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How to access the NBN when renting

Mark Bristow avatar
Mark Bristow
- 5 min read
How to access the NBN when renting

While renting your home can provide some flexibility, it can also mean plenty of challenges to overcome. Access to the National Broadband Network (NBN) from your rental property is just one of these, with the download speeds available to you often varying between different properties in different areas, which could make a significant difference to your lifestyle. 

How to find out if a rental property has the NBN

Simply visit the NBNCo website and enter a rental property’s address to find out if it’s already connected to the NBN, which connection technologies it uses, and which other connection options may be available to you. 

Keep in mind that in some situations the NBN may be connected to part of a property, but not all of it. For example, if you’re renting a granny flat at the back of a property, you may not be able to easily access the NBN that’s connected to the main house without first organising an extension of the service.  

Check with the real estate and/or the landlord

Upgrading a property’s NBN connection could involve some construction work and other maintenance to the property. Just like when making any other repairs or upgrades to a rental, it’s important to let the property manager and/or landlord know before starting the process. 

There may also be some costs involved with upgrading a property's NBN connection. According to NBNCo’s Technology Choice Program, factors that may affect the quote for build costs include: 

  • Proximity to existing NBN infrastructure.
  • Distances between premises in scope (if applicable).
  • Complexity of civil construction required.
  • Original NBN technology and new NBN technology.
  • Remoteness of location.

Your landlord may need to organise an online quote before organising an NBN upgrade. 

Choose a retail service provider

You can use RateCity to compare NBN plans and select one that may suit your needs.

Once you know which plan you want to go with, contact the provider about signing up as a customer. If the rental property’s NBN connection requires an upgrade to use a particular plan, they may be able to liaise with NBNCo on your behalf to get this organised, though more likely you’ll have to stick to a plan that works with the current connection setup.

Find a spot for the equipment

Some forms of NBN connection require the installation of equipment on the property’s exterior. This could be an NBN box for FTTP connections, or even an outdoor antenna for Fixed Wireless customers. The NBN technician will choose where this equipment goes, based on the existing infrastructure – unfortunately, you don’t get a say. 

However, if the connection also requires the installation of  an internal utility box or NBN Connection Box, you may (with the landlord’s consent) be able to help select an ideal spot with easy access to power, preferably in a central location so all parts of the house can access the signals from a wireless router. 

Your NBN plan retailer may provide you with an NBN compatible router one as part of their service, or you can purchase your own from an electronics retailer. 

How to move house with the NBN

When your lease runs out or you find a new place to rent, you can often take your NBN plan with you. Simply contact your provider and provide details of your new address and moving dates to organise moving your NBN plan. 

If your new rental property’s NBN connection isn’t compatible with your current plan, your provider may be able to organise an upgrade from NBNCo if required, or else get in touch about switching you to a more appropriate NBN plan. 

This could also be an opportunity to compare NBN plans and consider whether switching to a new provider could be the right move for you. 

Don’t take the NBN box with you when you move!

When you move house, you can often bring the wireless router from your provider with you if you want to continue using the same NBN plan, and sometimes even if it's a new one, as most routers can work regardless of who provides your internet (Telstra is the exception). However, you CAN’T take the NBN connection box from the property, even if it was installed at the property as part of an NBN upgrade organised along with your NBN plan. 

Even if you bring the NBN box with you to your new address, it won’t do you any good – NBN equipment is registered to a specific address. Consider the NBN connection box to be a part of the property, and leave It behind when you move out of the house. The next tenant will find a use for it as they use it to go online.

If you move into a property where the NBN box is missing so you’ve nowhere to set up your phone or internet, or if you’ve accidentally packed up you last rental property’s NBN box in the chaos of moving, get in touch with the real estate and/or the landlord to get the box back where it belongs. If they can’t track down the previous tenant, contact your ISP and/or NBNCo to organise the installation of a new NBN box. 


This article is over two years old, last updated on January 18, 2022. While RateCity makes best efforts to update every important article regularly, the information in this piece may not be as relevant as it once was. Alternatively, please consider checking recent nbn articles.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.