Where to install your NBN boxes


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So you’ve been eagerly awaiting your turn to get connected to the superfast NBN network. You’re well prepared, and have done all the things that you can while you wait for it to arrive, including:

But have you considered where you’ll install your NBN utility box and connection box?

What are the utility box and connection box?

For people receiving a Fibre to the premises (FTTP) connection, there are two boxes that will need to be installed: the utility box (also known as PCD) and the connection box. The utility box is installed on the outside of the premises, and the connection box is installed inside the premises.

Some people will get to choose where these boxes are installed, some will have equipment already installed: this is known as your “service class”. People in Service Class 1 get to choose the location of both the utility box and connection box. People in Service Class 2 get to choose the location of the connection box, but not the utility box. And for people in Service Class 3, both boxes are already installed.

Where should the NBN utility box get installed?

The utility box must be installed on the same building as your electrical main meter box or distribution board. It needs to be at least 410mm off the ground, as well as 250mm from water taps and downpipes as well as electricity, gas and water meter enclosures. Allow 1.5m side clearance from gas cylinders.

It’s important the NBN utility box is placed in a location where it will be easy to access: not too high off the ground and somewhere free of obstructions or safety hazards. It’s worth considering any future renovation plans to avoid placing the box on a wall you may want to knock down later.

Where should the connection box get installed?

Just like the utility box, there are some restrictions on where the connection box can be installed. When deciding the location, ensure the lights will be easy to see and audible alarms will be easily heard.

It is wise to avoid installing the connection box in any of the following locations:

  • Damp, humid or wet areas such as your kitchen, bathroom or laundry
  • Below the Flood Hazard Level in premises in designated Flood Hazard Areas
  • Where the ambient temperature routinely drops below 10°C, such as in an uninsulated garage
  • Where the ambient temperature routinely exceeds 40°C, such as in a ceiling, wall, or floor cavity (this also includes a masonry wall facing north or west)
  • Confined areas with restricted air circulation such as in a closed cupboard, wall cavity or an area restricted by curtains or furniture
  • Areas subject to high dust or potential damage such as in a workshop
  • Areas of high activity/traffic in your house where it may be bumped or knocked

Some of the recommended locations for installation include:

  • Within 1.5 metres of an electrical outlet
  • An office or study where you want the connection to be strongest
  • A cool, dry, ventilated area
  • Somewhere with easy accessibility and visibility
  • Somewhere that will not be affected by future renovation plans.

What does the installation process involve?

The installer will drill a small hole in the wall to run a cable from the utility box to the connection box. Someone needs to be home for this step.

The standard NBN installation involves installing the utility and connection boxes as close as is practical to the existing telecommunications equipment inside and outside your home. If your existing phone connection runs from the street via an underground conduit, then the NBN installer will use the same conduit. If the existing lead-in conduit is unusable for any reason then NBNTM will look into other options to connect the fibre from the street to your premises. They’ll do their best to find a solution without cost to you, but if civil works are required it remains the responsibility of the homeowner.

Under a standard installation, the NBN connection box will typically go inside your home near an existing telephone jack and within reach of a power point. The connection box must plug straight into the wall socket, not into a power board or double adaptor. As such, we recommend installing a double power point near the connection box so the second socket can power your home networking gear.

What isn’t included in standard NBN installation?

Keep in mind that the standard installation does not include additional home network wiring. You need to plug your existing telephones and networking gear into the connection box, just as your modem and telephones were previously plugged into a wall socket. If you want to run Ethernet cables from the connection box throughout your home you’ll need to pay for this yourself.

Typically the inside connection box is installed on the same wall as the outside utility box, which could be in the house or the garage.

Not many people realise that if you’re not happy with where the installer wants to place the inside box you can ask for it to be placed elsewhere, as long as it’s still on an external wall and it doesn’t require more than 40 metres of cabling. This could involve some negotiating with the installer.

If your requirements aren’t as straight-forward you can opt for a non-standard NBN installation, although you’ll likely be charged a fee for the extra work.

