Banner graphic for SafeWise's Australian health insurance comparison

4 straightforward steps to switching NBN providers

4 simple steps you need to take to switch from one NBN provider to another.

Nathan Lawrence
Jul 18, 2022
Icon Time To Read4 min read

We may earn money when you click our links.

Switching NBN providers in short

Because of an industry-wide agreement, switching between NBN providers is, mercifully, a straightforward task. Pick your new provider based on improving your current pain points and improving your ’net needs. Next, check your current provider for any hidden costs and consider adjusting your exit timing accordingly. Sign up with your new provider, then cancel with your existing one.

Maybe your NBN download speeds aren’t up to snuff. Perhaps you’re fed up with your current provider. Or it could be you’ve just sniffed out a fantastic deal on our regularly updated best NBN internet plans rundown.

Whatever the reason, "churning" is the fancy term used for switching NBN providers. The good news: it’s a surprisingly painless process care of an industry-wide agreement between providers. This agreement means that switching from one to another is a speedy and straightforward process that can mean it only takes a matter of minutes to churn, while any potential internet downtime should be no more than an hour.

In this guide, we'll take you through four simple steps to getting a new NBN plan on a new provider.

Step 1: Match your needs to a new provider

If you want to change NBN providers, a little bit of research goes a long way. What you’re looking for from a new provider is important to address. If you’re after faster speeds on a comparable speed tier, check the typical evening download speeds of your provider-to-be. Most plans are now unlimited, but you should also be mindful of your data usage. After all, you want to choose the best NBN plan for your household. 

If you’re curious about how your current or future provider speeds compare to the typical evening speeds on offer from the competition, see below for a round-up of providers, sorted by fastest typical evening speed. To change your speed tier, simply click the drop-down box in the top left corner. Additionally, the ACCC has a quarterly updated webpage that’s dedicated to the average download and upload speeds for the biggest NBN providers. This page also takes into account average daily outages and latency, if either of these factors is part of your appraisal.

Step 2: Check for hidden costs

Whether it’s your current provider or your intended replacement provider, it’s worth taking a look at the fine print to see what additional costs may be involved in switching. For the provider you intend on leaving, you may be charged a fee for leaving a contract before its agreed term. Additionally, you may have to provide a certain amount of notice to switch providers, which means you may be charged for additional days or even an extra month if you don’t factor in the notice period.

To avoid this, we advise using any notice period as a guide of when you should cancel with your current provider, relative to how much you may be charged if you leave at the start, middle, or end of a billing month.

As for your new provider, check for any setup costs or potential hidden fees associated with the provision of new equipment, some of which may incur a cost if you don’t stick with the provider for a certain period of time, even on a no-contract plan. This is especially true for NBN providers that offer 4G backup modems. Currently, only Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, iiNet, and Internode provide 4G backup modems with their plans. Here are their most popular NBN 50 plans.

How your technology type affects switching NBN providers

Your NBN technology type will determine whether you can avoid downtime between provider switches entirely. Fibre-to-the-Node, Fibre-to-the-Basement, Fibre-to-the-Curb, and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial connections allow you to follow these steps as normal.

For those homes with Fibre-to-the-Premises and Fixed Wireless NBN connections, though, you can potentially order a service with a new provider on one of your NBN connection box’s available data ports, then cancel with your old provider once you’re up and running. This may mean you can avoid downtime entirely between providers, but you should still check the fine print for any associated exit or sign-up fees to save money when switching.

What's my NBN technology type?
Info Box

If you’re unsure about which NBN technology type is used in your home, punch in your address on the NBN website and take note of the information under ‘Technology used in your connection’ on the bottom right of the results page.

Step 3: Sign up with your new provider

You shouldn’t be charged for your new service from the moment you sign up, but you will be charged once the service is active with your new provider (keep an eye out for a text or email saying as much). When switching NBN providers, factor in whether you need new networking equipment, such as a modem router.

Migrate data

If you’ve been using your existing provider’s email service, you’ll want to migrate your emails and contact data to another service (e.g. Gmail or Outlook) before cancelling with them. Be sure to also let your new provider know if you’d like to keep your existing NBN landline number with your new service and them to port it over.

Step 4: Cancel with your current provider

Even if your new provider tells you your existing connection will be cancelled, contact your existing provider to verify this. Also ask your old provider to confirm when you can expect to receive your final bill, any additional costs you should expect to see on that bill, and whether you’re required to return any equipment within a particular timeframe so as not to incur a penalty.

How long does it take to switch NBN providers?

In most cases switching NBN providers should only take a couple of hours max. If you're lucky, it can be almost instant. At max, you should be on your new provider within two days.

When changing NBN providers, losing internet connectivity is unavoidable on most connection types.  The worst-case scenario for downtime is 24 hours, but most shouldn't experience anywhere near this. 

You may need to power cycle your modem router to complete the provider changeover.

Popular NBN provider cancellation terms

These popular NBN providers have the following cancellation terms for no-contract plans:

  • Telstra: no notice; no fees (but if you leave within your first two years, you'll need to return your modem or pay a fee)
  • Optus: no notice; no fees (but you may have to pay out remaining modem-router cost)
  • TPG: 30 days' notice; no fees
  • Aussie Broadband: no notice; no fees (30 days to return Fetch box or $135 fee)
  • iPrimus: no notice; no fees (but you may have to pay out remaining modem-router cost)
  • Exetel: 30 days' notice; no fees
  • iiNet: no notice; no fees (but you may have to pay out a remaining modem-router cost)
  • MyRepublic: 30 days' notice; no fees (but you may have to pay out a remaining modem-router cost)
  • Vodafone: no notice; no fees (but you may have to pay out remaining modem-router cost)
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.

Related Articles

Dyson CleanTrace Visualisation
Dyson’s CleanTrace will gamify vacuuming
Just have to clear this level once a week for the rest of your life