The best Satellite Internet plans on the NBN
Satellite Internet plans are often slow, expensive and offer a pittance of data but not every provider will rob you blind.
When most people think about NBN plans, they think about super-fast speeds in the city to stream 4K Disney Plus. But a huge case for the NBN’s initial rollout was the potential to deliver faster broadband to those in remote areas with satellite internet so rural communities could run their farms with IoT (Internet of Things) and connect their children to wider educational networks.
It would cost a lot to run fibre optics to every farm in Australia, so the NBN launched two high-speed internet satellites named SkyMuster and SkyMuster Plus. You can find more information on SkyMuster and SkyMuster Plus further down the page.
While speeds are much better than they used to be pre-NBN days, a thing to note with satellite broadband is that data limits are generally still not as great as fixed broadband due to capacity limitations. Satellite plans are still split into peak and off-peak data. For example, you might have a total of 200GB but only 75GB of data to use in peak times (e.g. most waking hours). The idea is that heftier downloads, such as TV shows and movies, should be scheduled overnight so they use your off-peak allowance. Most people opt for a plan that offers great value on more peak data, such as activ8me’s 300GB plan (which comes with 150GB peak and 150GB off-peak data).
When selecting a satellite broadband plan, you need to decide what’s most important to you: peak data, overall data, speed or value. We’ve picked the best satellite plans available for each category.
The best satellite internet plan for speed and value
SkyMesh 235GB Basic Plan
When you boil down the current range of satellite internet plans, there’s a clear winner for pure data-per-dollar value and that’s the SkyMesh 235GB SkyMuster plan. Its low monthly cost is complemented by a healthy total data offer and a feasible 50GB for peak usage. 235GB should be enough for a small household but you will have to manage your usage, especially during peak hours.
Adding to the overall value is the fact that this plan will get you Standard NBN speeds (up to 50Mbps) and even works out better value than most Basic (20Mbps) plans.
If you’re a larger household and need way more data than that during peak hours, you might want to consider our next recommendation.
Satellite vs Fixed Wireless
The best satellite NBN plan for peak data
activ8me 300GB Plan
While satellite internet access has become more affordable since the NBN rollout, broadly speaking, regional Australia still gets rorted when it comes to data caps. There are a handful of 300GB plans at the top end of the satellite range but even they are divvied up into peak and off-peak data.
Right now, your best bet for bulk peak time data is activ8me’s 300GB plan. Activ8me offers 300GB of total data comprised of 150GB of peak data and 150GB of off-peak data. That plan on Basic (25Mbps) will cost you $124.95 per month but it’s only an extra $5 to hop over to the $129.95 Standard (max 50Mbps).
If you’re forking out for that much data, you might as well make the most of it with Standard speeds.
For the sake of comparison, here are a few other high-data satellite plans but it’s important to remember the data totals below are all split into peak and off-peak.
Why are there off-peak and on-peak data periods?
These measures are put in by the NBN as there is only a certain amount of capacity or data that can be shared between everyone on the satellite network. By splitting up the data usage times between when it thinks most people will and won’t be on the network, the idea is that it will change people’s internet habits to spread usage out and ensure fast and reliable connections for everyone.
The cheapest NBN satellite internet plan
activ8me 150GB Plan
If you live in a small household or simply don’t use the internet a whole lot, there are a few budget options that give you access to the SkyMuster NBN satellite network for below $50 per month. The standout “cheap” NBN satellite plan has got to be activ8me’s 150GB plan.
At $34.95 per month, it’s one of the cheapest satellite plans on the market but it doesn’t skimp on the data. There’s a total of 150GB to use every month but your peak data is very limited at 15GB per month. So the majority of your downloads will have to be scheduled between 1:00 am and 7:00 am.
If you need just a little more data to use in peak times, here’s a small selection of low-cost satellite plans.
How does NBN satellite broadband get installed?
For you, the process of getting NBN satellite isn’t too dissimilar to how anyone would get an NBN connection, and simply involves checking you’re in a service area, finding the right provider and booking in a connection date. But let’s break that down a bit more:
- First make sure you can connect to an NBN SkyMuster Satellite plan. You can find that out by going here and running your address through. Although almost all homes in remote Australia that can’t access fibre, cable or fixed wireless NBN will be able to access it.
- Find the best plan for you. You can either take our recommendations above, or you can go here to take a look at all the best plans and find one for you.
- Book in an installation date. NBN says that it aims to have each home connected in less than 20 days after you first enquire on a plan, so hopefully you won’t be waiting too long. You will organise this directly with the internet provider you sign up with, who will guide you through it all on the day of connection too.
- Once your satellite is hooked up and configured by the NBN technician, your internet provider will provide you with a router to use to connect your devices to the internet with. This will usually be pre-configured so you’ll just need to plug it in and write down your new WiFi password.
Which providers offer NBN satellite internet?
With the launch of NBN’s SkyMuster lowering the cost of faster internet for rural Australians, more satellite internet providers have popped up in Australia. The full list of satellite internet NBN providers at the moment includes:
- Ant Communication
- Clear Broadband
- Southern Phone
- Harbour ISP
SkyMuster vs SkyMuster Plus
Standard SkyMuster plans are typically capped at 25Mbps but the pricier SkyMuster Plus can achieve speeds of up to 50Mbps when there’s enough capacity on the network. SkyMuster Plus plans also offer unmetered (e.g. not counted towards your data cap) for “essential services”.
NBN Co classifies email, updated for select operating systems and basic text and image data as essential and therefore unmetered. Non-essential services cover basically everything else, such as streaming YouTube or Spotify.