you are currently using you will require a connection to the NBN before the disconnection date
  • a landline phone service can be critical in providing safety to tenants in emergency situations
  • a standard installation of NBN equipment is generally free of charge.

Registration of multi dwelling blocks

Owners of apartment blocks, unit blocks, retail complexes, commercial, industrial, government and high rise buildings are also required to register with NBN Co in order to streamline the installation process.

Ordering battery back-up

NBN Co provides an optional back-up battery free of charge to consumers getting fibre to the premise. The battery might let you make calls when there is a power outage. Before deciding whether or not to get a battery, you should check with your telecommunications service provider whether their NBN voice service will be supported by the battery. Some telecommunications service providers only offer phone services using VoIP. You should be aware that internet services (including VoIP services) are not supported by the battery. This means that there will be no internet services and no voice services using VoIP when there is a power outage.

Connecting your existing phone system

Moving your businesses’ phone systems over to the NBN can be a complex process and could involve a number of suppliers such as your preferred telecommunications service provider, the manufacturer of your phone system and the supplier of the phone system.

In some cases you may be able to plug a compatible existing phone handset or cordless base station directly into the NBN Connection Box's "UNI-V" phone port or a router provided by your telecommunications service provider. Your telecommunications service provider will advise you which port to plug your phone into. Ask your telecommunications service provider if their services are supported by the V port.

Other devices which can make phone calls, such as teletypewriter devices and alarm systems, should also continue to work. However, you will need to check with your service provider and telecommunications provider to confirm that your particular equipment will work. Some analogue alarm systems and analogue Private Automatic Branch Exchange (PABX) phone systems, for example, will need to be upgraded so that they are compatible with the NBN.

Equipment registration and testing

Devices such as fax machines, security alarms, medical alarms, lift phones and Eftpos/Credit card machines may not work on the NBN and will need to be tested by the provider of the service beforehand.

Service providers (such as banks, alarm providers, emergency service operators, fire and lift panel operators) should be in contact with respect to their services. Service providers are also responsible for testing their equipment on the NBN and ensuring that their services work on the NBN. However if they do not, you should:

  • make contact with the device supplier to ensure continuity of service during the move to the NBN
  • register medical alarms 
  • ask which NBN service will support the equipment in addition to any in-wiring changes.

NBN Co provides a list of services providers with published information on their websites with respect to the compatibility of their equipment with services over the NBN.

For lift phones and fire indicator panels, NBN Co recommends that a registered cabler assesses lift phone lines and fire indicator panel lines to ensure that current industry standards are met before ordering NBN services.

See also: Medical & security alarm compatibility


Can I keep my phone number?

Yes, in most cases you can keep your phone number although confirm this with your service provider.  If equipment is going to be installed ask if your service is going to be offline and how long it will be offline.

Will my equipment work on the NBN?

 Ask your telecommunications service provider and equipment manufacturer about:

  • whether their current telecommunications equipment will work over the NBN
  • the NBN services which will support your equipment
  • whether they require any additional in-wiring or phone sockets and
  • the cost of any equipment they need.

Will my internet routers and modems be compatible with the NBN service?

Depending on how your business is connected to the NBN, NBN Co may provide you with an NBN Network Termination Device at your business which has:

  • two voice (UNI-V) ports to connect two phone lines
  • four data (UNI-D) ports to connect data, VOIP phone and in-band video services

If NBN Co supplies you with an NBN Network Termination Device you may need a router if you need to connect multiple devices to the internet or if you require a wireless (Wi Fi) connection. Many of the routers currently in the market will work on the NBN. Check with your telecommunications service provider to confirm whether you can use your current router or whether you need to purchase a compatible one.

If NBN Co does not supply an NBN Network Termination Device you will require a modem to provide a connection to the internet and possibly a router. Many telecommunications service providers will provide a modem/router to you when they connect your service. Before getting a new router you should ask your telecommunications service provider whether:

  • your modem already provides a Wi Fi connection (and therefore the ability to connect multiple devices), and
  • whether your current router will work on the NBN
  • (if told it won’t work, be sure to confirm this with the router’s manufacturer).

Do I require additional cabling and phone sockets?

You may not require any additional cabling if you are ‘wireless’ and use cordless phones and Wi-Fi to connect devices, such as; computers, fax, EFTPOS and ATM terminals, smartphones and tablets.

However if your Wi-Fi does not cover the premises from end to end and there are areas where the connection is poor you may require additional cabling and phone sockets.

Discuss your current set up with your telecommunications service provider when you order your NBN services to determine whether you have any additional cabling or phone sockets. You may also need to contact a registered cabler to make the changes.

See: Questions to ask before moving to the NBN

Recognise, avoid and report NBN scams

More information

NBN Co information for business
National Broadband Network (NBN)