- Cable broadband speeds are generally up to 30Mbps and up to 100Mbps with a speed pack
- NBN broadband speeds start at up to 12Mbps through to up to 100Mbps on the highest speed tier
- Cable speeds are more affected by the number of people online at the same time
With the continued NBN Rollout, many people are still unaware of the difference between the NBN and current internet services such as Cable Broadband. In many ways, cable broadband is fairly like the service that you will get with the NBN. The biggest difference between the two technologies is the connection between the node and your home which may affect the speeds you receive.
Cable vs NBN
Cable broadband runs a coaxial cable from the node to your home. This is the same technology used for TV services like Foxtel.
The average cable broadband speed can be measured at around up to 30 Mbps, but this will decrease the further your house is away from the node and you may experience slower speeds during peak times as all users on that node share the same pipe for the internet data. NBN does not have this problem as users are not grouped into nodes like the cable network. For the NBN, your home is connected to the network via a fibre optic cable which delivers fast and consistent speeds no matter how far away you are from the exchange.
There are several connection technologies for the NBN, but the most common is Fibre to the Node (FTTN). With FTTN, your home is connected to a node via a copper line which may affect your speeds. The speeds you can expect with FTTN are around 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload. However, if you want faster speeds then you need to be in an area implementing a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) connection technology which gives you speeds of up to 1000Mbps.
With FTTP, the fibre optic cable runs all the way from the exchange to your home which gives you fast and consistent speeds. The average speed you can expect with FTTP is around 1000Mbps but this may vary depending on your internet usage. For most people, the FTTN connection will be more than enough, but if you want the fastest speeds possible then you need to be in an area with FTTP
There is also the Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connection which uses the existing pay-TV or cable network. The HFC network is being upgraded to support the NBN and speeds of up to 1000Mbps are possible with this technology.
The speeds of cable broadband you can get can be as high as 100 Mbps if you pay for the additional speed pack and also with the NBN, you can receive speeds on the highest tier plans of up to 1000 Mbps for as long as the connection technology allows it.
While it may seem that these options are similar in their capacities and capabilities, the reality is that once the NBN is rolled out in your area, the NBN will be the superior connection and you will have 18 months to transition to the NBN before your cable connection is switched off. This is because the NBN is a fibre optic network that is much faster and more reliable than the existing copper network. So, if you're looking for a fast and reliable connection, make sure to switch to the NBN when it's available in your area.
If you do not have the NBN in your area, Cable broadband is still considered to be the best internet connection available. You can view the current plans available for Cable broadband plans here and current NBN broadband plans here.
Summary of differences between NBN and Cable:
- Download speeds are quite comparable but the NBN can now deliver speeds of up to 1000Mbps provided the connection technology allows it.
- Cable broadband speeds may be affected during peak periods as users on the same node share the same pipe for internet data. Meanwhile, NBN users are not grouped into nodes so this is not a problem.
- Whilst currently cable and NBN are comparable in performance the continued work of the NBN Rollout will see the NBN being a far superior service than Cable in the future. Keep in mind that with the NBN rollout almost complete, your Cable connection will be switched off in around 18 months.