The long, complex roll-out of Australia’s new National Broadband Network – the NBN – is nearing its 2020 completion date, and the majority of Australians are now either connected to it or ready to make the switch from ADSL. While it has not been without its share of controversy, the NBN brings something to Australian internet users they’ve never had before – real competition and real choice when it comes to providers. As a result, there’s a huge range of providers looking to get you as a customer. More than ever, comparing all the options available to you is a must, so you win out on both service quality and value.
The Best NBN Deals Compared
- Best Telstra NBN: Telstra Entertainment + Unlimited Data
- Best Southern Phone NBN: Southern Phone Unlimited Turbo NBN
- Best MyRepublic NBN: MyRepublic Unlimited Essential
- Best activ8me NBN: activ8me 50Mbps NBN
- Best iPrimus NBN: iPrimus Unlimited nbn50
If the NBN has arrived in your area and you’re looking for the best value plans to choose from, you’ve got plenty of options – but these are some of the most popular deals around at the moment:
Telstra Entertainment + Unlimited Data + Free BINGE & Foxtel Now
We’re really big on this superb-value broadband bundle from Telstra because it basically provides everything you need to get connected and get streaming your favourite shows for a single price. The $99/month plan gets you a rock-solid 50 Mbps NBN connection on Australia’s largest broadband network, a home phone line with unlimited calls, the latest Telstra Smart Modem with automatic 4G wireless backup, the Telstra TV 3 streaming box plus 10,000 Telstra Plus rewards points to put towards some new toys, and a whole bunch of perks including cheap movie tickets. It’s hard to beat this bundle for value considering you also get a free connection fee worth $99. Speaking of entertainment, Telstra is Australia’s #1 NBN provider for Netflix streaming and all internet plans also include a whole month of Foxtel Now free of charge. And as a postpaid consumer you even get three months of free BINGE subscription for more streaming choices.
Last audited 22 September 2020
Southern Phone Unlimited Turbo NBN
One of the most community-focused internet providers in the country – it’s actually owned by regional communities – Southern Phone delivers great value for those looking for a quality broadband connection on the NBN without the big-dollar monthly bill. This speedy 50 Mbps NBN plan fits the bill nicely, getting you set up for HD streaming without breaking the bank – and with no lock-in contract.
Last audited 09 September 2020
MyRepublic Essential NBN
MyRepublic used to focus on delivering NBN100 plans but they have since offered lower speed tier plans to fit your every need. The Essential NBN50 plan, for instance, provides fast internet with typical evening speeds of 43Mbps for only $69/month. This can be locked in to a 12-month contract, which makes you eligible for an AC1600 Rental Modem for only $1. All of MyRepublic’s NBN plans also include a landline connection with pay as you go calls.
Last audited 09 September 2020
activ8me 50Mbps NBN
Offering some of the cheapest Broadband plans in Australia, activ8me can set you up with a 50 Mbps (41.92 typical evening speed) NBN service for a mere $59.95 per month with 100GB data. You can upgrade this to unlimited for an extra $10 so you never have to worry about bingeing too much Netflix! Sky Muster plans are also on offer from only $34.95 per month.
Last audited 07 September 2020
iPrimus Unlimited nbn50
iPrimus and their variety of NBN selections help customers build a plan of their choosing. There are three speed tiers, two data limits, and two contract terms to choose from, making it easier to figure out what you need in a broadband plan. The unlimited nbn50 plan comes as one of their popular packages. For only $75/month, you get uncapped data that is also fast with average sampled evening speed of up to 41Mbps. Plus all of iPrimus’ internet plans also include a phone line with pay as you go calls. Even better, unlimited plans can be bundled with Fetch TV from only $10/month!
Last audited 15 September 2020
Find the Best NBN – Compare and Save
Now that you’ve got your free choice of any broadband provider offering an NBN service, the power is very much in your hands! Be sure to check out the wide range of plans and offers available, check out some broadband reviews and then pick the plan that works best for you. Choose wisely and you’ll be saving money while you surf!
