- The NBN continues its rollout all across Australia.
- The NBN service is typically faster and more reliable if you have the right plan.
- We all use the internet differently, so the best plan for others may not be the best plan for you.
The NBN is an upgrade to Australia’s existing phone and Internet infrastructure. The NBN Co prides itself on being faster, more reliable, and accessible to 93% of Australian households. It is also more affordable, taking us all further into the 21st Century. However, trying to decide on the right NBN plan for you can be a little daunting, especially if you're not particularly familiar with how it all breaks down. Thankfully, it's not too confusing if you have a little help.
There are various speed tiers on the NBN network. Some providers offer all of the speed tiers to customers, and some only have a few. The speeds are expressed in terms of how fast your downloads will be during the peak period in the evening (7 pm-11 pm). Here are the speeds you can get and what they're usually called:
NBN 12: Basic I Speed Tier
- up to 12Mbps download speed
- up to 1Mbps upload speed
NBN 25: Basic II Speed Tier
- up to 25Mbps download speed
- up to 5Mbps upload speed
NBN 50: Standard Speed Tier
- up to 50Mbps download speed
- up to 20Mbps upload speed
NBN 100: Fast Speed Tier
- up to 100Mbps download speed
- up to 20Mbps or 40Mbps upload speed, depending on the plan
NBN 250: Superfast Speed Tier
- up to 250Mbps download speed
- up to 25Mbps upload speed
NBN 1000: Ultrafast Speed Tier
- up to 1000Mbps download speed
- up to 50Mbps upload speed
You will sometimes see the speeds depicted with numbers with a forward slash through them, such as "Standard Speed: 25/5Mbps". This refers to the download and upload speeds; for example, the "25" part refers to 25Mbps of download speed, and the "5" refers to 5Mbps of upload speed. Download and upload speeds can be vastly different simply because they are vastly different functions. Upload speed is what you need for sending files to/over the internet, such as sizable email attachments or a Dropbox folder. Download speed is what you need for taking files down from the internet, such as a downloadable PDF or TV show.
Mbps stands for "megabits per second", and it's how we measure download/upload speed. A megabit is equal to one million bits. Transmissions across computer networks are very commonly measured in Mbps, and it is how we also measure broadband speed. The higher the Mbps, the quicker your internet will work.
SO WHAT SPEED DO I NEED?
It very much depends on what you use the internet for...
- NBN 12 (Basic I Speed Tier) will prove to be beneficial for infrequent internet users. Rest assured that 12Mbps will already be enough for you to watch Netflix in high definition using a single device. But your plan may struggle to keep up if you intend to browse the internet while binge-watching your favourite show.
- NBN 25 (Basic II Speed Tier) is sufficient for single-person households. However, with a 25Mbps download speed, you may still encounter buffering when streaming 4K content.
- NBN 50 (Standard Speed Tier) is the best NBN speed for most because 50 Mbps should be enough to watch one 4K stream and a couple of other HD streams using different devices at the same time.
- NBN 100 (Fast Speed Tier) is the best NBN speed for large households because 100Mbps download speeds should be sufficient for each member of the household to get their work done. This is also a popular choice for most online gamers, streamers, and content creators.
- NBN 250 (Superfast Speed Tier) is the best NBN speed if you are an ultra-heavy internet user. With a 250Mbps download speed, you will pretty much get to do anything you have to accomplish online, at a blazingly fast speed.
- NBN 1000 (Ultrafast Speed Tier) is considered to be the fastest speed tier, but unfortunately, this is only available for areas with FTTP and select HFC connection technologies. Nevertheless, with speed this fast, it can be a waste of money for typical internet users, but it can prove to be beneficial for hardcore live streamers or gamers.
It's good to remember that it is easier to increase your speed than it is to decrease.
And when you're choosing, your provider and plan should definitely be aware of NBN's bare minimum requirements; the Australian Government's Statement of Expectations dictates that the NBN network must deliver a minimum peak wholesale download speed of 25 megabits per second (also known by its street name "Mbps") to all premises and at least 50 Mbps to at least 90% of all fixed-line services.
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