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What are the best unlimited NBN plans?
The good news is that most NBN providers offer the peace of mind of unlimited data plans for various speed tiers, so the internet is always there when you need it.
As always, it helps to compare a range of plans and providers to see what is available and find the best internet plan to suit your needs.
These days, most Australians rely heavily on the internet for work, study and entertainment. With more people working from home more often, and a boom in internet-enabled devices for work and play, we're all using the internet more than ever before.
The more people in your household, and the more they rely on the internet, the more important it is to have a fast and dependable home broadband service. Thankfully, now Australia's NBN rollout is completed, high-speed internet is available in more places than ever.
An unlimited NBN plan is a great way to ease any worry about extra charges or slowed down internet speeds.
It allows you to join video conferences, download massive files, watch high-definition videos, stream music, play games and connect as many devices as you want.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at unlimited NBN plans to help you find the best value plan for your home.
Popular Unlimited NBN Plans
What to look for when choosing the best unlimited NBN plan?
An NBN unlimited data plan means you don't need to worry about using up your monthly data allowance, so the Internet is always there when you need it. But there are also other things to consider when choosing the best unlimited NBN plan for your home.
Unlimited plans naturally tend to be more expensive than capped plans. You're paying for that extra data, but you're also paying for the convenience of not needing to worry about how much data you use each month.
When choosing internet plans, the first factor we always consider is price to make sure it fits your household budget.
However, you shouldn't shop on price alone. While it’s very tempting to go with the cheapest plans, they're not always the most practical ones for your situation.
Most of the lowest-priced plans offer the slowest internet speeds or have some type of limitations, which means they might not be a great fit for your home.
Speed is probably the most important thing to consider when choosing an internet plan. Many online activities require fast internet speeds, both uploads and downloads, in order to run smoothly.
Unlimited data doesn't mean unlimited speed. If you think about it like water, your data allowance refers to how much water you can drink each month. Speed refers to water pressure – how quickly it comes out of the tap and how it copes if you turn on all your taps at the same time.
Keeping this in mind, the more devices you have using the internet simultaneously, the faster your internet connection needs to be. You need to allow for peak-hour usage, to ensure your internet connection doesn't slow to a trickle when you need it most.
For example, Netflix 4K Ultra HD content requires around 15 Mbps per second to run at the best quality.
If two people are watching their favourite Netflix shows on different televisions in different rooms, that means you need download speeds of at least 30 Mbps. And that's before you allow for all the other devices around your home using the internet.
If you're only on a 25 Mbps internet plan, for example, everyone will start to feel the squeeze.
Netflix will dial down the picture quality on both televisions to compensate, while all the other devices in your home will struggle with sluggish internet. You've created a traffic jam that your NBN plan can't cope with.
When you're choosing between NBN unlimited plans, you have a range of speed tiers from which to choose.
The good news is that, if your plan isn't fast enough, most internet providers will let you upgrade to a faster plan without any hassles.
Also keep in mind that these are maximum upload and download speeds. It's possible that your real-world performance will be slower depending on the broadband connection running to your home and how heavily everyone in your neighbourhood is using the internet.
If you live alone and you only use the internet for basic activities, then an entry-level NBN 12 plan might meet your needs.
A maximum download speed of 12 Mbps is enough for browsing the web, sending emails and checking your social media feeds, even though things might be a little slow to load.
You'll start to feel the squeeze if you try to do too many things at once, especially if you're streaming music or video.
Keep in mind that NBN 12 plans only offer 1 Mbps upload speeds, which won't cut it if you're working or studying from home. It will struggle with uploading large files or making video conference calls. Even FaceTime calls to friends and relatives will struggle.
Standard NBN 25 plans are good for small, budget-conscious households.
With a maximum download speed of 25 Mbps, it can handle the needs of one medium or two light internet users – allowing everyone to enjoy general web browsing, emails, social media and even standard-definition video streaming.
Things will start to slow down if you're streaming 4K Ultra HD video while trying to do other things online at the same time.
NBN 25 plans offer 5 Mbps upload speeds. This is enough to support one person making high-def video calls, assuming no-one else is placing demands on it like uploading large files. It will struggle if two people jump onto video conferences at the same time.
Faster NBN 50 plans are the most popular deal for households with three to four members, especially if they do a lot of high-definition video streaming and online gaming.
With a maximum download speed of 50 Mbps, it's enough that you won't have to worry too much about bandwidth hogs in your home choking the connection for everyone else. That could be someone downloading game updates or streaming 4K Ultra HD content in the lounge room and crippling your important business video conference in the home office.
If you work from home, an NBN 50 plan is a good option when setting up a home office. It comes with 20 Mbps upload speeds, ensuring you can simultaneously jump on video calls and share large files when working from home, without disruption to the rest of the household.
If you need super-fast NBN speeds without disruptions, an NBN 100 plan is the way to go.
