Non-NBN internet options: Everything you need to know

Get online without NBN.

January 16, 2022
5 min read

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.

Which internet is in my area?
Use the tool above to see which home internet technologies 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.

ADSL2+ internet

Rewind the clock on Australian broadband, and the original form of asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) internet was the main option for many homes. Over the course of its life, ADSL went through speed revisions, eventually reaching its final form in ADSL2+, which may still be available in your area. We say “may” because ADSL internet technologies are reliant on the digital portion of the copper telephone network, which is being disconnected in most areas now that the NBN rollout has finished.

In theory, ADSL2+ plans can reach download speeds of up to 24Mbps, but that’s dependent on many factors, including the quality of the copper wiring and the distance of an ADSL2+ home from the nearest telephone exchange. At the time of writing, Telstra was the only provider in our comparison engine still selling ADSL2+ plans:

ADSL2+ connections use a modem-router to connect to and share the internet connection around the home. The modem-router connects to the telephone wall outlet in your home to send and receive data.

ADSL speed test
Whether you have ADSL2+ or any other form of internet (including the ones below), you can use the internet speed test tool below to test your speeds. Click or tap on ‘Start Speed Test’ to see your download speeds (in megabits-per-second, Mbps) after 10 seconds. Optionally, tap or click on the ‘Show More Info’ button to see your latency (in milliseconds, ms) and upload speed (in Mbps).

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

Non-NBN private fibre internet

The reason the majority of NBN homes in Australia can sign up to 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 to full-fibre plans, potentially with speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

Check out some examples of popular 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.

Satellite internet
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 winner to you, head over to the Starlink website and enter your address to order an unlimited-data service.

Home wireless broadband

If you’ve got strong 4G signal strength or great 5G reception in your area, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to sign up for a home wireless broadband plan. 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. For 4G home wireless internet, you can expect download speeds of up to 100Mbps, while 5G home wireless broadband abodes can technically hit speeds of up to 1000Mbps.

Check out the daily updating list of popular home wireless internet plans from our comparison engine below:

Mobile broadband

Mobile broadband is less built for using around the home and more meant to travel with you, typically for SIM-capable devices, including compatible tablets and laptops. You can expect download speeds of up to 48Mbps for 4G plans, all of which use the same respective mobile networks of mobile phone plans.

Below is a daily updating list of popular mobile broadband plans from our comparison engine:

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 pocket WiFi modem-router to share mobile data while out and about.

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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