To see where your exact location stands in the NBN rollout process, check out the NBN Coverage Checker. This will let you pinpoint exactly where sites have been built or are in stages of preparation or construction. Make sure to register your interest on the NBN Wait List and check out iinet’s NBN plans to be ready to roll when the NBN hits your neighbourhood.


  1. Sue Reid says:

    I have survived the awful rigmarole of installation BUT am not happy with the location of my connection box.
    I am also appalled at the poor quality of my landline now I no longer have a copper cable connection.
    I have given up trying to sort it out and am telling all m y friends of the Hideous six months last year and the poor quality of the phone I now use.
    They know this as half the time they say I am dropping out and I have to ring them on my mobile phone.This is unsatisfactory as I only have $200 monthly allowance. So much for included national calls. :-(

  2. Robert says:

    The maximum length of fibre from the pcd to the ntd is 30 meters not 40 and it can be installed on an internal wall also not just an external.I know the regs because I do the installation

  3. Robert says:

    It dosnt have to be next to a telephone socket just a power point and it is 1.5 meters if you are having a battery back and 3 meters if its a standard power supply

  4. Eileen says:

    How does OPTUS have NBN in Long Beach 2536 and you don’t?????

  5. Patrick Williams says:

    I missed Internodes wireless connection (owned by or owned as a sub). I was 20 ? meters (distance not height ) as the NBN installers (lazy buggers) received a signal but never raised the aerial to above my roof.. The design of my house has extreme roof height so it would have meant raising the ariel 5+ meters. If there was a signal behind my house then what would have happened if the guys even cared? My ADSL were faster than the provided speed then buffering would not happen.

  6. Darryl says:

    Bit of a moot point as those of us who will be waiting up to 4 years will be using the existing copper already installed. Will anyone now get FTTP without having to pay very large amounts for the privilege?

  7. Sam Chiodi says:

    I have major issues with the placement of our NBN equipment firstly it was mounted to an exterior wall in a laneway which has constant pedestrian traffic and has now been ripped off the brick wall leaving me with no service.
    It was also mounted directly under a box gutter head where it is continually being drenched with water from it.
    I require immediate assistance to rectify these issues.

  8. I am on iiNet NBN Wait List, please proceed with the next step if available

  9. Steve Compton says:

    If i can believe nbn i am going to get a sat. Dish what now?

  10. Trevor says:

    Why on an external wall,whats wrong in an internal wall .

  11. Peter Smith says:

    Shame you did not do the same for the internal house instillation. I connected 3 weeks ago and the rules and regs would have helped me a lot as was not allowed to put it where I wanted it

  12. Kevern Rowe says:

    Why is this newsletter talking about new FTTH connections when it is clear that the Federal Government is intent on new services being FTTN installations. Where in Australia will anyone be getting FTTH installations now or in the near future??

  13. Bruce Welch says:

    Your email states that “Fast Fact. Nearly one in four homes to be able to order an nbn™ service by June this year.”
    How do you get this “fact”. If you look at the rollout map of Sydney, there is only one highly populated area connected to the NBN (Strathfield-Auburn). All the other areas connected and the smattering of areas “Build Commenced” are in very lighly populated areas on the outskirts of Sydney.
    There is no indication when, if ever, the rest of Sydney will be connected. Nor is there any indication what type of connection you will get. Please inform me where I can find out this information.

  14. Allen Callaghan says:

    Much better but in relation to the internal box you need to stress that it should be a reasonable height from the floor for easy access and on its side so that there is ready access to the sockets and their names can be seen. Access is important because the connector cables prevent the nbn box being pulled up more than a few inches from its cradle. Most people won’t forsee the problem until the installer has gone. I would urge that iinet make this a requirement with nbn unless there is a good reason otherwise during installation. I have to say to you that your service, speed and reliability actually was better before the Conroy Catastrophie was foisted on us all. Regards Allen Callaghan PS I found my receipt from Powerup this week. I joined in 2000 and it cost me $400! The cost certainly has improved since….

  15. Alan Phillips says:

    A friend of mine with iinet had to change servers because iinet didn’t have enough ports ? At their local telephone exchange. Will there be sufficient ports at my local exchange? I would not like to shift my business from iinet having been a satisfied client for many years.

