AN ESTIMATED half a million Australians have had their internet and home phone service unexpectedly disconnected after failing to switch over to the NBN in time.
Homes and business have 18 months to migrate to the NBN once it becomes available in their area, after which they have their internet and home phone service severed.
NBN Co. notifies residents via direct mail informing them when the network is available and the likely date their current service will be shut off.
But despite the efforts of the NBN, and the likely barrage of direct marketing from retail service providers like TPG and Telstra flogging their NBN packages, many Australians have been caught out.
According to results from a survey carried out by consumer comparison website Finder.com.au which surveyed more than 2000 people, roughly half a million Australians have so far had their internet and phone service suddenly disconnected.
"I think people tune a lot of it out. They just find the whole prospect really confusing and just ignore it," Finder.com.au's technology expert Angus Kidman told news.com.au.
"The politicised nature of the NBN also complicates it," he said. "I sort of suspect that some people go 'oh I think the NBN is a bad idea, I don't want anything to do with it' not realising that's not an option unless you don't want any kind of connection at all."
However NBN Co. has wholeheartedly refuted the figure, saying if that was the case they would have been inundated with panicked calls.
An NBN spokerperson said their numbers indicate that of the 900,000 premises that have reached the end of the 18 month window, only five per cent have failed to migrate onto the network.
The company doesn't expect every house to switch over to the network and works on the assumption that roughly a quarter won't immediately sign up to the service.
"NBN works on the assumption of a take-up rate at the end of the roll-out of 73-75 per cent. This is because not every home will require it, some may be holiday homes, some consumers will choose mobile-only, and there will be other fibre network providers in some areas," a company spokeperson said.
If the NBN's expected take-up rate at the end of the 18 month migration window proved accurate, the number of those being left disconnected would still be less than half what the survey projected.
What you didn't know about the NBN
In December, only 44 per cent of premises in NBN-ready postcodes had made the switch to the new network.
Instead, a majority had continued to rely on older copper and cable-based phone and internet services even though the clock was ticking.
As the rollout continues to ramp up, NBN Co. is projecting that almost 50 per cent of the 11.9 million planned premises will be able to switch to the network by the middle of this year.
But for those not paying attention, there will likely be a greater number of people who unexpectedly have their internet and phone lines abruptly cut off as the 18 month window closes.
- To see when your home will get the NBN, you can use the company's address tracker tool.
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