What NBN Speed do I Need?

Find the right NBN Speed for your home. This quick guide to NBN speed can help you decide on the right internet plan for your needs.

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The National Broadband Network (NBN) is an Australian infrastructure project that is rolling out fibre optic, fixed wireless and satellite broadband services to homes and businesses across the country. It is an upgrade to Australia's existing phone and Internet infrastructure. The rollout is primarily complete and nearly everyone in Australia has access to fast broadband speeds.


TPG broadband provider logo
Broadband + Home Phone
10 GB
12 Mbps (Basic Speed)
Month to month
$29.99/Month
Min total cost $139.94
View breakdown
Harbour ISP broadband provider logo
Broadband Only
85 GB
25 Mbps (Standard Speed)
Month to month
$40/Month
10 GB On-Peak / 75 GB Off-Peak
Min total cost $40
View breakdown
Tangerine Telecom broadband provider logo
Broadband Only
Unlimited
25 Mbps (Standard Speed)
Month to month
$44.90/Month
$44.90 for first 6 months, then $59.90 ongoing
Min total cost $44.90
View breakdown
Exetel broadband provider logo
Broadband Only
Unlimited
Up to  12 Mbps
Month to month
$49.95/Month
for the first 6 months then $59.95/mth ongoing
Min total cost $49.95
View breakdown
TPG broadband provider logo
Broadband + Home Phone
100 GB
12 Mbps (Basic Speed)
Month to month
$49.99/Month
50 GB On-Peak / 50 GB Off-Peak
Min total cost $159.94
View breakdown
Harbour ISP broadband provider logo
Broadband Only
160 GB
25 Mbps (Standard Speed)
Month to month
$50/Month
45 GB On-Peak / 115 GB Off-Peak
Min total cost $50
View breakdown

Results explained

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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, deciding 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.

This quick guide to NBN speed can help you decide on the right internet plan for your needs.

 

 

NBN Speed Tiers

There are various speed tiers on the NBN network. Some providers offer all speed tiers to customers, and some only have a few. The speeds are expressed in 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 Speed Download/Upload Speed

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

 

Sometimes, you will 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 because they have 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.

 

What is "Mbps"?

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. 

A standard music file is around 3.5 megabytes to give you some perspective. With a broadband speed of 10Mbps, it would take approximately 28 seconds to download that song. 

However, if your internet speed was 50Mbps, it would only take six seconds to download the same file. Therefore, if you have higher Mbps, your downloads will be quicker.

 

What are Typical Evening Speeds?

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) uses the term 'typical evening speed' to describe the average speed that users can expect during the busy period between 7pm and 11pm. So, when you see an advert for an NBN plan with 'up to 100Mbps typical evening speeds', this is the average speed you can expect to receive during the evening peak.

NBN Co offers four different wholesale speed tiers - NBN 12, 25, 50, and 100 - with maximum download speeds of 12Mbps, 25Mbps, 50Mbps, and 100Mbps, respectively.

Your actual NBN speeds will vary depending on several factors. One of the most important is the technology type that your NBN connection uses. Below outlines the different types of NBN technology and their average maximum speeds.

 

Types of NBN Connection 

NBN FTTP

NBN FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) is the best type of NBN connection. It uses a full fibre optic line that runs from your local telephone exchange to your home or business, providing you with maximum speeds of up to 100Mbps.

With NBN FTTP, the typical evening speed is usually very close to the maximum download speed.

 

NBN FTTN

NBN FTTN (Fibre to the Node) uses a fibre optic cable that runs from your local telephone exchange to a node generally located in a street cabinet. Your home or business is connected to the NBN network via the existing copper network from the node.

NBN FTTN connections have maximum speeds of up to 100Mbps. However, the actual speeds you experience will be lower and will depend on several factors, such as the quality of the copper network and the distance from your home or business to the node. The typical evening speed for NBN FTTN is around 65Mbps.

 

NBN FTTB

NBN FTTB (Fibre to the Basement) is similar to NBN FTTN. Still, instead of connecting your home or business to the node via the existing copper network, the fibre optic cable runs to your building's basement.

The maximum speed for NBN FTTB connections is also 100Mbps. However, as with NBN FTTN, the typical evening speed is lower and will depend on the quality of the copper network and the distance from your home or business to the node. The typical evening speed for NBN FTTB is around 80Mbps.

 

NBN HFC

NBN HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial) uses a mix of optical fibre and coaxial cable to connect your business or home to the NBN network. The fibre optic cable runs from your local telephone exchange to a node, which is generally located in a street cabinet. Your internet is connected to the NBN network via the node's existing pay-TV or HFC cable network.

