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NBN alternatives: Your best Non-NBN internet options

Escape your internet woes with these NBN alternatives.

Nathan Lawrence
Aug 31, 2023
Icon Time To Read5 min read

In the market for an NBN alternative? You're probably not the only one.

Now that the NBN rollout is complete, there’s a very good chance your home can sign up for an NBN plan to get online. But while the NBN is the main source of broadband in Australia these days, it’s not the only kind. Let’s look at the other non-NBN broadband options that you can still consider in 2023.

Which internet is in my area?

Use the tool above to see which NBN alternatives are available at your address. Enter your street address, then confirm it from the dropdown options. Optionally, select the monthly data you’d like with an internet plan, then click or tap on the ‘Search’ button. On the results page, look for the blue bar near the top and hover over or tap the ‘i’ information icon to see connection and technology details. The results from our comparison engine will then be tailored to the plans available to your home.

5G Home Internet

If you’ve got a strong great 5G reception in your area, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to sign up for a home wireless broadband plan that uses the technology. This NBN alternative is basically a combination of typical home internet and mobile internet, which uses mobile data to connect to a dedicated modem router.

Depending on your circumstances, a 5G home wireless internet connection can technically hit speeds of up to 1000Mbps. However, some are speed-capped at 250Mbps and performance can vary depending on your location and network provider. For a sense of your options, check out the daily updating list of 5G home internet providers from our comparison engine, sorted by price.

4G home internet

If you don't have 5G connectivity in your local area just yet or don't need the faster speeds it offers, chances are you might be able to get by with 4G Home Internet as an NBN alternative instead. As with 5G home internet, this form of broadband is basically a combination of typical home internet and mobile internet, which uses mobile data to connect to a dedicated modem router.

The main differences here are price and speed. 4G home internet plans are cheaper than their 5G counterparts. Unfortunately, they're also slower. 4G home wireless internet connections can offer speeds of up to 100Mbps, but most are capped out by providers at around 25Mbps. This means they're a good internet option for households of one or two people but a bad fit for bigger homes or more demanding consumers. If you're sold, check out the daily updating list of home wireless internet plans from our comparison engine sorted by price.

5G mobile broadband

Mobile broadband is less built for use around the home and more meant to travel with you, typically for SIM-capable devices, including compatible tablets and laptops. Mobile broadband in its purest form is just a SIM card, but certain providers may offer a dongle modem to connect to a computer or a pocket WiFi modem router to share mobile data while out and about.

You can expect download speeds of up to 250Mbps for 5G plans, all of which use the same respective mobile networks of mobile phone plans. Below is a daily updated list of mobile broadband plans from our comparison engine, sorted by price.

4G mobile broadband

4G mobile broadband isn't all that different from 5G mobile broadband. As far as NBN alternatives go, it's a little slower. Then again, it's a bit cheaper. You can expect download speeds of up to 48Mbps for 4G plans, all of which are powered by the same respective mobile networks as a provider's mobile phone plans.

Below is a daily updated list of 4G mobile broadband plans from our comparison engine:

Satellite internet

Starlink in space

Sky Muster satellite NBN is only available to remote and offshore areas of Australia, but there’s another form of satellite internet circling Australia. Starlink used to be only available to rural homes but it’s now available for most homes in Australia.

If the prospect of download speeds up to 150Mbps (and, reportedly, 300Mbps in the future), incredibly low latency and no data caps sounds like a solid NBN alternative to you, head over to the Starlink website and enter your address to order an unlimited-data service.

Cable internet

Cable internet was the speedier successor to ADSL, though its availability wasn’t as widespread as the copper-based internet tech. With cable internet, plans can reach download speeds of up to 350Mbps, which is faster than the second-fastest NBN plan (NBN 250). These speeds are achieved by using the extra bandwidth in the coaxial cable network, which is used to deliver pay TV services like Foxtel.

Cable internet uses a separate cable modem that then connects to a router via Ethernet cable. A coaxial cable is screwed into the back of the cable modem from a coaxial wall outlet in the home, while a compatible router will usually have multiple Ethernet ports and WiFi to share the cable internet around the home.

VDSL2 internet

While very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) technology is used to connect Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) and Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) NBN homes, it’s also a service sold by iiNet to eligible areas. VDSL2 is the latest version of DSL broadband, which has the potential for faster speeds via the digital portion of the copper telephone network. If you’re in an eligible area, you can reach download speeds of up to 74.2Mbps. Check out iiNet’s VDSL2 plan below:

Like its ADSL forebearers, VDSL internet plans use a modem router to get online. Connect a telephone cable between a VDSL-compatible modem router and a telephone wall outlet to share the internet around your home (the iiNet plan comes with a Dual AC WiFi Modem).