    • Amy Pearce says:

      Hi Alan,

      If you were to move house to an area where we have no ADSL ports, your application will be placed on a wait list for an iiNet port to become available.
      This could be days, weeks or months depending on movement at the exchange.

      This does not affect NBN in any way, as it’s a completely different technology, so you should be fine :)

      – Amy

  16. Suzette Darcey says:

    As an older customer i hope there will be some one to advise us and help as its sounds complicated

  17. colin says:

    Under the heading above entitled “WHERE SHOULD THE CONNECTION BOX GET INSTALLED” the second paragraph down states “It is wise to avoid installing the connection box cant in any of the following locations:”

    What is the purpose of including the word ‘cant’??

    Presumably it is a typo because it makes no sense.

    Do not these importnat advice notes get checked before publication????

  18. H de Vries says:

    when in Kensington Gdns,SA 5068

  19. Anonymous says:

    What about homes getting FTTN? Where do the boxes go?

  20. Ian says:

    .. all the above is as clear as mud.

    Seriously someone needs to put down in simple clear English what will happen, in what timeframe and EXACTLY what the home owner has to do.

    And EXACTLY what they need to do, what steps to take when it does not work (and I know of people who are still trying weeks later after NBN rocked by to have a phone or internet that works)

  21. Gordon says:

    So what is the situation for a fttn connection? I assume just a different modem?

  22. Maureen Humpage says:

    I will have to depend on the installer to recommend the best placement. Signals from my modem do not reach all the rooms. Will I still be able to use my current phones?

  23. barber says:

    Where the power board is located on a garage wall which is separate to the house then the utility box is installed on the house as it is in my situation. Otherwise a cable would have to run underground to the house from the garage.

  24. Alistair MacPherson says:

    My present landline is near the kitchen . I run my PC off Mobile 8GB Telstra connection in a separate study . I am proposing to have the telephone line extended into the study .Would this be suitable for a FTTNode connection ?. I have a node in front garden .

  25. Ruth Rees says:

    We did have a say on placement of boxes,external & internal when NBN was installed BUT why waa all this information not emailed to us customers months ago???

  26. Hanifah says:

    Who are classified as class1, class2 and class3 customers ?.

  27. Sketcheon says:

    Nice summary. It saves people from reading the entire design standards from NBN.

  28. Brian Wells says:

    I have yet to speak to anyone who has had the NBN connected who is happy with the unreliable service. The current system ‘ain’t broke’ so why is it being replaced with something that that mostly doesn’t work, which deactivates the home phone every time it drops out, and is seemingly more expensive (which is of concern to pensioners). How do you contact emergency services using an unserviceable service.
    I know the ‘idiots’ in Canberra have decreed that everyone must have it, but it is in my opinion a gross error of political bungling!

  29. Harry Hunter says:

    Our 4 year old home has Cat 5 cabling throughout. Telstra has connected the building using Cat 2 cabling running through ducting some of which is above ground – a security risk. Will NBN run Cat 5 cabling from the node to the first point within the building and replace the conduiting underground?

  30. Mike says:

    What about FTTB installations

  31. Joe says:

    My NBN has been placed next to the the power board externally.

    The Inside wall is in the garage. this is some 10M away from the main house. what happens with this insulation, as the internal box cannot be placed inside the garage?

  32. Erica Cunningham says:

    1. Who pays for the installation of the utility box and the connection box where there is easy access and not more than 40 metres of cabling required.
    2. Will I be contacted when it is available in my area?
    3. Is there a time limit by which I have to sign up/ arrange installation once it is in my area?
    4. Who does the installations?
    5. Is there a government contract for this and do we negotiate this part of the process.

    • Amy Pearce says:

      The physical installation of the NBN equipment is at no cost to you.

      Connecting to your chosen RSP/Provider may incur a set-up fee.
      If you are an iiNet customer, we will let you know via email and mail when the NBN is available to you, the roll out notices will also likely be in your local newspaper and other media outlets (bus shelters etc).

      The copper lines are removed approximately 18 months after NBN is installed.
      NBN themselves will complete the installation – your chosen RSP/Provider will let them know when you put in an application for a service and they’ll supply you with an appointment.