The NBN Rollout
It’s probably going to come as no surprise that Australia’s largest cities also have the largest number of premises making the switch to the NBN. But the rollout across a vast range of different environments has required a variety of technologies to best suit different places. For example, Sydney presented some very real challenges, thanks to the city’s sheer sprawl and its wide range of obstacles to one or more of the technologies being used. Melbourne, meanwhile, was lacking high-speed internet connectivity in its grid-like CBD, where HFC cables were never rolled out. While the original plan for the NBN was to mostly use fibre to the premises (FTTP), those plans changed early in the process to a mix of different connection types that depend on the layout of the area and whether existing cabling is available (such as the HFC cables previously used for pay TV).
The large scale NBN rollout, then, has seen those originally planned FTTP connections joined by Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) which, along with HFC (cable) are the main connection methods now being deployed, with Fixed Wireless filling in spots where wired coverage is impractical and satellite covering remote areas. As it nears completion, the switch to the NBN has seriously picked up pace. Just over 10 million premises were ready to connect as of November 2019, with 6.2 million already connected. Considering the sheer number of people across the breadth of Australia, the number of premises still waiting for the NBN is incredibly small – only around 330,000. The last stages of the rollout heading into 2020 will be bringing those premises onto the network as well.
With the wide rollout of the NBN, the opportunity for real competition between internet providers has come about for the first time. Previously, customers would either be locked a single provider (as cable broadband customers were) or connected with hard-to-switch ADSL. But with the NBN owned by the government, dozens of broadband providers are able to compete to get you as a customer – and you have the power to easily switch if you’re not happy.
NBN Speeds Explained
When it was originally planned, the NBN was to be a full-fibre optic network that would bring the high speed broadband pipe right into peoples’ homes. When the switch was made to a “mixed technology” model in 2013, though, some of the alternative methods of connection that were chosen were not quite as capable speed-wise.
Not that it will matter to most people, as speeds of up to 100 Mbps – nearly five times faster than the fastest possible ADSL connection – are easily attainable on most of the technologies being used, with only Fibre to the Node (FTTN) being dependent on distance (in this case, how far the customer is from the on-street node). With the addition of new equipment, the NBN is planning to boost that speed as high as 1000 Mbps in some cases.
For now, though, speeds higher than 100 Mbps are available mostly only with Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) with at least one provider offering download speeds up to 250 Mbps and uploads at 100 Mbps. Not to be out done, though, some competing networks – including private “Fibre to the Building” networks and new fixed wireless providers – are aiming to win customers with speeds higher than the NBN.
Wireless Broadband vs NBN
Any new player in the market wanting to roll out their own network is going to be facing an uphill battle – not least, the sheer cost of rolling out underground cables to connect customers. TPG, Australia’s largest broadband provider, has spent years rolling out their own fibre optic network in capital cities to deliver a FTTB service to apartment buildings, but it has cost them a huge amount of money to do so, and has met with some objections from NBN stakeholders. That’s why we’re seeing many new entrants into the market using wireless broadband instead, setting up their own private fixed wireless transmitters to connect directly to customers in the areas they cover.
Done right, fixed wireless broadband can be very fast indeed; the NBN uses fixed wireless itself in some areas, but limits its speed to 25 Mbps. Rival wireless broadband providers often aim for much faster speeds than that, though. A couple of promising examples of ISPs that specialise in wireless broadband are:
Spirit: A company promising “sky-speed internet” which delivers services to both apartment buildings and businesses, Spirit offers some very tempting prices and speeds as an alternative to wired broadband. With all their residential plans offering unlimited data and symmetrical speeds (in other words, download and upload speeds are the same) it’s hard to resist a 50 Mbps connection for only $55 per month. Those needing more speed can bump up to 100 Mbps for $65 or a speedy 200 Mbps for $135 per month. If you’re in their coverage area, Spirit looks like a very real alternative.
Lightning Broadband: A Victorian company that’s branching out interstate, Lightning was one of the first providers to promise genuinely high speed fixed wireless broadband, and they continue to do so today, leveraging the latest 5G technology. Their wireless plans range from 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps and while they’re not cheap, the company does have a long track record of being rather good at wireless broadband. They also offer extremely fast FTTB connections to selected buildings – up to 500 Mbps.