Private fibre internet

The reason the majority of NBN homes in Australia can sign up for plans with download speeds up to 100Mbps is because of fibre, which is natively faster than manipulating the digital portions of copper telecommunications wiring. To get full fibre speeds, though, you need to be in a Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) NBN home. Alternatively, if you’re in an area with private fibre solutions from providers like Activ8Me, TPG, Aussie Broadband, iiNet or Exetel, you can sign up for full-fibre plans, potentially with speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

Check out some examples of non-NBN fibre plans from our comparison engine below:

Like NBN FTTP, non-NBN fibre homes share the internet around their home with a combination of modem and router. The modem connects to a fibre wall outlet, which then connects to the router via Ethernet cable.

NBN vs other broadband technologies

While the NBN is a central network, there are multiple technologies used to connect homes in Australia, including five for metro areas alongside NBN Fixed Wireless for regional and rural places, plus Sky Muster satellite NBN for remote and offshore homes. All of these technologies represent speeds that range from 12/1Mbps download and upload to 1000/50Mbps.

Generally speaking, ADSL2+ is on par with satellite NBN in terms of speed (except for Sky Muster Plus plans), albeit with significantly better latency and unlimited data plans. Mobile broadband has speeds that reach up to just under NBN 50 plans, albeit with latency that’s higher than fixed-line NBN homes, on par with NBN Fixed Wireless abodes and significantly lower than Sky Muster satellite areas.

VDSL2 sits nestled between the NBN 50 and NBN 100 speed potentiality of FTTN, FTTB, FTTC, HFC and FTTP NBN homes, and its technology is functionally the same as FTTB and FTTN.

Cable internet and Starlink satellite are similarly matched for speed potential, stretching above the NBN 100 plan caps for most Australian homes. You should expect lower latency from cable internet and NBN fixed-line technologies than Starlink satellite, whose latency is closer to ADSL2+. Meanwhile, non-NBN fibre is identical to FTTP NBN in terms of 1000/50Mbps download and upload speed potential via future-proofed fibre, while some HFC homes may not be eligible for NBN 250 or NBN 1000 plans.

Finally, home wireless broadband speeds depend on whether you’re on a 4G or 5G plan, how strong the signal strength is and how congested the mobile tower is. Under the best conditions, 4G home wireless internet is capable of 100/50Mbps download and upload speeds, similar to NBN 100 (which taps out at 40Mbps upload), while 5G home wireless broadband can theoretically rival all forms of fixed-line broadband on download speed, upload speed and latency.

Check out the table below for a comparison between NBN speed tiers and other forms of broadband technology.

Internet plan type
Max download speed
Max upload speed
Meant for
Online activities
NBN 1212Mbps1Mbps1 personVery basic browsing
ADSL2+24Mbps1Mbps2 peopleWeb browsing and emails
Music streaming
HD streaming
Videoconferencing
Online gaming
NBN 2525Mbps5Mbps2 peopleWeb browsing and emails
Music streaming
HD streaming
Videoconferencing
Online gaming
Download large files
NBN 5050Mbps20Mbps3 or 4 peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
HD streaming
Videoconferencing
Online gaming
VDSL275Mbps20Mbps3 or 4 peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
HD streaming
Videoconferencing
Online gaming
NBN 100100Mbps40Mbps5 or more peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
4K streaming
Simultaneous videoconferencing
Online gaming
Download/upload large files
Home wireless broadband (4G)100Mbps50Mbps3 or 4 peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
HD streaming
Videoconferencing
Online gaming
Mobile broadband (4G)100Mbps50Mbps3 or 4 peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
HD streaming
Videoconferencing
Online gaming
NBN 250250Mbps25Mbps5 or more peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
Multiple 4K/8K streams
Simultaneous 4K videoconferencing
Online gaming
Faster download/upload large files
Starlink satellite300Mbps20Mbps5 or more peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
Multiple 4K/8K streams
Simultaneous 4K videoconferencing
Online gaming
Faster download/upload large files
Cable350Mbps2.5Mbps5 or more peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
Multiple 4K streams
Simultaneous 4K videoconferencing
Online gaming
Faster download large files
NBN 10001000Mbps50Mbps5 or more peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
Multiple 8K streams
Simultaneous 4K videoconferencing
Online gaming
Game streaming
Fastest download/upload large files
Non-NBN fibre1000Mbps50Mbps5 or more peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
Multiple 8K streams
Simultaneous 4K videoconferencing
Online gaming
Game streaming
Fastest download/upload large files
Home wireless broadband (5G)1000Mbps100Mbps5 or more peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
Multiple 8K streams
Simultaneous 4K videoconferencing
Online gaming
Game streaming
Fastest download/upload large files
Mobile broadband (5G)1000Mbps100Mbps5 or more peopleWeb browsing and emails
Hi-fi music streaming
Multiple 8K streams
Simultaneous 4K videoconferencing
Online gaming
Game streaming
Fastest download/upload large files
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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