      You won’t need to speak with NBN directly, just approach your chosen RSP and they will do the rest on your behalf.

      – Amy

  33. Damien S says:

    Is there a similar guide for FTTB deployments in apartment blocks?

  34. R anson says:

    I am supposed to have had Bridie band installed.
    I do not know if I am receiving the maximum speed for which I Signed up.
    I have not had such equipment installed. Please follow up pronto.
    Can I hete back from you on 48 HOURS P L E A S E !

    • Amy Pearce says:

      Hi There,

      There are a few differences depending on the type of service NBN chose for your area.
      The installation in this article is for Fibre to the Home.
      If you have one port on your wall and no boxes, it’s likely that you’ve had Fibre to the Node or Basement installed.

      To discuss this further, and look into your speed query, call our 24/7 Support Team on 13 22 58.

      – Amy

  35. Peter Rickards says:

    What is the cost of connecting?
    What are the ongoing costs for usage?
    What are the costs for technical support?
    What are the guarantees for continuous sustained service?
    Are any changes required for existing computers in the home to access NBN. If so, who provides technology updates?

    • Amy Pearce says:

      Hi Peter,

      There are no costs involved with physical installation from the NBN techs.
      You will just need to be available for a 4 hour install appointment, when your area is ready to go.

      Our plans are available to view here. The charges involved for iiNet to connect the service are waived if you choose to take a 24 month contract, this will also include an NBN ready modem.
      Your personal hardware/computers should be able to connect as per normal.

      Technical support, as always, is free and available 24/7 via 13 22 58 – if you wish to have someone visit your house, and you’re in our Techii area, our on-road Support team is $99 per hour visit.

      While we do all we can to provide you with a fault free, continuous service, there is no guarantee that your connection won’t experience outages.
      If you require a service with a certain level of uptime, we recommend looking into dedicated business services with an industry SLA, or connecting a second service as a redundancy in case of any downtime that may occur.

      – Amy

  36. Dave Sherrin says:

    An informative blog. However a question, I want to install my comms box where my existing phone connection is, but it is on an internal wall. Will that cause problems or can I negotiate with the installer?

  37. joffa edwards says:

    this is sounding more and more like a corporation scam all the time (as it goes on)

  38. Eileen Clark says:

    Temperatures not below 10’C or above 40’C? That just about eliminates our entire house. We live in inland Australia where it gets very cold and very hot. Doesn’t the NBN realise this?

  39. So we are getting an FTN service when it gets here. No where have I seen what equipment is needed in the house at the termination of the copper lines. Is a power point needed, will my existing modem still plug into the phone jack. With VDSL possibly not but what will you need as I have not been able to find any info on iinet site or on line at NBN Co etc.
    I am told that NBN FTN is scheduled to commence at end of 2016.

  40. David Harrison says:

    This information is fine but it does not give any details of fibre to the node installations. I live on Bribie island and the majority of installations will be fibre to the node and copper to the node from the residence.

  41. Pauline Wood says:

    Can we have some advice as to what is required to be set up for Fibre to the Node please as this is probably what I will get

  42. Margaret says:

    I am unhappy with the location of my connection box – in the corner of my bedroom. The installer wasn’t prepared to consider or look at the location I wanted it installed which would not have been more than 40 meters.
    It was also installed so low on the wall I have to pull my bedside table out & crawl on the floor to get to it. I’m in my mid-60’s & not that agile!
    Also, if my base phone has to be plugged into the modem (under my bedside table) in my bedroom this is an issue, as my computer/living space is upstairs. As I already have a VOIP (easy to remember) number, I don’t want to change my number. However, I’m now wondering Do I need the phone service at all? I’m concerned this whole package is going to be more costly than what I need.

  43. Pat says:

    We are advised not to sleep in the same room with a modem i.e. wi-fi, as there is a risk of cancer. I do, however.
    Does NBN exacerbate this situation or cause the same problem? (Just looking at Margaret with her connection box beside her bed…)

  44. angel says:

    My internet and phone are conducted by 2 different companies and I prefer it this way, it is much cheaper.
    I hope to keep this up. Will the NBN muck this up??