Being prepared for the switch is not an option

Even if you’ve got an understanding of how your phone lines will be affected by the NBN, you may not have had a chance to think about what that means for your EFTPOS terminal.

We’d all love it if the switch was a simple one, and you could just unplug your terminal and plug it into your new NBN connection without much more thought.  Unfortunately, there are only a very few businesses that will be able to do it this way, and those are the businesses that wither only have one terminal, or won’t get to enjoy the NBN in it’s full capacity for quite some time.

The truth is, the  NBN is going to bring big changes to the way the majority of Australian business uses their EFTPOS terminals.  It’s not a choice, so the best thing you can do for your business is get ready ahead of time, understand how it works, and make sure you don’t end up without your essential services for days or even weeks.

Here’s the not-so-good news. The switch to the NBN can be an (understandably) confusing and complicated process. This means that many people are being taken advantage of by providers who are also making sure the switch is an expensive one. If you educate yourself about how your business will need to prepare, it’s less likely that you’ll be convinced by a shifty salesman that you need to spend a fortune to make the switch.

Ignore the fact that you’ve got to be prepared and you business could find itself without internet, phone lines, or an EFTPOS terminal for days, weeks or, in the worst case, even months.

To understand the switch, you need to understand three things;

  • how your NBN service will be delivered to your building,
  • what type of NBN phone service you will be using, and
  • the model of EFTPOS terminal you currently use.

Why your NBN connection is important

Traditional phone and internet services have been carried to our premises via copper infrastructure, while the  NBN is a Multi Technology Mix (MTM) network, which means that not every connection will be delivered to your office the same way.

However, while there are significant differences in how the NBN gets to you, the result is the same in every case; reliable, high speed broadband. In most cases,, the NBN will be delivered to your premises by fibre optic cables in one of two forms

Fibre to the Node (FTTN)

Fibre cables will carry your broadband connection from the public telephone exchange to the nearest node in your neighbourhood. From there, it will travel along the existing copper wiring that’s previously carried your traditional phone and internet services. In this case,  those NBN Co. will make existing phone and internet  services redundant to make way for the NBN.

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)

Just like FTTN, fibre cables will carry your broadband connection from the public telephone exchange to the nearest node to your office. From the node the fibre continues directly to your premises – fibre all the way! In this case, NBN Co. will remove existing phone and internet services  to make way for fibre.

You do not get a choice which type of service you’ll get for your business. The most important thing that you must remember is that your existing phone and internet services will no longer function as you know it.

You may be thinking that an FTTN service sounds just like your current setup, which means you’d be able to plug your phone and internet services into the wall socket, just like you have always done.

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. You won’t be able to plug your phones or EFTPOS terminals into them, or use a splitter for your internet service. In the case of FTTP, the entire copper infrastructure will be removed. Those walls sockets will become decorative.

A note on timing

There have a been a few scattered warnings on television, reminding you that your existing services will be cut off. Not enough, in our opinion, because when it happens there’s no turning back. If you haven’t made the switch, you’ll be without your phone, internet, and everything that goes along with it. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is for you to prepare your business before this happens to you.

It’s not something you can risk forgetting, unless you can live without your essential business services for days or weeks. When you order your service, you don’t get to decide when it will be installed (and neither does your provider). Neither do you get the guarantee that everything will run smoothly the first time round. Generally, NBN Co. will have a technician come to your office between 10 and 30 days from the time you order your service. But if they cancel, it could be another months wait.

Now let’s imagine you’ve already left it to the last minute and, before the technician arrives to install your NBN service, NBN Co. switched off your existing services. The repercussions for any business – small or large – aren’t pretty.

Choosing the right NBN Phone Service for your Business

If you thought the NBN sounded a bit complicated already, here’s where it gets really interesting.

If you are getting an  FTTP connection, and NBN technician will install a Network Termination Device (NTD)  in your office. On this NTD, there’ll be four yellow Data (Uni-D) Ports, and two grey Voice (Uni-V) Ports. NBN Co. designed the Grey Ports as a simple replacement for your existing phone line. You’ll be able to plug in your old phone or EFTPOS terminal into one of these ports.

But did you get the catch?

There are only two ports. Only two, and it’s highly likely that your business has more than one phone, more than one EFTPOS terminal, maybe a security system and fax machine, and possibly a HICAPS terminal. They all need their own phone line, and this solution simply will not work for you. You’ll have to find another solution.

If you’re getting an FTTN service, the above isn’t even an option because are no grey Voice (Uni-V) Ports in sight – you won’t even have an NTD installed. You’ll also have to look elsewhere for a solution to your EFTPOS and phone line needs…

VoIP to the Rescue

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a tool we can use to make phone calls using our internet connections. You can connect every and any device that needs a phone line to a VoIP service. But there’s more (of-course). It won’t be as simple as plugging your existing phone line or EFTPOS terminal into your existing modem.

That’s because the traditional devices that you’ve most likely been using will communicate using analogue data. VoIP uses digital data (hint: they’re not friends). Try plugging your analogue phone or EFTPOS terminal into your modem and you’ll get zilch.

We already mentioned that some providers take advantage of people’s ignorance, and this is the most common point where that occurs. If someone tells you that you need to spend a fortune to use the NBN, they are probably dead wrong. An Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) can act as a translating tool between VoIP and your analogue devices. In many cases, this means you can still use your existing hardware.


EFTPOS terminals differ widely, and i’s important that you work out where yours fits into the picture.

Use the right terminal for the right service

Those details about the type of NBN you may be getting in your office were there for a reason. Whether or not you can use your existing EFTPOS terminal, and how you go about it.

If you have an FTTN service installed in your office, you will be able to connect an ATA between your modem and your existing analogue EFTPOS terminal.

However, the NTD installed with an FTTP service does not support the use of an analogue EFTPOS terminal with an ATA.

For many businesses, your only option will be to upgrade your EFTPOS terminal. We can’t offer personalised advice about it, because every business is different. You will need to contact your bank to talk about what kind of terminal you have, and whether or not you will have to upgrade. It’s not just us – most banks also urge their clients to get in touch with them about it.

Consider an NBN-ready Audit for Peace of Mind

The fact is, you don’t have a choice when it comes to switching to the NBN. But you do have a choice about how smooth the transition will be.

If you haven’t already, contact Infiniti today on 1300 889 792 to learn about our  NBN-ready audit service. Our audit will provide you with everything you need to make sure your NBN transition is a smooth one. We’ll also give specific advice about your phone lines, PBX machine, and EFTPOS terminals.

If you’re still trying to get your head around how the NBN switch works, watch this video that provides a quick guide to the NBN.

Whatever you do, don’t wait until time runs out!