• Ways to reduce failures of FTTC equipment
  • Temporary solutions
  • What can users do during a storm?

Girl watching lightning outside the window

NBN, the company responsible for the nbn™, is looking into long-term solutions to reduce failures of the network in the event of lightning strikes. 

Since its Australia-wide rollout, lightning has represented a major challenge in connectivity and power surges. Light-prone areas such as the Blue Mountains are prone to losing their connection, and sometimes phone services, for days if they aren’t quick to switch off their Internet modems. Cases of modems blowing out and establishments suffering from loss of communication, which are essential to providing their services, have been reported several times in the past. Residents who also rely on the Internet for phone services are unable to communicate. 

NBN Looking Into Ways to Reduce Failures of FTTC Equipment 

In a statement, NBN said that they are looking for ways to permanently avoid lightning strikes taking out fibre to the curb (FTTC) equipment. 

“Over the last few months, through some significant storm events, we saw higher-than-expected fault numbers on our FTTC network in particular geographies,” NBN CEO Stephen Rue said in a statement. 

According to Rue, temporary solutions to address lighting strikes include delegating technicians in various lightning-prone areas prior to storm events and increasing inventory on hand to replace damaged equipment. 

With their retail service providers, they are also working on a self-restoration kit, which would remove the need to wait for a technician to restore their service. Affected residents will usually see a light on their modem flash red and hear a clicking noise. When that happens, they will have to call their internet provider, which then lodges the problem with NBN who, within days, will issue a new modem. 

The spokesperson added that they are continuously looking at options to strengthen their devices and these may involve replacing some equipment to minimise the impact of lightning on the network.

What can NBN subscribers do during a storm?

For the meantime, NBN advises customers to unplug all connections to the broadband network, including power, telephone cable, and Wi-Fi gateway during a storm. While nbn™ hardware is covered under their warranty, other devices like WiFi routers, handset, computers, and TV are unlikely to be, and a lightning strike can result in thousands of dollars in damages. 

In February, Australia ranked 57th in the world for broadband speeds and seventh for mobile speeds by the Speedtest Global Index. Besides connecting Australians to higher-speed broadband, NBN should also work to reduce the risks of lost connection in the event of lightning strikes.