Catering to four or more heavy internet users, with a maximum download speed of 100 Mbps, NBN 100 plans are designed to satisfy the needs of a household full of Ultra HD movie fans and active gamers.
It also handles high-definition video conferences and large file transfers with ease.
Everyone in the house can do whatever they want online at the same time – work, study or play – without fear of choking the connection for everyone else.
Some NBN 100 plans come with 40 Mbps upload speeds, while others reduce this to 20 Mbps. You'll pay a bit more for 40 Mbps, but it might be worth it if the way people use the internet in your home requires both fast uploads and fast downloads.
NBN 250 plans are designed for big households and/or super heavy internet users who really feel the need for speed.
Offering a maximum download speed of 250 Mbps, they might also be a good option if you need fast and reliable internet to run a small business from home with a few people using the internet at the same time.
It's worth noting that NBN 250 plans typically offer upload speeds of only 25 Mbps, which is a big step down from the 40 Mbps uploads you can get with a NBN 100 plan.
If there isn't an option to increase those upload speeds, some homes might find that the faster upload speeds of an NBN 100/40 service are more important than the faster download speeds of an NBN 250/25 service.
Also keep in mind that NBN 250 plans aren't available to every household in Australia. Only homes connected via Fibre to the Premises or HFC can access NBN speeds of more than 100 Mbps. Even then, access to higher speeds might not be available to every HFC customer.
In February 2023, NBN Co announced it is upgrading 10 million homes and businesses to Fibre to the Premises by 2025, unlocking access to faster speeds.
To receive a free NBN FTTP upgrade, homes and businesses currently on Fibre to the Curb or Fibre to the Node connections must upgrade to a minimum download speed of 100 Mbps.
NBN 1000 plans (also known as gigabit internet) are the fastest NBN services available to residential customers, dubbed "Ultrafast" internet.
NBN 1000 designed to satisfy internet users with extreme needs, perhaps including bandwidth-intensive home businesses. It comes with 50 Mbps upload speeds, again supporting upload-intensive activities.
Once again, keep in mind that NBN 1000 plans aren't available to every household in Australia – only those in certain areas on a Fibre to the Premises or HFC connection.
The speed and reliability of your home internet isn't just determined by your plan and the NBN technology which connects your home. Your choice of internet provider also comes into play.
For example, an NBN 100 service offers a maximum download speed of 100 Mbps, but usually you'll get a little less than that.
Internet connections tend to be their slowest in the evenings, when all the homes in your area are watching streaming video or undertaking other bandwidth-intensive tasks.
That's why internet providers are forced to advertise their actual "typical evening speeds", not just the theoretical maximum speed, to tell you what you can really expect between 7 pm and 11 pm.
This figure is worth considering if you expect decent internet speeds when you flop down on the couch at the end of the day.
Typical evening speeds can vary greatly from provider to provider, especially when looking at plans faster than 100 Mbps.
Internet providers can reduce congestion on their network and improve typical evening speeds by purchasing the right amount of bandwidth from the NBN. That's why, as a rule of thumb, the cheapest internet providers tend to offer the slowest typical evening speeds.
Providers can also vary when it comes to the range of NBN plans they offer, your choice of hardware such as a wireless gateway, the quality of their customer support and the kind of deals and bundles on offer.
Bundles or deals
Most internet providers bundle other products and services with their internet plans, and provide special offers to sweeten the deal, so it's important to check exactly what you get for your money.
Often, they'll knock off the installation fee and even throw in a wireless gateway if you sign up for a long-term plan.
Most offer internet phone bundles which include both internet and a home phone service. Some charge $0 for the home phone line connection, but require you to pay for your calls. Others add a monthly fee but include unlimited local, national and mobile calls.
Alternatively, most internet providers will also offer you the choice of an internet-only plan with no home phone service.
Many internet providers also offer mobile phone services and will bundle your internet and mobile phone on the same monthly bill. This can save you money and reduce the amount of bills and paperwork you need to deal with every month.
Several internet providers also offer pay TV deals, either with Foxtel or Fetch TV. They might even throw in the set-top box for free if you sign up for a long-term contract. A few also have their own exclusive streaming services.
How much should I pay for unlimited NBN?
Most internet service providers offer plans with unlimited data by default, since few people these days are looking for a plan with a data cap.
Given this, the factors you need to consider come down to the plan’s speed tier and cost. Plans at the NBN 25 speed tier can cost as little as $45 and as much as $70 per month, while those at the NBN 50 speed tier can go for anywhere between $55 and $80 each month.
Beyond this, plans at the NBN 100 speed tier can cost between $70 and $110 a month, with higher prices again for NBN 250 and NBN 1000 deals.
About the author
||Adam Turner is an award-winning Australian technology journalist, corporate writer and podcaster who has been writing for more than 20 years about the technology challenges facing Australian businesses and consumers.