• Tony Bosworth

10,000 NBN boxes fried in Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains during violent lightning storm

NBN Co has had to replace 10,000 in-home boxes after last week’s mass failure which saw the NCD units damaged beyond repair during the violent lightning storm, and they’re blaming an “issue with a component” in the boxes, officially called a Network Connection Device.

But apparently, the geology where you live - and it’s a particular issue where sandstone exists - also played a part in the catastrophic failure.

In a bit of good news, NBN Co is looking at sending out replacement boxes to affected customers within 24 hours of a failure. They call it a plug-and-play solution because all you need to do is disconnect the fried box and connect the new one.

But the big questions are – why do the NCD boxes fail so regularly – and why have so many areas in the Hawkesbury been affected?

“We have identified an issue with a component in some of our Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) Network Connection Devices (NCDs) that causes some devices to fail under certain conditions - areas prone to lightning and which have high resistance to earth due to the local geology,” an NBN Co spokesperson told the Post today.

“This combination of factors is uncommon and only affects only a small proportion of the FTTC footprint. The affected devices have been certified under Australian safety standards and, in these instances, have been confirmed to fail in a safe way.

“We are now deploying a strengthened NCD that is much less likely to fail in these conditions. In addition to this and the temporary measures already implemented, we have now started working with internet service providers to look at how we can improve our ability to rapidly detect devices that fail and implement a ‘fast-track’ solution that aims to ship a replacement strengthened device directly to customers to plug and play within 24 hours of the fault being detected.

“We apologise to those customers whose service has been impacted and reiterate our ongoing commitment to working with internet service providers and local communities to help deliver a better customer experience.”

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