During the rollout, NBNCo will be installing an NBN connection to every home in Australia, unless that home "opts out" of the service. Given the NBN will see the current copper network decommissioned, opting out probably isn't the smartest move.
The installation process involves NBNCo workers running fibre optic cable either underground or overhead on powerlines, depending on the current infrastructure. It will be free for all households during the initial rollout, but if you decide to opt out and then change your mind later, you'll be forced to pay for it.
When the NBN installer connects your home to the network, there will be a box installed on the outside of your house called a Premises Connection Device, which is where the fibre optic cable will connect to your home.
Inside your home, another box called a Network Termination Device (NTD) will be installed. This is like the box that will allow you to plug devices in to the NBN, from your television to your wireless router and your telephone.
There are four data ports on the NTD and two telephone ports for multiple phone UNI-V phone lines. The data connection ports on the NTD can be used to deliver IPTV as well.
The NTD requires a dedicated power source, which is also installed inside, and plugs into a standard 240V power point. It also includes batteries as a back up for the telephone in case of a blackout.
The power source cannot be connected to a powerboard, extension cable or double adaptor, so it's worth considering where the internal connection offerings will go in your home and having an extra power point installed if need be.
Phoning it in
The NTD features two dedicated ports for phone connections. It's important to note that they aren't just for two phones, but for two connections - you will be able to have multiple phone lines from different providers delivered in your home with the NBN.
Because phone calls will be made over optical fibre, which cannot carry power, the connected power supply unit will include batteries for making phone calls during blackouts.
The batteries provide between two to three hours of continuous power to the phone line to make calls.
It's important to note that data connections are automatically switched off when mains power is lost in order to extend the battery life for the phone connection. Also, when battery power reaches 50 per cent, it automatically switches off, requiring a manual switch on should you need to make a phone call.
The system will work with any regular home phone, although cordless handsets won't work during a blackout as the base station requires its own power connection.
Once everything has been installed and the service has been activated in your local area, your direct dealings with NBNCo are finished. To get online, you'll need to sign up to a plan with an ISP.
It's important to note that there is no need to pay for line rental like there is with ADSL plans. That said, companies like Telstra are charging more for data and offering discounts when you bundle your internet access with a phone plan.
There is no obligation to have a phone plan though, so those who are content with mobile phone coverage and broadband don't need to pay for something they won't use.