There's no extra charge for the 4G backup of the telco's upcoming NBN service, but watch the fine print.
If you're worried by reports of protracted delays between your old ADSL service being disconnected and your new NBN service becoming ready for use, Vodafone may have an answer.
When Vodafone starts selling NBN services later this year, it will provide its customers with a modem/router that can use fixed or mobile connections. Mobile data will be provided at no additional charge between sign-up and fixed service installation, and in the event of a fault on the fixed service.
But there are some caveats.
Firstly, the mobile service is unlimited between sign-up and installation, but will only be provided for a maximum of 30 days in the event of a fault. But surely customers suffering the most extreme delays in rectification are the ones who most need this backup capability?
Secondly, the mobile data speed will be limited to 12/1Mbps (and may be less in practice due to the usual limitations), regardless of the speed the customer is paying for.
Finally, the backup connection is only offered in very specific circumstances after the fixed service has gone live: “where repairs need to be carried out by NBN to resolve a fault affecting an individual customer’s fixed service.”
That seems to mean that if the fault is in any part of the shared network, you’re out of luck – such as if a truck crashes into the node, a falling tree brings down the HFC cable upstream from you, or an administrative mistake disables your fixed service.
But you should be OK if workmen digging up the footpath outside your premises cut through the copper wire leading into the building.
Routers are already available that can automatically fail-over to mobile data connections in the event of a fixed line failure, but it's up to the user to have a suitable mobile data plan in place.