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How to pick the best NBN plan
There are many considerations that go into picking the best NBN plan for your home. Here’s the most important factors to weigh up.
Picking the best NBN plan from hundreds of options is no mean feat. It’s not just the basic numbers you need to consider—price, download speed, upload speed, data allowances and unlimited internet plans etc.—it’s also additional factors like the technology that connects your home as well as how many people and devices are inside your abode.
To help with that headache, let’s break down the considerations for choosing the best NBN plan for your home. Before we dive into the critical background theory, check out this list of daily updating popular NBN plans from our comparison engine.
How NBN technologies impact your plan choices
The type of NBN technology that connects your home will determine the NBN plans you can access at your home. You can punch in your address at the top of the NBN website to see the specific technology, or just enter your address on our internet plan finder to only see plans that are relevant to your address.
Either way, you’ll find that your home fits into one of these NBN technologies:
- Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP)
- Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)
- Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC)
- Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB)
- Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN)
- NBN Fixed Wireless
- Sky Muster satellite NBN
That list above is ranked in terms of speed potential, which means you can expect the fastest speeds from FTTP and HFC, with slower speeds for Fixed Wireless and satellite NBN. Below is a breakdown of the plan types available for each NBN technology:
- FTTP: NBN 1000, NBN 500, NBN 250, NBN 100, NBN 50, NBN 25, NBN 12
- HFC: NBN 1000 (some homes), NBN 500 (some homes), NBN 250 (most homes), NBN 100, NBN 50, NBN 25, NBN 12
- FTTC: NBN 100, NBN 50, NBN 25, NBN 12
- FTTB: NBN 100, NBN 50, NBN 25, NBN 12
- FTTN: NBN 100, NBN 50, NBN 25, NBN 12
- NBN Fixed Wireless: NBN 50, NBN 25, NBN 12
- Sky Muster satellite NBN: Sky Muster Plus (NBN 50-ish), NBN 25, NBN 12
NBN plan speeds for different home sizes
While the cheapest NBN plans are on the NBN 12 speed tier, the 12Mbps max download and 1Mbps max upload mean this type of internet is best reserved for those with the most basic of internet needs. On the other end of the spectrum, those in eligible homes can sign up to NBN 1000 plans, which offer up to 1000Mbps download speeds and 50Mbps upload speeds.
The table below outlines the main NBN speed tiers in Australia, their download and upload speeds, as well as the number of people they’re meant to be used by:
Internet plan type
Max download speed
Average download speed
Max upload speed
Average upload speed
|NBN 12||12Mbps||11.72Mbs||1Mbps||0.85Mbs||1 person|
|NBN 25||25Mbps||24.42Mbs||5Mbps||4.25Mbs||2 people|
|NBN 50||50Mbps||48.84Mbs||20Mbps||17.02Mbs||3 or 4 people|
|NBN 100||100Mbps||97.68Mbs||40Mbps||34.04Mbs||5 or more people|
|NBN 250||250Mbps||244.2Mbs||25Mbps||21.28Mbs||5 or more people|
|NBN 500||500Mbps||488.4Mbs||50Mbps||42.55Mbs||5 or more people|
|NBN 1000||1000Mbps||976.8Mbs||50Mbps||42.55Mbs||5 or more people|
Please note that the average download and upload speeds are derived from an amalgamation of tracked provider averages that are part of the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia program.
If you live alone and have very basic internet needs, you may consider signing up for an NBN 12 plan. You can see popular picks (across technologies) from our database below:
We consider NBN 25 to be the true entry-level internet for a home with one or two people, and you can see popular picks from our comparison engine below:
NBN 50 is the most popular speed tier in Australia, built for three or four people. Check out the daily updating list of popular NBN 50 plans below:
Most NBN technologies can sign up to NBN 100 plans, which are a great pick for homes with five or more people. Below is a daily updating list of popular NBN 100 plans from our database:
All FTTP homes and most HFC homes can sign up to NBN 250 plans, which are built for homes with five or more occupants who want faster overall speeds. The daily updating list below has popular NBN 250 plans from our comparison engine:
If you’re in a home that wants no-compromise speeds, NBN 500 and NBN 1000 plans are available to all FTTP homes and some HFC abodes. Check out the daily updating list of popular NBN 500 and NBN 1000 plans below:
NBN plan speeds for different use-cases
It’s not just the number of people in your home that matters when it comes to choosing the right plan, it’s also the kind of activities being performed. Basic web browsing, sending emails, music streaming and online gaming should all feel seamless on an NBN 25 plan (even an NBN 12 plan at full speed should comfortably handle these online tasks).
Videoconferencing and streaming video content to multiple devices, particularly in 1080p or 4K quality, really starts with an NBN 50 plan. This speed tier is also great for audiophiles keen on high-fidelity music streaming. Even then, an NBN 50 plan hitting max 50Mbps download speeds can really only handle two simultaneous Netflix 4K streams.
Those interested in an NBN 100 plan will likely appreciate that download speeds can reach up to double those available on an NBN 50 plan. This means everything downloads faster, from a post-holiday inbox and basic files through to heftier digital game downloads and their increasingly larger updates.
When you step into NBN 250, NBN 500 and NBN 1000 territory, it really is mainly about improving the download times for larger files and allowing for a ridiculous number of simultaneous 1080p or 4K streams in the home.
The upload speed for NBN 50 and most NBN 100 plans is enough for the average user, but those who can sign up to NBN 100/40, NBN 250, NBN 500, and NBN 1000 plans will likely learn to appreciate speedier backups, faster file sending, as well as the option to easily stream video content from your devices.