NBN rejects claims it puts medical alarm services at risk


news The National Broadband Network has rejected as “inaccurate” claims that its next-generation infrastructure rollout is placing medical alarm services at risk.

Citing an article in the Adelaide Advertiser reporting on a medical alarm service provider’s claim that the NBN rollout puts the safety of people with medical alarms at risk, the NBN company said that the report is “based on the alarm service provider’s media release, which was voluntarily withdrawn as it was inaccurate”.

In a statement, the NBN company stressed that ensuring continuity of services such as medical alarms during the rollout of the NBN network is an issue it takes “extremely seriously”.

“It was NBN that proactively brought medical alarm providers’ attention to the potential issue early in the NBN rollout and we have been working closely with providers since 2010 to assist them in developing solutions,” it said.

According to the company, it has established a medical alarm register that now lists over 180,000 people with medical alarms. The information on the register helps identify households with medical alarms and where support may be needed to help make sure medical alarm providers can provide continuity of service.

“NBN and medical alarm service providers have been contacting those affected residents in person and by letter to advise them about the implications for their medical alarm,” the NBN company said.

The Adelaide Advertiser article also stated that people with medical alarms were advised by the alarm service provider that they should switch to a system other than the NBN.

“It is very important to understand that this proposal is in fact part of a well-developed strategy coordinated with medical alarm providers nationally,” said the NBN company. “We have been working with monitored medical alarm providers nationally on this strategy to replace monitored medical alarms in coming years with new units that use a wireless network rather than the NBN, where this is needed for medical alarm providers to provide continuity of their services.”

The NBN provides on its website a list of medical alarm providers that have published information about the compatibility of their products with services provided over the NBN network.

If a provider is not listed, it suggests users should contact them directly to confirm compatibility of the alarm with its services.


  1. I’d get the journalists side of it too, there seems to be more than the one sided account (from Karina I guess) you show here.

  2. I just don’t understand how we are building a $56bil network that isn’t capable of being reliable enough for a medical device and now we need to go wireless…

    FTTP supports medical devices. Why not MTM?

  3. I thought this was all sorted back under “the real NBN” when Quigley got it sorted.

    Why is this “a thing” now?

  4. Installing fiber in most cases would have left the PSTN service untouched allowing for the moving of these devices to a NBN service after that service is up and running. FTTN needs to break that copper connection to be installed so can’t be set up and left running concurrently with PSTN service complicating the whole thing and making it near impossible to do a clean swap over of service without an intermediate like wireless.

    As I said before all that MT has done is taking the NBN and complicated it.

    • Absolute tosh. Copper is decommissioned under FTTH as it is with FTTN or HFC. Only under LTE is it retained.

      This was raised many years ago, years after NBNCo was formed and they were setting up a testing lab. How we laughed.

      Little has changed. Old analogue alarms not always compatible with the switch to digital. Quite a few here said they should suck it up and upgrade.

      • The FTTH connections have a POTS port with no need to have a broadband service, FTTN does not.

      • Richard for someone who comments so much on this topic you don’t understand the implications or what is actually happens or was supposed to have happened. The Copper isn’t decommissioned until 2 years after FTTH is connected so you can have both services running concurrently allowing time for a smooth switch over of service. This is not possible with FTTN as in order to connect the copper line needs to be physically broken and connected to the new service. In my experience this is not a quick process.

        Yes we are well aware there is legacy equipment that will need to be upgraded but the one way to be left behind as a nation is to constantly wait for our slowest members instead of dragging them along with the rest of us.

        • @m 18mths actually (surprising the expert was wrong). NBNCo formed in 2009. Why do you this 18mths difference is important?

          Again topic raised and discussed 4 years ago.

          @d alarms aren’t always compatible with a digital pots. Again discussed (dismissed by fanboys) years ago.

          • And having now Googled and embarrassingly found “your” comment was the one that was “absolute Tosh” and Matthews’ was correct, in relation to the copper running concurrently, no apology?

            No instead you’ll typically argue over the time frame rather the crux…so as to hide your lack understanding regarding copper/FttP.

            And then comes the strange, totally baseless chest beating, from 4 years ago…

            4 years ago ROFL… since then everything you raised, claimed and (ahem) discussed, has been totally disproved or has fallen in a complete heap.

            Why just look at “your” MTM…nice work.

            You’re welcome.

  5. + 1 Matthews

    “As I said before all that MT has done is taking the NBN and complicated it.”

    And to make it worse they have complicated it with inferiority.

  6. Didn’t the alleged new’s release get removed (its not like editorial control is any less limited etc etc at ye olde advertiser)?

    The NBN has had their industry lab/test facility up for eon’s now so any company who has troubles should probably have gotten of their proverbial behinds before now and figure out what if any issues there might be.

  7. One of my clients is installing medical alarms at sites with NBN and other highspeed networks. We chose a medical alarm that had a 3G backup option. Not because we didn’t find the NBN etc unreliable, but because $<3 per month per sim was cheap insurance for when the land line fails. Be it ATA lockup / backhoe fade / rain in pits (for non FTTP services) / not paying their phone bill / black out.

    • Exactly, Craig.

      Given the extraordinarily long lead-times of the NBN, this should be treated as an opportunity for the monitoring industry to move on from their “dial-up modem” mentality and embrace newer technologies that take advantage of IP connectivity and 3G backup (and SPOT satellites and more).

      As you say, manufacturers have offered 3G backups in their devices for years. It’s easy to find off-the-shelf equipment that does this and more.

      I think it’s pandering to an industry stuck in the past to insist that the NBN still present a PSTN port when they have 10+ years notice to manage a technology refresh.

      What is the depreciation schedule of a dialup modem exactly?

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