NBN Plans

Connecting you to Australia’s newest and most powerful data network.

Last updated on April 19th, 2022 at 02:34 pm by Thomas Perrotta

NBN Plans

Australia has long been renowned for punching below its weight when it comes to internet speeds. The copper cables our ADSL networks called home for so long were never designed to transmit the amount of data that they are today, which has resulted in slow internet across the country. The NBN has been rolling out to combat this issue and Australians are being urged to buy into the new network. But what is the NBN? How does it work? Read more about it and how to compare the best NBN plans here.

What are NBN plans and how do they work?

The National Broadband Network, or NBN, was designed to replace the existing Australian ADSL network and provide a higher quality of internet to people across the country. This network operates through new fibre optic cables that are more purpose fit for data transmission than the copper cables that previously stood in their place (which were only meant to support phone calls). The type of connection that your NBN plan establishes will be different depending on where you live, but it’s likely to be made by cables running from either your home to a central cabinet in your area or cables within your home to an installed connection box.

In comparison to other internet plans on the market, NBN plans aren’t unique in terms of their setup. nbn™ is the Government-owned body in charge of managing the network, but customers don’t go directly to them to purchase their plans. The NBN’s infrastructure is sold onto separate NBN providers who then create and market NBN plans for the public to buy and experience. This is a positive in a way, as choice is afforded to you as to who to receive your NBN plan from. NBN customers have a choice of six different types of service when it comes to their internet plans, all of which are different from one another, namely varying in speed.

How fast are NBN plans and which speed is best for me?

The speed of NBN plans changes depending on the type of NBN plan you choose to go with. As mentioned above, there are six options currently available to Australians looking to buy an NBN policy. You’ll be able to choose from the following options:

NBN 12

The slowest advertised NBN plan, NBN 12, or Basic I, is generally the cheapest NBN option on the market for customers. All the NBN speed tiers derive their names from their maximum download speed in megabits per second, so the 12Mbps that NBN 12 is capable of places it on par with some standard ADSL connections. In addition to this, the maximum upload speed of just 1Mbps is also shared by ADSL. NBN 12 connections are most suitable for one person living by themselves who doesn’t use the internet too much, perhaps only for checking emails and messaging apps and for occasional light streaming.

NBN 25

Also known as Basic II, NBN 25 is another NBN plan designed for relatively light use. With a maximum download speed of 25Mbps and upload speed of 10Mbps, it can comfortably outperform existing ADSL connections. In terms of its price, it’s also on the cheaper side, with plans generally available between $50 and $70. This usually means that it’s only marginally more expensive than NBN 12 plans, so if you decide that the increased internet speed is worth paying $5 extra per month, it might be right for you. NBN 25 plans are useful for one or two people who use the internet a bit more, such as for video streaming on YouTube and other services.

NBN 50

Referred to as the Standard plan, NBN 50 is one of the most common NBN plans to be purchased in Australia. With its download and upload speed capacities doubled those of NBN 25, this can usually provide users with a smoother internet experience than those using NBN 12 or 25 plans. From a cost standpoint, you’ll find that it’s not substantially more expensive than NBN 25 plans, with a standard price range of $60 to $80. In this respect, you may decide that the speeds are worth investing in for your home. Singles or couples who use the internet quite heavily can probably buy an NBN 50 plan, as can households of more than two people who also stream and play video games online.

NBN 100

A further step up from the standard, NBN 100 is the first plan to be known as Fast. Its maximum download speed of 100Mbps and upload speed of 40Mbps doubles those on offer with an NBN 50 plan. It’s a step up in terms of the cost as well, with prices for NBN 100 tending to fall between $80 and $100. This represents the largest price disparity between plans, so those who are tossing up between NBN 50 and 100 will have to consider this gulf in cost when buying their NBN plans. Larger households may look to buy this broadband plan to help cope with a multitude of devices connected to the network, especially for parents working from home while their kids play games and stream online.

