The rollout of the NBN continues throughout Australia. As its reach grows more extensive, the more accessible it also becomes in terms of budget. Today, several ISPs offer unlimited NBN plans that don’t weigh heavy on your finances. Expensive, tied to a lengthy contract internet is out, cheap, flexible plans are in.
Budget-Friendly NBN Plans
When you hear the word ‘cheap’ attributed to a service — an NBN connection, for instance — the monthly costs first come to mind. While affordability is where service gets its main appeal from, it’s also important to consider whether it’s one that is comprised of additional inclusions. As a whole, the monthly plan fees aren’t the only ones worth checking out. Extra services or features that are thrown in for free or at discounted costs as part of a single package can quickly transform an everyday NBN plan that doesn’t give much into one that’s amazingly affordable — and valuable. For instance, it used to be that getting connected to the internet also meant paying high activation and modem costs; and switching or cancelling a plan entailed extra fees. Fortunately, several telcos have since removed the charges for these and instead settled on offering simple, cheap NBN plans with straightforward monthly prices.
How Cheap Can NBN Go?
Really cheap. Customers who don’t need unlimited data can sign up for an internet service for as low as $50/month. Nonetheless, upgrading to unlimited data doesn’t seem like a grand idea anymore since a lot of ISPs today offer limitless internet plans for only around $50-$60 per month. That can even go cheaper if you happen to score promotional deals that slash prices for a substantial period of time. Getting a broadband connection with impressive speed is also made more accessible budget-wise. The ballpark figure for an NBN50 unlimited plan is usually $60-$70 each month. For NBN100, it used to be somewhere around a hundred bucks per month, but not anymore. Thanks to budget-friendly ISPs, heavy internet users or big families can score an NBN100 plan for less than $90 per month. Most times that already includes a home phone connection with unlimited calls.
Top 5 Cheapest NBN Plans
1. Telstra Unlimited NBN w/ Free BINGE & $10 Monthly Credit
Telstra’s NBN plans used to be more pricey than others, but that’s all changed now. There are two data plans currently on offer: 500GB NBN25 plan at $75 per month and unlimited NBN50 plan at $90 per month. Upgrading to the NBN100 speed plan with an unlimited data is at $110/month. Currently, the unlimited data plans are discounted, getting you $10/month off for 12 months.
Moreover, what makes Telstra’s plans valuable are the exclusive perks they provide. These include the Smart Modem with 4G backup and unlimited calls to local, national, and mobile numbers within Australia. Entertainment add-ons are available if you need them with no lock-in contract on all plans. If you purchase online, you can also score free connection service that’s usually at $99, plus free streaming with 3 months of free BINGE. Even more appealing for entertainment fans, Telstra is the #1 NBN provider for Netflix streaming from Jan 2019 to Feb 2020.
Last audited 13 October 2020
2. Southern Phone Broadband
Southern Phone is a natural choice when it comes to picking telco providers that offer reasonably priced NBN services. From $65/month, you can surf the internet fast and easy. The $65 plan delivers unlimited data on NBN25, which is just perfect for moderate internet use. Otherwise, you can always add $10 more to switch to an NBN50 plan, $30 if you want the fastest speed tier available configured on NBN100. You can change your plan once a month without charge as long as you don’t move below the original plan purchased. Southern Phone’s NBN selections aren’t only cheap; they’re also flexible with no lock-in contract on all plans.
Last audited 13 October 2020
3. MyRepublic NBN
MyRepublic makes it into the list because $59 per month already gets you unlimited data on the NBN25 speed tier with a phone line included. The plan also delivers up to 15Mbps typical evening speeds. If you’re a heavy internet user, whether you use your data for streaming and gaming or you just love the internet a lot, MyRepublic’s NBN100/20 plans are amongst Australia’s cheapest. For only $89 per month with or with no lock-in contract, you get an unlimited NBN plan delivering typical evening speed of up to 83Mbps. The 12-month plan, however, includes the AC1600 Modem for only $1 extra. Need more speed? Unlimited Home Superfast 250/25Mbps plans are also available for $109/month.
