What NBN speed do I need?
That very much depends on what you use your internet for, and how many people you’re sharing your NBN connection with. But as a ballpark average…
0.5 Mbps - 1 Mbps is generally all you need for light internet browsing and for receiving and sending emails.
3 Mbps - 8 Mbps is around the amount of Mbps you’ll want to comfortably watch online video streaming services.
8 Mbps - 10 Mbps is roughly how much Mbps you will want if you’re playing an online multiplayer game.
25 Mbps is how much Mbps is recommended if you wish to stream videos in Ultra High Definition or 4K resolution.
What is the NBN?
Short for “National Broadband Network”, the NBN is a massive undertaking that was designed and implemented with the intention of upgrading Australia’s internet infrastructure. This is achieved by replacing Australia’s old copper line network - which was built for landline telephone communications - with a faster and more reliable fibre optic cable network, which was built specifically for internet communications. The NBN was spearheaded by the Australian Government, and it is built and operated by a government body named the NBN Co. The NBN has suffered several setbacks during its rollout, most notably severe budget cuts that were caused by a change in government. As a result of these budget cuts, the NBN is now a multi-technology mix. This means there are several different types of different NBN connections that are made of different technologies.
What are the different NBN connections?
Some NBN connections are known to work a little more reliably than others, but unfortunately we don’t get to choose what kind we get; this decision is made by the NBN Co, and is based on the location of our homes. This policy has since been colloquially called theNBN Lottery. However, if you find that your NBN connection is lacking, you can usually counter it by opting for an NBN package that has more data or a higher speed tier. It’s also important to remember that should you be experiencing problems with your home broadband service, your first and best call is to call your internet service provider directly to troubleshoot the issue. You may find that the problem is infrastructure, or congestion, or it might be something much simpler and more easily solved, such as a loosened cable or an object in your home blocking the Wi-Fi signal. The different NBN connections found around Australia are;
Fibre to the Node - Also referred to as FTTN, Fibre to the Node is a kind of NBN connection where the fibre runs to a node that is close to your home. The node then sends the NBN service into your home or office using a copper line.
Fibre to the Curb - Also known as FTTC, Fibre to the Curb refers to an NBN connection type where the fibre connection is extended via a Distribution Point Unity (or DPU for short) that is usually located in a pit or a street curb (hence the name) within close proximity to your premises.
Fibre to the Basement - Also known as Fibre to the Building or FTTB, Fibre to the Basement is generally what is used in communal buildings such as apartment complexes and retirement homes.
Fixed Wireless - This is the kind of NBN connection that uses data that is transmitted over radio signals to connect a home to NBN service. The data travels from a transmission tower into an outdoor antenna and then into an NBN connection box. Both the antenna and the NBN connection box must be installed by an NBN approved technician. A Fixed Wireless NBN connection is typically used in situations where there is a sizable distance between premises.
Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial Cable - Often abbreviated to HFC, is Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial Cable is a fusion technology that combines both coaxial cable and optical fibre cable. It’s a relatively new technology that’s been plugged on top of Australia’s old Pay TV infrastructure.
Fibre to the Premises - Also known as FTTP, Fibre to the Premises is a kind of NBN connection where the fibre is connected directly into your premises (hence the name), resulting in a speedy data transfer, making it one of the more efficient NBN connection types. It is also sometimes referred to as Fibre to the Home (or FTTH for short).
What are the different NBN Speed Tiers?
NBN plans are available in four distinct speed tiers that you can choose from when you first sign up to an NBN deal. The four different NBN speeds are as follows;
- NBN 12 - also referred to as Basic Evening Speed. NBN 12 plans give you a maximum download speed of 12Mbps, and are almost always the cheapest of the speed tiers. However, this is largely due to the fact that they are the slowest. An NBN 12 plan is an excellent choice for a light internet user who is budget conscious, but if you find that it is a little too slow for your day to day broadband activities, then you may find that you want to upgrade to a higher speed tier.
- NBN 25 - also known as Standard Evening Speed. NBN 25 plans provide you with a maximum download speed of 25Mbps and are a good option if you’re prone to video chats or online TV streaming (i.e. Pay TV plans).
- NBN 50 - also referred to as Standard Plus Evening Speed, the NBN 50 speed tier gives you a maximum download speed of 50Mbps, and is a good option for people who find that the speed of the NBN 25 isn’t quite cutting it for them. NBN 50 is ideal for large households as it can facilitate multiple devices simultaneously, which means you can upload and download files while the kids binge stream their Netflix or Disney +.
