NBN outages: What to do when your internet is down

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NBN outages are the worst – not being able to use the product you’re paying for is a real hassle, and the worst part is not knowing why your broadband is out, or for how long. Fortunately, internet outages don’t last forever – but if you’re dissatisfied with the number of outages you’re getting, it might be time to think of some solutions. 

In this article, we’ve got some fault-fixing solutions if you’re experiencing NBN downtime and some tips on combating NBN outages.

Jump to: 

How do I check for NBN outages?

Your first move is determining if the NBN outage is happening to you solely, or if it’s a widespread issue affecting other customers. Try visiting an internet outage website first – this may be your NBN provider’s official online portal or an independent website that monitors multiple providers. Alternatively, you can call your ISP directly, or check your provider’s app for outage notifications and updates. 

Typically, all you’ll have to do is check your area or type your address into a search box. Some internet providers such as Aussie Broadband and Telstra also offer diagnostics apps for when you want to test your internet connection. Make sure you check out if your ISP offers one of these apps, because these can alert you to potential downages, as well as allowing you to communicate directly with technical support, check the current status of your connection, or just get general help with your technology. 

Is the NBN down?

NBN Co operates the NBN, while Retail Service Providers (RSPs, or NBN providers) are responsible for their own networks, which then operate on the NBN network. As such, NBN Co is responsible for the larger NBN network, and not for smaller outages NBN providers might be going through. if you suspect that the NBN is down, NBN Co also has an NBN outages website, but it’s only responsible for larger outages, and not for ones distinct to certain RSPs. Regardless, you can also check your address here if you’re going through an NBN outage. 

How do I restart my modem-router?

Before speaking to your ISP about an NBN outage, check that your modem has the right lights on, and if it doesn’t, work through reactivating your internet connection with your ISP on the phone. You should also try restarting your modem or router. This could solve your internet outage woes.

Hand restarting modem

You can easily restart your modem or router if it’s experiencing connection issues.

1. Investigate if any lights are off or are flashing.

If some of the lights are turned off, are flashing or are different colours to what they usually should be, the problem could lie elsewhere.

2. If the lights aren’t working normally, feel around the back for the power button.

If there’s no button on the back, try pulling the power cable out directly without damaging the unit.

3. Leave the unit off for about a minute or two.

This will allow it to rest a little while the modem or router gets back to basics.

4. Turn the unit back on, and let it start up.

Allow about five to 10 minutes for the unit to get back to normal. 

5. If there’s no change in your internet experience, contact your ISP, or check online for an NBN outage. 

This is one of the few things you can do on your end to resolve your NBN outage. If this doesn’t work, it’s likely that you’re experiencing an outage that you can’t control and will need your NBN provider’s help. Your NBN could likely be down for the moment.

If you’d like to get in touch with your ISP, we’ve included the tech support phone numbers of the most popular providers below.

  • Telstra: 13 22 00
  • Optus: 13 13 44
  • Vodafone: 1300 650 410
  • iiNet: 13 22 58
  • TPG: 13 14 23
  • Belong: 1300 235 664
  • Aussie Broadband: 1300 880 905 
  • MyRepublic: 1300 130 888
  • Tangerine: 1800 211 112
  • Flip TV: 1300 354 788
  • Exetel: 1300 788 141
  • Mate Communicate: 1300 876 283
  • Kogan Internet: 1300 010 400
  • Dodo: 13 36 36

Should I get a new NBN plan?

If you’re dissatisfied with the experience your NBN provider is offering, be it from downages or customer service, it might be time to shop for an NBN plan. The good thing about the NBN is that it all operates from the same network, which means you’ll for the most part be getting a similar experience from every provider, although speeds and perks can vary. Differences can be things like inclusions, dropout occurrences and prices. You’ll find a variety of plans in the table below.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

What causes an NBN outage?

Typically an NBN outage in your area can be caused by faults in network devices, such as the local node or the wiring to your home. Alternatively, power failures can also cause network outages and internet server faults on the end of the ISP. Another cause could be technology introduced on your end, such as a modem with a fault, a faulty NBN connection box, or a cable that doesn’t work – these issues are easier to identify and resolve.

If the issue is a power outage, power returning should bring the network back. The most you can do in this case is wait it out. Not having any power means that you won’t be able to use some types of NBN, such as HFC NBN, unless your NBN type uses a battery backup, like Fibre to the Premises connections.

What if there’s network damage in my area?

Faults in the local node or the wiring to your home can be fixed by an NBN technician, which can be arranged by contacting your ISP. Your provider will organise to send a technician out as soon as possible, who should be able to repair the technology on-site. 

What are some NBN alternatives?

If you’re unhappy with your NBN experience so far – and swapping plans or providers hasn’t done the trick – you can move to an NBN alternative, or pick up a modem with 4G backup capability.

Consider getting a modem with a 4G backup

Plenty of NBN providers offer modems with 4G backups on the Telstra, Optus or Vodafone 4G networks, which are typically reserved for mobile use. You can only access these networks with compatible technology, and depending on your provider your 4G service may be slower than your NBN connection.

However, if your NBN connection goes down, the 4G internet service will activate, which you can use to stay connected to the internet during downtime. Keep in mind that 4G backup modems generally cost more than their counterparts without backup settings.

Consider NBN alternatives

The NBN just isn’t for everyone, and there are plenty of alternatives out there if you’re dissatisfied with the dropouts. Mobile broadband, home wireless broadband and private networks are all worth thinking about as alternatives, depending on your location, budget and usage needs. 5G home broadband could also be worth considering.

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