What is the NBN?

The NBN is the newest fixed line internet infrastructure being rolled out by the Australian Government, transforming the online experience for those around the country.

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, updated on September 22nd, 2023       

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The National Broadband Network, commonly known as the NBN, is the Australian Government’s initiative to upgrade and expand the country's internet infrastructure. It's transforming the way Australians connect, work and play online, but what exactly is the NBN and how does it impact your internet experience?

In this comprehensive Savvy guide, we'll break down the NBN, explain how it works and explore its various aspects, including its speeds and connection types. Whether you're a new homeowner, business owner or simply looking at making the switch, find out all you need to know with us today!

What is the NBN?

The NBN, or National Broadband Network, is a government-led rollout of new technology to upgrade and modernise the country's telecommunications infrastructure. It's designed to provide faster, more reliable and widely accessible internet connections to homes and businesses across Australia. The NBN replaces older copper cable ADSL networks with advanced technology, including fibre optic cables and fixed wireless and satellite connections, although copper is partly used in some cases.

This nationwide project aims to bridge the digital divide, even offering solutions to remote and rural areas where the internet wasn’t previously reliable. The NBN promises faster download and upload speeds, smoother video streaming than the previous ADSL infrastructure was capable of offering, as well as more reliable online experiences than connections using mobile networks, such as home wireless broadband.

What speeds does the NBN offer?

The NBN offers a range of speed tiers to accommodate different needs. Speeds can vary based on factors like your location, the type of NBN connection you have, and your chosen plan. Here are the typical evening speeds you can expect from each tier:

  1. NBN 12: Basic I Speed – Suitable for light internet users, offering speeds of up to 12Mbps download and 1Mbps upload.
  2. NBN 25: Basic II Speed – Designed for one to two-person households of moderate users, providing speeds of up to 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload.
  3. NBN 50: Standard Speed – Very popular among households with multiple users, offering speeds of up to 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload.
  4. NBN 100: Fast Speed – Tailored to the needs of heavy internet users, with speeds of up to 100Mbps download and 20Mbps or 40Mbps upload.
  5. NBN 250: Superfast Speed – For power users and small to medium businesses, delivering speeds of up to 250Mbps download and 25Mbps upload.
  6. NBN 1000: Ultrafast Speed – Geared towards tech enthusiasts and medium to large businesses, offering speeds of up to 1000Mbps download and 50Mbps upload.

With so much choice when it comes to speeds, the NBN offers users greater flexibility to select a plan which closely caters to your needs as an individual, family or business. Because of this, it’s essential to take stock of your internet needs before you commence the process, such as how much you use it and what you use it for, as this can help inform which plan is most suitable for you.

How do I connect my home or business to the NBN?

Hooking your home or business up to the NBN involves various connection types, each with its own installation process. Here's how you can connect to the NBN based on these different connection technologies:


FTTP (Fibre to the Premises)

FTTP is the most advanced NBN connection types. It involves running high-speed optical fibre cables directly to your premises. This provides a reliable internet connection, protected from speed degradation which occurs over copper cables. Data travels as pulses of light through these fibre optic cables, allowing for very high potential speeds and making it one of only two connections capable of supporting all speed tiers on the NBN.


FTTN (Fibre to the Node)

FTTN connects fibre optic cables to a nearby node in your area. The remaining distance to your premises is covered by existing copper phone lines. Data travels over fibre optic cables to the node, then switches to the copper lines for the last leg of the journey. FTTN can support speeds up to NBN 100 but may be limited by the quality and length of the existing copper lines.


FTTC (Fibre to the Curb)

FTTC is similar to FTTN but involves running fibre optic cables closer to your premises, typically to the curb outside your home or your driveway. The final connection from the curb to your home or business is made through the existing copper or coaxial cables. FTTC can provide higher speeds and reliability compared to FTTN because it reduces the reliance on copper lines, but can still only support up to NBN 100.


FTTB (Fibre to the Building)

FTTB is designed for apartment buildings or multi-storey offices. Fibre optic cables connect to the building's telecommunications room or basement. From there, existing copper cables are used to distribute the NBN connection to individual dwellings or offices. FTTB can support speeds up to NBN 100 but may be impacted by the quality of internal building wiring.


HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial)

HFC uses a combination of fibre optic cables and existing coaxial cables previously used for pay TV to deliver high-speed internet. Data travels via fibre to a nearby node, then continues over coaxial cables to your premises. HFC can provide fast speeds, potentially up to NBN 1000 like FTTP, but performance may vary depending on network congestion and the quality of the coaxial cables.