Last audited 13 October 2020
4. activ8me NBN
activ8me provides some of the cheapest NBN plans in Australia with NBN deals starting from $59.95/month, and that’s with 100GB data on NBN50 (43.02Mbps typical evening speed). For unlimited data, you just need to add $10/month extra. And if you need more convincing, activ8me offers no lock in contract on all plans as well, although signing up for 6 months can have your $98 setup fee waived. Need a phone line with unlimited local, national, and mobile calls? Get the activ8me VoIP add-on for only $20 extra. Want to enjoy greater speed? NBN plans configured on the 100/40 are also available for an additional $30 per month. For satellite broadband, activ8me offers the service from only $34.95 per month!
Last audited 13 October 2020
5. iPrimus Broadband
iPrimus offers cheaper NBN alternatives that start from only $65/month. At this price point, you get a 250GB data plan on NBN25 with 20Mbps average sampled evening speed. If you need unlimited data and a faster speed plan, it’s only $10/month more with the Unlimited NBN50 Plan. Unlimited data plan on NBN100, meanwhile, is only $90/month and delivers 82Mbps average sampled evening speed. For additional value, all of iPrimus’ plans already include a landline connection with pay as you go calls. You can add unlimited calling packs for an extra fee if you need it. What’s more, you can bundle entertainment via Fetch with any of iPrimus’ unlimited plans. For those who need more speed, iPrimus has also recently offered the Home Superfast plan (NBN250) from $130/month.
Last audited 13 October 2020
Summary: What’s the right NBN Plan for me?
In the end, it all depends on how much data you require, how fast you need it to be, and what inclusions you want to power your daily life. Today, it’s easier to meet all your internet essentials without compromising your budget. Several ISPs have unlimited NBN plans at affordable costs with waived activation fees and no lock in contracts. Eliminating lengthy commitments also ensures that there are no cancellation fees, either. You don’t even have to scour the web to look for great deals as they’re easily visible. Just figure out what you need and that’ll lead you to the right telco provider.
Frequently Asked Questions about NBN
For many years, Australia depended on a network of phone lines owned by Telstra, and broadband equipment owned by a handful of companies, for both home phone and internet services. Not only was it slow, it limited consumers’ choice of providers. The NBN – National Broadband Network – replaces that with a high-speed national network for all communications, which all providers can offer services on. That keeps prices down – and thanks to newer technology, speeds are faster than ever possible before.
The rollout of the NBN, started in 2010, is almost complete – so by now, most areas and households have either been switched over to it, or have access to it. There are a handful of properties around Australia that still can’t get the NBN, but even those will gain access eventually. You can check your NBN access and the type of connection you have using our interactive NBN rollout map.
Once the NBN is available in your area, you should get a letter in the mail letting you know you can switch over. At that point you can either contact your current provider to make the switch, or choose a new one – it’s good to compare NBN providers and plans before making a decision, as there are many great-value deals available.
Yes, usually they do. With the old copper phone network shutting down, your home phone will now work on the same connection as your NBN broadband and will need to be provided by the company that delivers your broadband. That’s not a bad thing – usually, you’ll find the home phone line is included at no extra charge. If you’re on Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) or Fixed Wireless NBN, you can have home phone and broadband with different providers, but the cost of doing so makes it better to stick with the one provider.
As a vast national network, the NBN itself is designed to never be “down” completely (though occasional technical problems can crop up). However, if you’re unable to access your NBN internet service it’s entirely possible that the NBN connection point you’re on may be having an outage, or your internet provider may be having technical issues. Your first port of call is your internet provider’s support line – they have access to all the info about the NBN and can tell you if there’s an outage and how long it may last, or get things fixed if there’s a fault in your service.
