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The best Satellite NBN Internet plans available in Australia

There are satellite internet plans that have a good mix of value and peak data.​

Brodie Fogg
Jun 21, 2024
Icon Time To Read7 min read

If you're looking to wrap your mind around the ins and outs of Australia's satellite internet landscape and compare satellite internet plans before signing up with a new provider, you've come to the right place. 

Unlike the best picks for fixed-line NBN (for metro areas) or even Fixed Wireless NBN, Sky Muster satellite NBN is the slowest of the three types. On top of this, peak and off-peak data allowances are used to manage finite bandwidth, data caps are the norm, and contracts are more common.


Compare satellite NBN internet plans

Sky Muster

The standard type of satellite internet in Australia is the Sky Muster plans. These are typically cheaper than the other options, but tend to be capped at speeds of 25Mbps and come with lower data caps.

Sky Muster Plus

The pricier Sky Muster Plus can achieve speeds of up to 50Mbps when there’s enough capacity on the network. Sky Muster Plus plans also offer unmetered (e.g. not counted towards your data cap) for “essential services”.

Sky Muster Premium

Sky Muster Plus Premium plans are able to burst up to 100Mbps download speeds when conditions allow for it. The rest of the time, they only guarantee 25Mbps typical evening download speeds and 5Mbps upload speeds.

What is Satellite NBN Internet?

Satellite internet is the broadband solution for a country as far-reaching as Australia, given the cost of laying fibre. While metro areas received NBN internet via fixed-line solutions, and certain regional areas are serviced by Fixed Wireless NBN connections, rural and remote places tend to be serviced by satellite NBN connections.

Best satellite NBN internet overall

Activ8me Sky Muster 155GB Sonic

By crunching the data-to-dollars value across plans, the Activ8me Sky Muster 155GB Sonic (up to 25Mbps) plan comes out on top (when you factor in the added speed boost). You'll get 20GB of peak data (7am to 1am) with a month and 135GB of off-peak data (1 am to 7 am) for scheduling overnight downloads. If you go over your monthly allowance, speeds are slowed to a symmetrical 128kbps for the rest of the billing cycle.

Here’s a handful of other popular Basic II satellite NBN options for those looking to compare satellite internet plans.

Photograph of a man using satellite internet on a laptop in rural Australia

The best fixed wireless NBN plans for remote internet access

If you're less than 14 kilometres from a Fixed Wireless NBN tower, fixed wireless could be your best option for getting faster broadband speeds at home.

Best budget satellite NBN internet plan

Activ8me Sky Muster 155GB Standard

When comparing the most affordable satellite internet plans, Activ8me proves to be a tough provider to beat. The provider’s winning Sky Muster 155GB Standard plan is charged at $39.95 per month.

In terms of speed, this satellite NBN plan is a Basic I offering, meaning speeds of up to 12Mbps. You also have 155GB of monthly data to work with, split across 20GB of peak (between 7 am and 1 am) and 135GB of off-peak data (between 1 am and 7 am), which means you should schedule bigger downloads overnight. 

Best big-data satellite internet plan

SkyMesh Ultra 25 Plan

As far as satellite internet is concerned, big data kicks in at around the 250GB point. There are plans that go beyond this, but the dollar-per-data value starts to disappear. With this in mind, the SkyMesh Ultra 25 plan is our pick this month at $64.95 per month. It has unlimited data, for both off-peak (midnight to 4PM) and on-peak hours (4PM to midnight).

There’s no contract and you can bring your own modem to save money if you’re churning from another provider.

This SkyMesh satellite internet plan is a Basic II service, which means you can reach speeds of up to 25Mbps. 

You can see other popular Basic II satellite internet plans below.

Best peak-data satellite internet plan

SkyMesh Ultra 100 Plan

It’s not cheap, but if you’re after the most amount of peak data to use during the bulk of typical waking hours, the SkyMesh Ultra 100 plan is a standout choice. You’ll be paying $104.95 a month, but it's a no-contract so you can always ditch it if it doesn't work for you. Plus, you'll get your first month free.