NBN 250

This is known as the Superfast tier of NBN connectivity and is the second-greatest plan on offer in terms of its broadband speeds. The 250Mbps download speed is the biggest selling point for NBN 250 plans, although it’s important to note that upload speeds are almost halved those of NBN 100 plans at 25Mbps. You won’t be able to find any NBN deals of this sort under $90, with most falling between there and $120 per month. This is considered the highest-performance plan that a household should look to purchase, as it facilitates heavy 4K streaming and online gaming, as well as downloads of large files. It can also be suitable for small businesses with several people working at once.

NBN 1000

The most powerful NBN speed tier, classified as Ultrafast, NBN 1000 is the top plan available to Australians wanting the fastest possible internet speeds. A maximum upload speed of 50Mbps puts it generally on par with NBN 100, but the capacity to hit speeds of 1000Mbps puts it in its own level. It’s important to note that you’re unlikely to consistently hit 1000Mbps on this plan, but the fact that it far exceeds that of NBN 250 is attractive to some customers. While you wouldn’t generally take this out for your home, unless you had a very large family of heavy internet users, this is seen as the most attractive option for medium-sized businesses who need internet connectivity for their employees at all times.

How do I compare NBN plans?

There are several key areas that should be addressed in the comparison process for NBN plans. Choosing the right one to suit your needs is an especially important decision to make, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. The best way to do this is to utilise Savvy’s comprehensive comparison tools to ensure you get the clearest picture of each NBN plan’s comparison points and see how they stack up against one another. Here are some of the factors you should take into consideration when you compare the best NBN plans with Savvy.

Cost of the plan

Obviously, the first thing that many people would consider is the overall price of their NBN plan. Not everyone has the financial capacity to purchase the most powerful and expensive NBN plan, nor do people want to pay more for a service than they need to. In terms of cost, NBN 12, 25 and 50 plans are comfortably the cheapest that you’ll encounter on the market, but which of those you should purchase (or if you’ll need something else) will depend solely on your internet usage and needs moving forward. For example, it would be inappropriate for a family of four heavy internet users to buy an NBN 12 plan with capped data, as it simply wouldn’t be enough.

The key to remember when comparing is to search for the best NBN plans through the lens of a set maximum budget, but to prioritise the speed and data that you’ll need above all else. After all, there’s little point in buying a cheap broadband plan that won’t help you access the internet in the way that you want or need.

Speed tier

The speed tier of your NBN plan is one of the most important aspects of the internet purchase process to get right. As previously mentioned, other elements of your deal, such as the cost, essentially count for nought if the internet plan you’ve bought doesn’t meet your usage needs.

An example may be for a couple who work in content production from home and manage large uploads and downloads every day. If they’re on a plan with a low speed tier, even if their data is unlimited, much of their day could be eaten up by buffering and waiting for files to submit. For this example, they would likely look to something closer to NBN 100, as the speed of download is quadrupled and is more equipped to manage heavy internet usage between two people.

Data restrictions

This is another major consideration that those on the hunt for the best NBN plans will have to make. The most suitable deal for you will not only have adequate download and upload speeds but, perhaps most importantly, also a data limit that suits your needs. Generally, data caps are offered at 100GB, 250GB and 500GB alongside NBN deals with unlimited data usage. For less frequent users of their internet, unlimited data can be a trap that ends up costing well over $100 per year when a cap of 100GB would have sufficed at a notably lower price.

Another factor to consider when comparing data restrictions is how they distinguish between peak and off-peak data. You might find that some plans will list 50GB peak and 50GB off-peak on a 100GB capped plan, for example. Peak data usage is in the evenings when most people are at home and accessing their local NBN network, which might be when you’ll be using the bulk of your internet. If you’re away at work during off-peak hours, restrictions like these are important to account for when choosing a plan.

Internet service provider

Your internet service provider (or ISP) will come into play as you compare NBN plans also. Each ISP is different when it comes to the services they provide in addition to their internet plans, so your preferences will rule some ISPs out of contention for your patronage. A primary example of how some ISPs can be more popular than others is in the customer service space. There will always be a heavy demand for customer service lines when it comes to internet issues, as they’re essentially ubiquitous and most people won’t have the ability to fix problems themselves.

