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What happens to your nbn™ broadband during a power blackout?

Category: NBN Co, Online Safety/  Posted On 19/06/2018

Winter is really setting in with heavy snow and windy conditions hitting much of the SE Australia over the weekend. It even feels cold in Brisbane!

While adverse weather like this typically causes more problems on the roads, power outages can occur during cold snaps which can also take your broadband offline.

This got us thinking. How can you stay connected during a power outage and which nbn™ broadband and phone services, if any, will still work?

Isolated Vs Widespread Blackouts

Before we get into technology-specific advice, if the outage is local to your premises, finding an alternative means of power will get you back online.

However, if the whole network is down, including nbn’s™ infrastructure, even with a new backup local power supply, you won’t be able to reconnect.

It’s, therefore, really important to ensure you always have a backup form of communication to hand. Consider having access to a charged mobile phone which isn’t reliant on local infrastructure, even if you live in metro areas.

Guidance for isolated power outages, specific to your property

Fibre to the Premises

As part of the FTTP installation process, an optional Battery Backup Unit can be installed, which are well worth having as they’ll keep you online during a blackout.

Battery Backup Units are included for free as part of the installation.

Battery backups can last for up to five hours on a full charge, 3.5 hours normally with an 1.5 hours if you press the ‘battery emergency’ button.

While you’ll have access to the internet via the Battery Backup, your computer won’t have power. You’ll, therefore, need an independent power supply for your computer or laptop and connect your device directly to the NTD via an Ethernet cable because your WIFI router/modem will also be offline.

If you wish to make phone calls during an outage and have switched over to the Battery Backup Unit, as with your laptop, your phone will also require mains power. When purchasing a handset, consider one which can be powered by replaceable batteries.

Out of all the nbn technologies, FTTP is the most prepared for blackout enabling you to stay online after a few simple workarounds.

Fibre to the Node, Building and Curb, Hybrid Fibre Co-axial.

Unlike FTTP, the remaining fixed-line nbn™ services do not get installed with a battery backup, so if there is a power outage you won’t be able to access the Internet.

Always keep a charged mobile phone for backup.

Satellite and Wireless

Providing the outage is only local to your premises and does not affect nbn’s™ Fixed Wireless towers or Sky Muster™ ground stations, an alternative power supply can get you back online.

An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) are widely used as backup power device. They are essentially large, portable batteries that allow you to maintain a power supply to multiple devices in your house during a power outage.

Different models of UPS will last for a different amount of time, so it’s important to know how long your connection will last.

A quick Google search brings up plenty of options, just be sure to check for guarantees and compare battery life.

Other equipment and power outages

NBN™ advises that the following equipment can also be affected by power outages. If you rely on a device that’s listed here, you may need to confirm what effect a power outage would have on this equipment:

There’s more to safety during a power outage than just the Internet, but these tips should help you stay connected when the electricity is out.

Written by Brendan

Brendan joined the SkyMesh Support team in 2016. Brendan joined the marketing team in 2017 and now helps out with our knowledge base guides and social media channels.