This plan includes unlimited data for the month, with no restrictions for peak or off-peak hours.

You will get evening speeds up to 100 Mbps.

Check out this winning unlimited-data plan next to the alternatives if you're looking to compare satellite internet plans and find the one that best fits your needs.

Satellite NBN versus fixed wireless

Satellite NBN might not be the only option for rural Aussies. If you're in an area serviced by satellite internet, there's a chance you might also be eligible for a fixed wireless connection. While you might not see a huge improvement in connection speed, the big selling point for a fixed wireless plan over satellite NBN is that the former typically come with unlimited data.

For a snapshot of the most popular fixed NBN wireless plans with unlimited data, check out the widget below.

Best-speed satellite internet plan

SkyMesh Ultra 100 Plan

The best-speed satellite internet plans are Sky Muster Plus plans and our pick of the lot is the SkyMesh Ultra 100 plan. Unlike some other satellite internet offerings, this plan includes unlimited peak and off-peak data allowances.

What is Sky Muster Plus Premium though? Sky Muster Plus Premium is a satellite internet service that unlocks uncapped data usage and the potential to reach speeds up to 100Mbps.

More than the uncapped data cap though, the real reason you might want to consider a Sky Muster Plus Premium plan is it has the potential to burst above the 25Mbps top-speed regular Basic II satellite NBN services cap out at. In some cases, you can get speed as fast as 100 Mbps.

What to look for in a satellite internet plan

Speeds, setup and Sky Muster explained

How fast is satellite internet in Australia?

Satellite internet is slower than its Fixed Wireless and fixed-line counterparts, and it’s more likely to still work on peak and off-peak logic, meaning data is separated into different times of the day. This is designed to preserve bandwidth, with the logic being that bigger downloads are scheduled overnight during off-peak times – when fewer people are competing for that finite satellite internet bandwidth – which frees up peak times for a smoother online experience.

How does NBN satellite broadband get installed?

For you, the process of getting NBN satellite internet 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 a connection date. But let’s break that down a bit more:

  1. First, make sure you can connect to an NBN Sky Muster 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Book an installation date. NBN says that it aims to have each home connected in less than 20 days after you first enquire about 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.
  4. 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.

Satellite NBN versus home wireless broadband

Not getting the speeds you need from either Satellite NBN or a fixed wireless connection? Home wireless broadband might be the next thing to try. This type of internet plan is powered by the same 4G and 5G networks that your phone uses. The biggest advantage that this option has over satellite NBN is that its typically more affordable. However, much like a mobile plan, your mileage is going to vary based on your provider and how much coverage they have in your area.

For a snapshot of the most popular home wireless broadband plans, check out the widget below:

Satellite NBN vs Starlink

Following its arrival in 2021, rural Australians now have a whole new satellite internet option to choose from in the form of Elon Musk's Starlink.

Starlink satellite internet has already begun rolling out across Australia, covering parts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Hobart. 

Customers pay $139 per month for unlimited downloads with speeds of up to 200Mbps. 

There is a hefty setup and hardware fee of $924 (and $115 in shipping and handling) but if the early reports are anything to go by, Starlink will be a solid alternative for Satellite NBN customers for several reasons.

Firstly, Satellite NBN plans still enforce strict data limits and peak/off-peak usage. Secondly, Satellite NBN only advertises speeds up to 25Mbps. It does have the potential to boost higher than that but it's subject to network capacity.

In contrast, early reports suggest that Starlink may be able to offer much faster speeds. Testing done by Ookla found Starlink customers in Australia had a median download speed of 141.55Mbps in quarter four of 2021, and a median upload speed of 14.84Mbps.

