Satellite NBN Guide – Do You Need it and How to Get it?

Updated 15th August 2019

If you’re living or working in a remote part of Australian, in a rural town or on farmland – or on nearby lands like Norfolk and Christmas Islands – getting access to reliable broadband at a decent speed has been next to impossible. If you’re that far off the beaten track that you don’t even have fixed-line telephone service to connect via ADSL then you need to look to the stars for your internet.

Australian Satellite NBN Guide

The NBN was created to give all Australians access to a decent broadband connection, and a key element of that was satellite internet. Two separate satellites were launched in 2015 and 2016 with the sole purpose of delivering the NBN across Australia to anyone who needs it. Primarily for those in remote or rural areas of Australia. We are a massive country after all.

It may seem like an incredibly ambitious concept – the sheer cost of putting two satellites into orbit certainly didn’t make it cheap. But the original idea of the NBN – to bring fast broadband access to all Australians, no matter how remote – needed this satellite coverage to make sure nobody missed out just because of where they live.

The two satellites share a name thought up by school students that will benefit from them the most – “Sky Muster”.

What is Satellite Broadband?

The idea of connecting to a satellite for your broadband might seem weird – but technology has come a long way in recent years, and satellites are more capable than ever before. Foxtel’s satellite is sending pristine 4K video back to Earth 24 hours a day, a stream of data just like a broadband connection. There is one downside – because of the distance, satellite broadband operates with a fairly high built-in delay, known as “latency”. That means online activities that require near-real-time responses, such as online video games, aren’t ideal for this service. But for most stuff – everything from web browsing to streaming Netflix – satellite internet does the job incredibly well, even if you’re hundreds of kilometres from the nearest town.

How Do You Get Satellite NBN Connected?

Because the NBN’s satellite service is designed for regional and remote customers, you won’t find a huge amount of internet providers offering it as an option, since the majority of Australians tend to live in the major capital cities where connection options are aplenty. But one company that has spent a lot of effort on providing broadband and phone services to regional Australia is also the one that’s owned by the regional communities it serves – Southern Phone.

Get Great Value Broadband Plans with No Lock-In Contract!

Get connected today with Southern Phone Broadband, offering a great range of NBN plans for all needs and budget. Unlimited NBN plans start at only $60/mth ($5/mth off) and come with no lock-in contract.

Contact Southern Phone

To get set up with satellite NBN, all you need to do is get in touch with the Southern Phone team and have them check on whether it’s the best option for you. If you’re in a remote area, in most cases it will be – though many larger regional communities are served by fixed wireless connections instead, which runs from a dedicated land-based tower rather than satellite.

Get Installed

Once you apply for your connection, you’ll be given a date when an NBN technician will show up to install the necessary hardware. Even if you already have a satellite dish on your home or business, you’ll need a separate one for the NBN satellite service – it uses a newer, more advanced wavelength that existing satellite dishes cannot pick up.

The technician will install the dish either on the side or roof of your premises, and a special modem, known as an NTD inside. That’s the box you’ll connect to for your broadband.

The good news is, by the way, that there’s no charge for this rather expensive equipment. It remains the property of the NBN, but you won’t have to fork out the thousands of dollars it would otherwise have cost to buy it and have it installed.

What Satellite Plans Are Available?

With NBN satellite you get a choice between two speed tiers – NBN 12 and NBN 25. The lower speed is going to be perfectly fine for general internet usage – web browsing, email and so on. If you’re planning on streaming video or anything else media-related, though – or if multiple users will be on the connection – head straight for the faster NBN 25 speed. The price difference is minimal anyway. The top-end 300GB basic speed plan, for instance, is offered at $120/month while opting a speed boost will only increase your monthly plan fee to $125.

There are no unlimited-data plans on NBN satellite – that’s necessary to make sure it’s got enough capacity for all users. Instead, you can go for data limits ranging from 70GB to 300GB per month, with that limit split between peak (7 am to 1 am) and off-peak hours. So the 180GB plan, for example, will give you 60GB of peak data, and 120GB off-peak. With off-peak restricted to the small hours of the morning and a small six-hour window, most people will be best off picking a plan based on peak allowance, and in that respect, the lower-cost plans can represent great value.

