Australia - NBN forced to replace almost 50,000 broadband devices damaged by lightning

Australia - NBN forced to replace almost 50,000 broadband devices damaged by lightning

Australia, NBN broadband devices,Guardian Australia, lightning, Harbouchanews

The company has revealed 47,700 faulty boxes had to be replaced in just four months to March 2021 in NSW homes

NBN Co has revealed it has been forced to replace close to 50,000 faulty broadband devices in homes across New South Wales in just four months due to lightning damage.

Last week Guardian Australia reported NBN Co had been forced to replace 10,000 modems in the Blue Mountains after they had been fried after being struck by lightning. One resident reporting seeing blue sparks shooting out of the modem during a severe lightning storm this month.

Under the fibre-to-the-curb (FttC) technology built as part of the Coalition government’s multi-technology mix, fibre runs all the way to the edge of the property and connects to the home via the existing copper wire lead-ins from the curb. Close to 700,000 homes are connected to the NBN using this technology in Australia.

Electrical storms in the Blue Mountains in particular have wreaked havoc on the boxes that link the fibre to the copper. When lightning strikes the distribution boxes outside the house, it causes an electrical surge that fries the NBN modem inside people’s homes, leaving them without internet access until it is replaced.

The problem is not confined to the Blue Mountains, however. The company has now informed Senate estimates the number of replacements overall is significantly higher, with 47,700 being replaced between November 2020 and March 2021.

The company said it had replaced boxes mainly in NSW areas including Penrith, Miranda, Frenchs Forest, Rockdale, Grafton, Mosman, Peakhurst, Glebe and Campbelltown.

In 2020 and 2021, the company has been forced to replace 101,402 modems nationally, although this figure is not limited to replacements due to lightning strikes. The company has replaced 44,306 devices in the first three months of 2021 alone.

NBN was also forced to replace 31,000 distribution boxes, accounting for around 7% of the FttC network.

Service faults in 2021 associated with fibre-to-the-curb are the second highest across the various technologies in the multi-technology mix, accounting for 149,801 faults in the first three months of 2021 alone, second only to fibre-to-the-node with 222,458.

An NBN Co spokesman told Guardian Australia last week the company had identified the issue with the modems caused by ground more susceptible to lightning strikes, and had begun issuing replacements people will be able to install themselves.

the guardian 

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