NBN HFC connections have maximum speeds of up to 100Mbps. However, as with NBN FTTN and FTTB, the actual speeds you experience will be lower and depend on many factors. For example, the quality of the copper network and your home's distance to the node. The typical evening speed for NBN HFC is around 90Mbps.

 

NBN Fixed Wireless

NBN Wireless uses radio signals to connect your home or business to the nearest wireless tower. The maximum download speed for NBN Wireless connections is 50Mbps. However, as with other types of NBN connection, the actual speeds you experience will be lower and depend on many factors. This includes the quality of the network and the distance from your home or business to the tower. The typical evening speed for NBN Wireless is around 25Mbps.

 

NBN Satellite

NBN Satellite is the technology used to connect homes and businesses in rural and remote areas to the NBN network. NBN Satellite connections have maximum download speeds of 25Mbps. However, the actual speeds you experience will be lower and depend on several factors, such as the quality of the network and the distance from your home or business to the satellite. The typical evening speed for NBN Satellite is around 6Mbps.

 

What is the Difference Between Speed Tiers?

NBN Speed Tier Poor NBN Speeds Great NBN Speeds
NBN Standard (NBN 50) 0 – 30 Mbps 40 – 50 Mbps
NBN Fast (NBN 100) 0 – 60 Mbps 85 – 100 Mbps
NBN Superfast (NBN 250) 0 – 110 Mbps 150 – 250 Mbps
NBN Ultrafast (NBN 1000) 0 – 250 Mbps 500 – 1000 Mbps

 

The main difference between NBN speed tiers is, well, the speed. Each tier offers a different maximum and average speed. The higher the tier, the faster your internet will be during the day and the evening peak.

You may be wondering why your internet would be any different during the day instead of night-time. Well, everyone is trying to use the internet at once during the evening peak (7 pm-11 pm), so the network slows down a little for everyone. That's just the way it is.

 

What is the Fastest Speed Tier?

The fastest NBN speed tier is, you guessed it, NBN 100. It has a maximum download speed of 100Mbps and an average busy period speed of 80Mbps. So if you want to future-proof your home or office internet connection, this is your tier.

Of course, you don't need to go all the way to NBN 100 if you don't want or need to. The beauty of the NBN is that you can pick and choose the speed tier that's right for you and your needs. Just because it's the fastest doesn't mean it's right for everyone.

 

How do I know what a good NBN speed is?

The short answer is that it depends on how you use the internet.

For example, do you only use the internet for checking emails and browsing the web? If so, you won't need a fast speed and could probably get away with an NBN 12 plan.

Do you download a lot of music and movies? If so, you will need a fast speed and should consider an NBN 50 or NBN 100 plan.

Do you work from home or play online games? If so, you will need an even faster speed and should consider an NBN 250 or NBN 1000 plan.

Keep in mind that the maximum internet speeds advertised by service providers are only achievable if your connection is running on the fastest NBN technology type available at your address.

 

Which NBN speed is right for me?

There is no definitive answer to this. It all depends on what online activities you engage with and your budget. 

If you want the fastest possible speeds, you should go for an NBN 100 plan. However, these plans can be pretty expensive. You can opt for an NBN 25 plan if you're on a limited budget. These plans are much cheaper than NBN 100 plans, but your speeds will be slower.

Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference and what you need from your internet connection.

Here's a quick guide to each speed tier and its capabilities:

 

  • NBN 12 (Basic I Speed Tier) will prove 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 simultaneously.
  • NBN 100 (Fast Speed Tier) is the best NBN speed for large households because 100Mbps download speeds should be sufficient for each household member 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 get to do anything you have to accomplish online at a blazingly fast speed.
  • NBN 1000 (Ultrafast Speed Tier) is considered the fastest speed tier. Still, unfortunately, this is only available for areas with FTTP and select HFC connection technologies. Still, it can be beneficial for hardcore live streamers or gamers.

 

It's good to remember that it is easier to increase your speed than decrease it. And when you're choosing, your provider and plan should be aware of NBN's bare minimum requirements.

For example, 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.

 

Compare NBN Plans at Compare Broadband

NBN speeds can be very confusing. So, if you're not sure which NBN speed is right for you, then head over to our comparison page. You can compare a range of different NBN plans from various providers.

We'll show you all the available plans at your address and help you find the perfect one for your needs. Just enter your address, and we'll do the rest!

Or, if you're not sure which NBN technology type is available at your address, then head over to our NBN Plans page. You can enter your address there, and we'll show you the fastest NBN technology type available at your location.

Not the "online" type? No worries! You can also give us a buzz on 1300 736 813.

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