NBN Fibre to the Premises

NBN Co has recently announced the next phase of the NBN network. This is a $4.5 billion investment to bring Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) to 75% of households. They hope to have this completed by 2023.

Currently the Grenfell Township is serviced by Fibre to the Node (FTTN) technology. This gives a maximum speed of 100mbps, depending on distance from the node. The final leg of the network still relies on copper wiring owned by Telstra.

The speed of FTTN can also be affected by the distance you are from the node. Distances of up to 400 meters from the node should allow you to receive speeds up to 100mbps, but not guaranteed. Any further away from the node will allow for speeds up to 50mbps.

By upgrading the final leg of the network to fibre, NBN Co will be able to offer Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). FTTP will allow users of the network to achieve speeds between 500mbps to 1gbps depending on the plan opted by the user.

NBN Co were unable to confirm whether Grenfell will be included in the areas receiving the upgrade. If Grenfell is included it’s important to know that only areas currently serviced by NBN FTTN would be upgraded to FTTP. If you are in an area that relies on mobile broadband or satellite, you will continue to be limited to those services.

NBN Co were able to confirm that when FTTP becomes available letters would be sent to households eligible for the upgrade. Service providers would also contact their clients and coordinate plan upgrades with customers who wish to pay more for the higher NBN speeds.

Currently you are able to pay for the Fibre to the Premises upgrade yourself. This can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. To get a quote you are required to pay a $330 application fee. Currently this is on pause until December. This may be when NBN Co has more information regarding which areas will get the upgrade as part of the investment.

More information regarding NBN can be found in the NBN website or by calling your service provider.

Search Engines

Google is by far the most popular search engine. Due to its popularity most people use the term “Googling” when referring to any web search – no matter the provider they use. A search engine should not be confused with a Web Browser.

A search engine allows a user to type keywords, phrases, or questions/equations into a search field and have results/answers returned. This allows users to navigate the web without needing to know the URL for every websites. There are 100’s of other search engines available, each with their own speciality.

DuckDuckGo – The privacy-focused search engine. DuckDuckGo doesn’t track its users – which is a win for the privacy minded user. This means the results are not personalised and may be less relevant but your privacy is protected.

Ecosia – Another search engine that considers user privacy. This isn’t their main selling point though. Ecosia will plant trees when you perform web-searches.

WolframAlpha – Type a question and receive an answer. Whether you need to know the 100th digit of Pi, the 7th Prime Minister of Australia, or the atomic number for Boron or Hydrogen, you will have answers fast.

Kiddle – Is a child safe visual search engine. This allows children to safely browse the internet without fear of stumbling upon something undesirable. It is still recommended a parent supervise their children on the internet because sometimes an innocent term may not return innocent results. Kiddle is based on Google Search.

KidzSearch – Another search engine based on Google Search. Much the same as Kiddle, with added educational links and games on the home page and well as search.

This is only a brief sample of the many search engine that’s are available. When doing any research project, it can be beneficial to try out different search engines to expand the information you require.

If you are interested in protecting your privacy online, it can be beneficial to “Google” yourself using multiple search engines. This is the best way to find out what information you or someone else has shared online. If you can find information about yourself, that means anyone can. This gives you a starting point for cleaning up your digital footprint.

While you are here, be sure to read our other Tech Tips articles!

Your Windows 7 PC is out of support

Support for Windows 7 ended on January 14th, 2020. As of writing, Windows 7 has missed 6 months worth of updates released to patch vulnerable code.

If you are still running Windows 7 you need to upgrade to a currently supported operating system sooner rather than later. Running unsupported software, especially an operating system, leaves your device open for malware and cyber criminals,

Many PCs running Windows 7 can easily be upgraded for free to Windows 10. You can find more information in an earlier post. The Microsoft website has the minimum requirements for hardware as:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS or 20 GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 800 x 600

This means that Windows 10 can be run on reasonably old hardware.

Another alternative would be to install a Linux distribution such a Ubuntu, or if your PC is very old, Lubuntu.

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