We always knew we’d have a problem getting the internet, and so it’s turned out. Cable is clearly not an option in the bush. The following describes the options that we’ve looked at, and highlights just how bad the NBN is for regional areas (and we’re within an hour of the outskirts of Melbourne, on the edge of a tourism area – the local towns all have cable).

A few potential NBN options:

NBN Fixed wireless – relatively cheap, all you can eat, OK speed, poor latency, low set up cost, (NBN new house fee $300 – why free for existing?) but this seems the best of bad options, so this is the first preference. The maps show that access finishes on a straight line along the back boundary fence, but deviates to service the neighbour who recently built close to the same line – just a blob deviation . We’re up hill, facing the tower direction, but no line of sight, about 400m from the boundary so should have better reception? So maybe it’s been remapped just for their house? Maybe it could be done for us?

NBN Satellite – Expensive to Outrageously Expensive, high latency, severely limited evening data for streaming (100GB for $135 between 4pm – midnight), set up cost for new modem with mesh extender, (NBN new house fee $300) . Ok, so we could try it, and attempt to download stuff during the day to watch at night to keep costs down.

But our address doesn’t exist as far as the NBN is concerned. So no Telco can check fixed wifi or offer us a service yet. Apparently, when the house is complete, NBN will register the address which could take two weeks, and then it’s a month or two to get connected with satellite, since that’s the only thing that could be offered without a remap. Called some providers and we can sign up with them for NBN when the house is complete, and they can then initiate a fixed wireless remap. If it comes out OK, we can install that, otherwise they will install satellite. So we sign up, pay our connection fee, and then find satellite is the only option.

So at least two months NO internet. The NBN is such a great service! And then potentially an appalling, expensive one.

They’re supposed to be upgrading the fixed wireless, but they won’t say where. And we can’t register to be notified if and when it comes to us, because they don’t recognise our address. And no guarantee that they’ll bother to remap in our area because we don’t exist.

Catch 22? Makes it our last choice. Why does no one complain about this?

I wrote to NBN to explain the problem – got a short response after a couple of weeks saying that they were a wholesaler and not their problem, contact a reseller.

We did try contacting Regional Tech Hub who do free desk top surveys, but they just said no fixed wireless, although very informative email, so well worth contacting.

Starlink – Very Expensive ($139/month), all you can eat, fast, low latency – so much better on every level than equivalent NBN offering. Advertised at $199 set up, but would need mesh extenders and ethernet port link (their standard modem doesn’t have ethernet port) to plug in solar system, and you can’t get the prices unless you sign up, and there seems to be a shortage of the accessories. Can buy on reseller sites, but looking at close to $1000 extra. Could use third party modem and mesh extenders with an ethernet port to cut costs, but starts to have lots of devices in the chain, with potential compatibility issues.

So great service, but if money were no object, and Starlink was not owned by Elon Musk then we’d do this. We really, really, really don’t want to buy anything from Elon Musk.

So it’s the fallback, last resort. At least we know we can get decent broadband, quickly.

How about we just shutdown NBN satellite and subsidize starlink instead, or are the NBN satellite making money out of us? They don’t report their financial details. Whatever happened to universal quality access for all?

Mobile Broadband – Telstra vs Optus, relatively cheap monthly rate, installation $0 -$2,000, and what if it doesn’t work?


We tried Optus mobile in Wonthaggi to test it out ($69/month for 500 GB & Optus sport for $7 instead of $25, so net cost for us $51/month) and bought a mesh modem router. Flakey as all hell. Had to put the modem outside and every few days the service was out or so slow as to be unusable – problems with the local towers apparently. So bad, that we forked out the NBN new house fee for our rental to get connected to cable.

Our mobiles are on an Optus reseller, and coverage if patchy up at the house. Sometimes very good, sometimes nothing – move 2m and it’s back. We could buy antennas for our modem and a CEL FI go (boosts a low signal to be a good one, acts a bit like a mini tower) but that takes it up towards $2000 install and if its flakey, it’s money down the toilet. We thought about paying someone to do an assessment, but figured we could probably work it out for ourselves.

Looked at mobile towers in the area, and when checking our connection on the iphone, we were frequently switching between different towers, even standing still. We went on a tour, and stopped near them all, and none of them had fast signals even when we were very close and line of sight. So even with boosters and a stable signal, this doesn’t look like a good option.


$80/month for 400GB for mobile data with similar distances from us as the Optus towers. Walked around with my sister’s phone quickly and seemed to have a similar patchy coverage as Optus. But for $25/month we could buy a smaller sim plan and test it out like we did for Optus. (This was much cheaper than getting an expert out to assess – cancel if it doesn’t work, use it if it does).

For whatever reason, the Telstra sim grabs a tower and stays there. At the shed end of the house, we got variable speed between 2 to 30 Mbps, at the other end of the house, from a different tower, we got a pretty stable 30Mbps.

So we stuck the Sim in our modem inside the shed (where we have power from the solar) and we have pretty stable 5 Mbps. Enough that we can monitor our solar system remotely and that our Eufy security cameras work. It’s not perfect – very occasionally if you try to live stream from the cameras there’s a very temporary problem connecting, but not very often. And we now have wifi around the shed that hasn’t given us a problem yet.

So when we get the TV antenna (and booster) installed, we’ll spend a couple of hundred dollars and get external antennas for the modem installed and hopefully pick up the 30 Mbps tower. Fingers crossed.

And then maybe, just maybe, we’ll try again to get the fixed wireless remapped.

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