When the NBN is installed at your home or business, the NBN technicians will install all the things needed to get the connection into your home. Depending on your connection type, they will also possibly install a device known as a NTD where the connection enters the building, which is what you connect your modem or router to. With Fibre to the Curb connections, the NTD will usually be supplied by your internet provider, but sometimes may be installed when you have the NBN connected. In either case, it’s provided free of charge.
A vast broadband network that stretch across the entire country, the NBN works as a central hub that all internet providers can connect to via any of 121 connection points around the continent. It provides the pipelines and computing power needed to move data to and from each of those connection points, sending it to and receiving it from your chosen broadband provider. It’s an incredibly complex network that’s designed to be, for the end user, as simple as plugging a modem or router into a socket on the wall.
The NBN replaces the old copper phone network, and with it, your traditional phone line is also replaced. However, with some NBN technologies – Fibre to the Node, Fibre to the Curb and Fibre to the Building – existing phone lines are used to carry the NBN data from the street into your home. Because this is a far shorter length of traditional phone line, much faster speeds can be reached. When the NBN is installed at your place, the NBN technicians will make the needed changes to your phone line so it’ll work with the NBN.
While so far, most NBN connections have been limited to the NBN 100 tier as the top speed – that’s 100 Mbps downloads and 40 Mbps uploads – in 2020, new speed tiers were released, offering download speeds of 250 Mbps and 1000 Mbps (also known as “gigabit”). However, these speeds aren’t available for everyone just yet – in most cases, upgrades need to be made to the network to enable them for customers, and internet providers need to choose to offer them (at the moment, only a few do).
While you’re not required to have a NBN broadband connection or home phone if you don’t want one, the old copper phone network is being decommissioned and you will lose access to it once that happens in your area, making the NBN the only choice for wired broadband and phone. That’s not a bad thing, since it gives all consumers much more choice and cheaper prices, and the ability to switch providers easily without a lengthy waiting period.
There are several types of NBN in use around Australia, and which one you get depends on your location – you can’t choose which type you get. All connect to the same NBN in different ways and have different advantages and capabilities. To find out which type you have, search for your address on any NBN internet provider’s web site – it will instantly show you which connection type you have.
The NBN was a project started by the Rudd government a decade ago, and then modified and finished by the current government, as a publicly owned asset. At the moment, the NBN is still 100% government owned and run, but the longer-term plan has always been to sell it to recoup the huge cost of building it. While that will eventually happen, for the immediate future the NBN remains in public hands.
If you’re experiencing slow or unreliable broadband on the NBN, the actual NBN network is unlikely to be the problem. It’s possible your internet provider may be having technical issues or suffering from congestion, so call them first. It’s also possible that you’re suffering from a local fault, either with the cable out in your street or the cabling in your home; you ISP can help you diagnose that. If you’re using wi-fi, make sure you test your connection using a computer plugged into your modem/router via Ethernet first – wi-fi is notoriously prone to interference causing slowdowns.
TV and the internet are closely connected these days, and there are plenty of options if you’re looking to get some entertainment with your internet connection. Fetch TV can be added to unlimited plans from several providers (like iPrimus, mentioned above) or if you’re more of a streaming user, Telstra’s bundle pulling together a Telstra TV box, free months of Binge and Foxtel Now, a home phone and unlimited broadband is TV value that’s hard to beat for $99/month. Telstra also offers well-priced bundles with Foxtel included. You can check out all the latest TV and internet bundles on our comparison page.
If money’s tight and you’re looking to get connected to the internet without breaking the bank, don’t worry – there are affordable plans available, and while they won’t break speed records, they’ll keep you connected just as well. Belong Broadband – which uses the Telstra network – has its Starter plan available for only $55/month, which gives you slightly more than NBN25 speed. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that – and they include a wi-fi modem too.
What’s best overall is going to depend on your specific needs, but the plan which gives the most bang for your buck is Telstra’s NBN50 Unlimited Data plan. It bundles a fast, reliable connection, a modem with 4G backup, a home phone with unlimited calls, free connection and three months of free Binge (more if you join Telstra Plus!)