If you’re planning on streaming HD video, though, be aware that once you go over your limit, you won’t get billed extra, but your connection will be slowed for the rest of the month to 128Kbps – that’s a glacially slow 0.1 Mbps!

What are the Standard NBN Options?

Since NBN continues to widen its reach throughout Australia, some of the country’s best broadband plans are worth noting. Providers like Mate, Barefoot, Aussie Broadband, Tangerine, Southern Phone offer unlimited NBN plans without breaking the bank. Barefoot and Mate both have unlimited NBN selections (starting from $59/month) to offer backed by their no lock-in contract and $0 setup fees appeal.

Southern Phone, apart from providing Satellite NBN, also stores competitive unlimited NBN plans from $60/month with no lock-in contract. Tangerine and Sumo’s offerings consist of unlimited plans with no minimum term at around the same price range. You can take advantage of some deals to get monthly discounts as well.

For hefty inclusions, you can count on Telstra to give you exactly that. Their NBN plans start from $70/month for 100GB and $90/month for unlimited data with no lock-in contract. Their unlimited data + streaming is also a solid option — it includes the new Telstra TV, the Smart Modem Gen 2, and $125 Telstra TV Box Office credit at $99/month on a 24-month contract.

NBN Broadband Plans

Unlimited Data
  • New customers: $10/mth credit for 6 mths
  • Free BINGE Standard for 3 months
  • Buy online: no connection fee
  • Unlimited Data
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 50Mbps Standard Plus Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 50™ Fixed Line
  • #1 provider to stream Netflix
  • Telstra Smart Modem included (with 4G back up)
  • $80/mth
After 6 mths, $90/mth
Min Cost - $2,100 when you stay connected for 24 months, and may change if the month-to-month plan price changes. New customers only.

nbn™ Unlimited Broadband Turbo
  • nbn™ Unlimited Broadband Turbo
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 50Mbps Standard Plus Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 50™ Fixed Line
  • Ideal for households of 3-4
  • For gaming & video streaming
  • $75/mth
Min Cost - $75 over 1 month

Unlimited 100/20Mbps Flexi
  • $14 off for the first 3 months for new customers. Ends 21/01/21.
  • Unlimited 100/20Mbps Flexi
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 100Mbps Premium Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 100™ Fixed Line
  • BYO Modem
  • Great plan for a larger household
  • For the first 3 mths $75/mth
For the first 3 mths $75/mth
$89 afterwards
Min Cost - $75 over 1 month

NBN Sky Muster - 200GB Sonic
  • PlayOn Cloud free for 3 months
  • NBN Sky Muster - 200GB Sonic
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 25Mbps Standard Evening
  • 200GB Data
  • NBN 25™ Satellite
  • 65GB peak, 135GB off peak data
  • No excess usage
  • $54.95/mth
Min Cost - $54.95 per month

NBN25 Unlimited - Month to Month
  • $10 off w/ electricity & gas on selected areas
  • NBN25 Unlimited - Month to Month
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 25Mbps Standard Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 25™ Fixed Line
  • Includes landline service w/ pay as you go calls
  • Pay as you go calls or add calling packs from $10/mth
  • $65/mth
Min Cost - $209.90 over 1 month (inc $120 setup & modem and $24.90 P&H)

Unlimited Data nbn50 Month to Month
  • Unlimited Data nbn50 Month to Month
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 50Mbps Standard Plus Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 50™ Fixed Line
  • Landline w/ pay as you go calls
  • Add Fetch from $10/mth with 1 free channel pack
  • $75/mth
Min Cost - $189 over 1 month ($99 setup & modem + $15 P&H included)

Last audited 18 January 2021

Is Satellite Worth It Compared to Other NBN Options?

In general, if you have access to any other form of NBN, it’s likely to be faster than satellite and possibly cheaper as well. But then, NBN satellite isn’t meant to be a choice – rather, it’s a service that’s there for people that otherwise wouldn’t have access to broadband at all. And while it’s possible of some use in less remote areas – for those with heavily congested fixed wireless services, for example, or no other NBN options on the horizon – for most people, other methods of accessing the NBN will be preferable.

For those living in the far-flung corners of this vast continent, though, the NBN’s Sky Muster satellite service brings real, reliable broadband to you no matter where you are – and at an affordable price.

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