Even if Starlink is becoming more widely available, it still feels too early to make a definite call on how it compares to Australia's existing satellite internet options. On paper, it has the makings of a reliable alternative to the NBN. All the same, the sample size of Australians using Starlink remains frighteningly small relative to the other options. It's worth keeping an eye on, but hard to recommend without reservations.

icon-expertise

How we choose the best satellite internet plans

When picking the right satellite NBN plan for your home, it’s worth weighing up overall data, peak data inclusions, internet speed and value. We’ve factored in these considerations for our category winners.

For reference, there are currently 11 providers of NBN satellite internet in Australia:

  • Activ8me
  • ANT Communications
  • Bordernet*
  • Clear Broadband
  • Harbour ISP
  • iiNet*
  • IPSTAR
  • reachnet
  • SkyMesh
  • Southern Phone
  • Westnet*

* These providers only sell regular NBN satellite internet, while the others also offer Sky Muster Plus plans.

Does Telstra provide NBN satellite plans?

Not yet, but it soon will.

Telstra does not currently offer satellite NBN, but that's set to change in a big way.

In March 2022, the company announced it plans to move into the satellite internet space in partnership with global satellite operator OneWeb. Just over a year after that, Telstra confirmed that it this partnership would bring upgrades for Telstra's regional mobile network that'll eventually allow it to sell fixed broadband services similar to Starlink.

Details on what this service will look like, how much it'll cost and how it'll compete against both existing satellite internet brands and options like Elon Musk's StarLink remain unclear. However, Telstra has also inked a seperate partnership with Elon Musk's Starlink to sell home phone and home phone plus internet plans powered by the satellite service provider before the end of 2024.

Telstra doesn't provide NBN satellite plans yet, but it sounds like it is only a matter of time.

Satellite NBN internet FAQs

What's the difference between satellite NBN and Fixed Wireless NBN?

Before you sign up for Satellite Internet, it's worth asking whether you're eligible for Fixed Wireless. Why? Well, in short, Fixed Wireless offers faster speeds and more affordable plans over the 4G mobile network. To be eligible for Fixed Wireless, you must live within 14km of a Fixed Wireless NBN tower. Head over to our guide for more information on Fixed Wireless NBN.

How good is satellite internet in Australia?

Satellite internet is not as good as a traditional NBN connection. There's no getting around the reality that a fixed-line NBN service will typically deliver faster speeds, and larger data caps at a lower cost to the consumer. However, the key advantage that satellite internet has is coverage. There are plenty of places in Australia where the NBN doesn't reach. For those living in these locations, satellite internet isn't going to be a perfect option, but it's certainly better than the alternative.

Is satellite NBN getting upgraded?

NBN Co will use 5G technology to upgrade the Fixed Wireless portion of the network in the coming years. The upgrades will extend the Fixed Wireless footprint by up to 50%, allowing around 120,000 premises that could previously only get Satellite to order a much faster connection with a higher data allowance. Once the upgrades are finished, NBN Co plans to increase the average monthly data allowance for non-Plus Sky Muster plans to 90GB.

How much does it cost to install satellite internet?

These days, many NBN providers include installation free of charge when you sign up for a satellite internet plan. At the time of writing, this is the case for Skymesh, Activ8me and IPSTAR. Apart from the monthly cost of the plan, it shouldn't cost you anything extra to set up an NBN satellite connection.

What counts as on peak or off-peak data?

If you're using an unmetered satellite NBN plane then using social media, downloading games or software updates, sending emails, music streaming and more won't toward either your peak or off-peak data. The only online activities that count toward your data usage are any traffic through a VPN, video streaming through any service, and TikTok. 

See this month's best NBN plans

Every single month, the team of editors and database managers at Reviews.org meet up to score and rank the very best NBN internet plans in Australia. 

Most popular satellite internet plans

Below is an updating list of the 10 most popular satellite internet plans (with at least 50GB of data).

Brodie Fogg
Written by
Brodie Fogg is the Australian editorial lead at Reviews.org. He has covered consumer tech, telecommunications, video games, streaming and entertainment for over five years at websites like WhistleOut and Finder and can be found sharing streaming recommendations at 7NEWS every month.

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