Fixed Wireless

Fixed Wireless

Fixed Wireless connects premises in rural and regional areas to the NBN using radio signals transmitted from nearby towers. An outdoor antenna is installed on your property to receive the wireless signal, which is then routed to an indoor modem. Fixed Wireless can provide internet access in areas where other connection types are not feasible, but speeds may vary from 12Mbps to 75Mbps for downloads.



Satellite NBN relies on communication satellites orbiting Earth. A satellite dish installed on your property sends and receives signals to and from the satellite. Satellite NBN is used in very remote and rural areas where other forms of connectivity aren’t available. It may offer speeds up to 100Mbps in some cases, but it may have higher latency compared to other NBN types due to the long distance signals must travel to reach the satellite and back.

The specific installation process for each connection type varies, with some requiring a technician and others not, but NBN Co or your chosen service provider will guide you through the steps required for your connection type.

How much do NBN plans cost?

The cost of NBN plans can vary based on several factors, and it's important to consider these when choosing a plan that suits your needs:

  • Speed tier: plans with higher speeds tend to cost more. For example, NBN 12 and 25 plans are the cheapest available, while NBN 1000 is the most expensive for those who have access to it (NBN 100 is the most expensive for those without FTTP or HFC connections).
  • Contract length: many providers offer no-contract, month-to-month plans, while others may offer longer-term contracts (such as 12, 24 or 36 months). Longer contracts might come with discounts or lower setup fees, but they can lock you into a plan for an extended period.
  • Provider: different providers offer NBN plans at various price points. Prices can vary based on the provider's reputation, included features and customer service quality.
  • Equipment costs: some providers may include a modem or router in the plan for free, while others charge extra for these devices. Make sure to factor in any upfront equipment costs.
  • Installation fees: depending on your location and provider, as well as the type of plan you choose, you may incur installation fees. However, some providers offer free or discounted installations as part of promotional deals.
  • Promotions and discounts: companies often run promotions, special offers or discounts to entice new customers. These can significantly reduce the cost of your NBN plan, at least for the initial period, but it’s important to consider how much this may cost you overall.
  • Bundling: some providers offer bundles which include NBN services along with other products like mobile plans, energy deals or entertainment packages. While bundling can save you money, it's essential to consider whether you need the additional services included.

To find the right NBN plan for your budget, consider your speed requirements, data usage habits, contract preferences and any additional services you might need. Comparing different providers and plans with Savvy can help you identify the most cost-effective option available which meets your internet needs.

Frequently asked NBN questions

How do I find out my NBN connection type?

You can find out your NBN connection type by contacting your internet service provider or by checking your NBN service order confirmation. Alternatively, you can use the official NBN Co address checker tool to determine the available NBN technology at your address. By filling out an internet quote with Savvy, you can also find out what connection is present at your address.

What is an NBN connection box?

An NBN connection box, also known as the Network Termination Device (NTD), is a device installed at your premises to connect your home or business to the NBN. It serves as the interface between your internal network and the NBN network, allowing you to access high-speed internet and phone services. Not all connection types require one of these to be installed, so check with your provider if you’ll need one of these.

What NBN is available at my address?

To find out what NBN technology is available at your address, you can use the official NBN Co address checker tool, contact your preferred provider or get a quote through Savvy. You can obtain details on the NBN plans and technologies available in your area.

What is NBN Co?

NBN Co, or the National Broadband Network Company, is a government-owned corporation in Australia responsible for the rollout and management of the NBN. It oversees the construction and maintenance of the NBN infrastructure and works with providers to supply broadband services to homes and businesses.

How is NBN different from 5G home internet?

The NBN and 5G home internet are two distinct technologies for delivering high-speed internet. NBN typically relies on fixed line infrastructure, while 5G home internet uses mobile network technology to establish a connection. NBN generally offers more stable and consistent speeds, while 5G can provide high speeds but may be influenced by network congestion and signal strength.

What are the other alternatives to the NBN?

In addition to the NBN, alternatives for internet connectivity in Australia include:

  • Home wireless broadband
  • Mobile broadband
  • Fibre internet provided by private companies (such as OptiComm)
  • Cable internet
  • Alternative satellite internet (such as Starlink)


These options vary in terms of availability and features, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your location and internet needs.

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Compare internet plans with Savvy

Regardless of whether you're looking for an internet plan for a one-person household or for your medium to large business, you can compare a range of offers from leading Australian providers side by side with Savvy. Get started with a free, no-obligation quote today!


Savvy is partnered with Econnex Comparison (CIMET Sales Pty Ltd, ABN 72 620 395 726) to provide readers with a variety of internet plans to compare. We do not compare all retailers in the market, or all plans offered by all retailers. Savvy earns a commission from Econnex each time a customer buys an internet plan via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased directly, as all purchases are conducted via Econnex.

Any advice presented above is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an internet plan. For further information on the variety of internet plans compared by Econnex, or how their business works, you can visit their website.