- NBN 100 - also known as Premium Evening Speed. The NBN 100 is the highest of the NBN speed tiers, which makes it the fastest, and also the most expensive. NBN 100 plans give you a maximum download speed of 100Mbps. They’re realistically not the right choice for low internet users or people trying to save money on their internet bills, but they are worth considering if you find you need that much speed.
Which internet service providers have NBN plans?
Pretty much all of them! Australia is home to all many reputable internet service providers (or ISPs for short), and as the NBN is now the most prevalent form of home internet broadband connection (at least at the time of writing), it is in their any broadband provider’s interest to offer a good selection of NBN plans. Major Australian internet service providers offering NBN plans include Telstra, Optus, MyRepublic, Belong, Dodo, TPG, iiPrimus, iiNet, and Aussie Broadband.
Which internet service providers have NBN 12 plans?
Most, but not all. As NBN 12 is the lowest and slowest NBN tier, some internet service providers don’t offer it, especially the providers that are more specifically focussed on high speed NBN plans, such as MyRepublic. But there are still many other internet service providers who do offer Basic Evening Speed plans, so there are still plenty of options for you to consider.
What are Typical Evening Speeds?
The Typical Evening Speed period is time between 7pm and 11pm, when most people are online, which means NBN traffic congestion is at its busiest - think of it as peak hour traffic but for your broadband. You are ultimately sharing your Mbps with every other NBN user who has the same connection and is online at the same time. So if a neighbour three doors down is binge streaming a Netflix show while you are trying to host a video conference call, your online activities might cause each other slower internet speeds; though it’s worth mentioning that those lags are more noticeable on lower speed tiers such as the Basic Evening Speed Plans, which is exactly why many people upgrade to higher NBN speed tiers. A Typical Evening Speed is a term used by NBN broadband providers to give you a better estimate of how fast their plans will be during Typical Evening Speed periods, with the understanding that those plans will be a bit (if not a lot) faster outside of that congested traffic period.
If an NBN 12 plan is the same speed as ADSL, can I just keep my ADSL?
Short answer: no - at least not for long. The NBN was designed to not only replace ADSL, but also completely phase it out. When an area has been fully upgraded to the NBN, all of the ADSL connections in that area are subsequently disconnected permanently. If you are currently on an active ADSL plan, you will need to be aware that it will be deactivated once your neighbourhood has had it’s NBN build completed and activated. You should be given 18 months notice before your ADSL service is cut off, and in that time you will need to prepare an NBN plan to replace your ADSL. It’s also important to remember that a switchover from ADSL to NBN is not an automatic process, and while some service providers will offer a carryover service, you’re advised to look around at other NBN options anyway, as you may find a cheaper, better deal with a different service provider. If you need help finding an NBN plan that suits your location, your budget, and your internet habits, give one of our broadband consultants a call on 1800 061 200 for some free NBN advice.
What is Mbps?
Mbps stands for “megabits per second”, which is the standard measurement used when referring to upload speeds and download speeds, with one megabit equalling one million bits. The higher the number of megabits per second on a speed tier, the quicker your uploading and downloading will be. To make things a little more confusing, Mbps - with a lowercase ‘b’ - is a different thing to MBps - with an uppercase ‘B’, as MBps refers “megabytes per second” and is most often used as a standard of measurement for things such as file sizes. So to quickly upload or download a file that had a high number of MBps, you’d want an NBN speed tier that had a good number of Mbps!
What’s the difference between uploading and downloading?
An upload is when you take a file off your computer/device and transfer it on or across the internet; for example, if you email an attachment to a colleague, or post a photo from your phone onto facebook, that’s uploading. Conversely, a download is when you take something off the internet and onto your device; for instance, when you open an email attachment that someone has sent you, or when you buy and load a new app, or if you save a digital album or movie onto your device - that’s downloading. Internet users tend to do more downloading than they do uploading, which is why internet service providers will usually just include an NBN plan’s maximum download speed; but obviously you want a plan that can facilitate both speedy uploading and downloading.
Compare NBN plans with Compare Broadband
Need more help choosing an NBN plan? Get in touch with us! Compare Broadband is a free service to all Australian homes, and we’re independently rated 5 stars by our customers with a Trust Pilot score of 4.8 out of 5 based on over 1,800 reviews. You can use our free online broadband search engine to search for NBN, ADSL, Cable, Naked DSL and Home Wireless plans, or you can speak with one of our trusty internet advisers directly for a free broadband consultation. Simply call 1300 106 571 between Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, or Saturday to Sunday 10am to 5pm. It’s fast, free, and friendly advice. Easy!