Optus and Telstra NBN plans are some of the most popular in Australia, as these NBN providers are two of the biggest in the country. Because of this, they’re typically able to offer 24/7 support to customers, ensuring that their needs can be met around the clock and that they won’t be left until morning hours to have a problem solved. On the other hand, the rates for Optus and Telstra NBN plans aren’t likely to be as cheap as those offered by budget ISPs like TPG, Dodo and Tangerine, which can often provide you with the same or similar features.

Any promotional deals, discounts or added features

It’s common to see NBN plans offered at a promotional introductory rate substantially lower than the ISP’s standard rate. This can help customers looking to save on their internet in the short term but may not be the ideal solution for those looking to secure their long-term future with a particular company. This is because introductory NBN deals may look good on paper, but they’re only fleeting in length. As such, they should usually only be considered as a short-term fix and a deal to take advantage of for customers who are looking to move onto a cheaper deal at the conclusion of this period.

Additionally, offers can come with added features built in that might entice you to purchase plan with certain NBN providers. This could be anything from a landline phone (if you still wanted one) to a set-top box for your TV. It should be noted, though, that these can often add a small amount to your monthly internet bill if included in your plan, so if you specifically don’t want them you could end up saving money.

Explained: the different types of NBN plan connections

The pros and cons of NBN plans

PROS

Faster and more powerful than ADSL

In terms of its maximum capabilities, the NBN blows ADSL connections out of the park with its speed

Unlimited data options

Unlike with some home or mobile wireless connections, NBN plans almost always come with the option to avoid any caps on your data

Choice of speed tiers

Six options for the speed you’re able to access is a significant amount of choice to provide customers as they choose which internet plan is best for them.

Less variable speed

Wireless connections can’t provide the same level of assurance that their expected speeds will be met that NBN plans can

CONS

Limited by where you live

The type of connection and its strength could be heavily impacted by where you live or work, with less choice of connection coming to those in certain areas

Still using copper cables in most cases

Although the network was rolled out to replace copper cables, budget limits have meant that the Australian Government is now incorporating these cables into NBN connections

Frequently asked questions about NBN plans

Does it take a long time to install the NBN for my internet plan?

Timeframes for NBN installations can vary substantially depending on where you are, what the situation at your premises is and the provider you choose to go with. In terms of the time between booking the appointment and the date of the installation, you’re likely to have to wait between two and six weeks. Once there, the installation will probably take several hours, ranging anywhere between one and eight depending on the nature of the install.

What are the cheapest unlimited NBN plans?

The cheapest NBN plans with unlimited data usage are NBN 12 and 25 plans. However, these obviously won’t suit everyone, so you should look for the cheapest plan without a data cap that can provide the speeds that you, your family or your business needs.

Who is the best NBN plan provider for me?

Your preferences will dictate who the best NBN plan provider is to meet your internet needs. You may opt for a larger ISP who can offer a wider range of products and greater customer service, or you might simply look to purchase one with a cheaper ISP who can offer you the same or similar value at a cut-price offer.

Should I compare NBN plans based on evening speeds?

Yes – evening speeds are the primary barometer for NBN plans, as that’s when they’re set to experience the most traffic on their servers. As such, they may not be at the maximum capacity with every ISP. If the bulk of your internet usage comes in the evening, you should look at your ISP’s evening download speeds to ensure you’re not missing out on higher-quality internet when you need it most.

Should I avoid lock-in contract NBN plans?

Usually, yes – lock-in contracts can prevent you from moving to a different and better ISP or plan while under the conditions of your current agreement. These usually last at least between one and six months. However, a benefit of lock-in contracts is that they may end up saving you money by waiving initial fees that are typically charged by no contract NBN plans.

Can I bundle my NBN plan with other services with the same provider?

Yes – bundling can be a great way for you to save money on not just your NBN plan, but other services as well. You may find a deal to take out your NBN plan alongside utilities and a mobile phone plan with the same provider and pay at a discounted rate for all of them.