If you’re living in regional or rural Australia, your choices for an internet plan are pretty limited. Not only do you have fewer choices of types of internet connection than Aussies living in cities, but there are also fewer plans on offer. Thankfully, NBN satellite plans are available in parts of regional and rural Australia with Sky Muster NBN, a type of wireless internet that relies on two satellites above Australia to transmit your data to the world wide web.
Below, we’ll be going through the best NBN Sky Muster plans on offer to regional or rural Australians. Make sure you compare around and find the perfect plan for you.
What is the best NBN satellite plan?
It’s difficult to put a label on the ‘best’ NBN satellite plan. Most satellite NBN plans on offer are very similar, but it’s all about finding the one that best suits your needs. When you’re comparing plans, don’t ignore prices, contract periods, download speeds, and on-peak and off-peak data allowances.
The lower the price, the less inclusions you get. The higher the price gets, the more you get included, such as larger data allowances or faster on-peak speeds. You’ll find a snapshot of NBN satellite plans from a range of satellite NBN providers in the table below.
The following table shows selected published Satellite NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
|Brand||Features||Max Data**/billing period||Advertised Cost^^/billing period|
min. cost $54.95 over one month
|200GB||$54.95||Go To Site|
Sky Muster Standard Plan
min. cost $64.99 over one month
Sky Muster Plus
min. cost $69.95 for first month
min. cost $130 for one month billing period
|200GB||$130||Go To Site|
min. cost $3,240 over 24 month billing period
|View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue||**^^View important information|
What is NBN satellite?
NBN Satellite is internet serviced through orbital satellites – in Australia, this is serviced through two Sky Muster NBN satellites. Satellite internet plans require you to have a satellite dish installed on your property to receive and transmit data. This type of connection isn’t as fast as fixed line NBN, and only a handful of plans are available, but for a lot of households in regional and rural Australia satellite is the only option.
Satellite internet plans in Australia are quite limited in terms of speeds and data. Only NBN 12 and NBN 25 speeds are available, and most plans function with on-peak and off-peak periods – that being two different periods during the day where separate data pools or speeds are used, similar to old ADSL plans or dial-up internet. As such you’d probably want to save your bigger downloads for overnight, so you’re not chipping away at your on-peak allowance or speed.
How do I get NBN satellite?
Getting NBN satellite is simple, if you live in an area where service is available. Here’s a step by step guide on how to get connected:
Check your address
Firstly, go to your selected satellite NBN provider’s website and check that you can get a satellite NBN plan serviced to your home – your selected provider should have a tool capable of confirming this. If it turns out you can, great!
Select your plan
Now select a plan. Your NBN provider might give you a few options to pick from, with varying speeds, data levels, contracts and inclusions.
Book your installation
With a plan selected, you can now book an installation date for the required NBN satellite equipment. You won’t have to book new equipment if you’re simply changing providers, but for your first satellite NBN plan you will have to get a satellite dish installed (unless the technology already exists on site). Regardless, installation is free.
Wait for the installation date
Once your installation date is booked, sit tight and wait for it to be installed. Times between when you book the installation and the installation itself can vary greatly. You may have to wait anywhere between three to 12 weeks, depending on a variety of factors, including if you’re in a more isolated region, or if your home is only accessible by sea or air. Regardless, you should be given a date that your equipment will be installed.
Setup up your modem-router
Once everything is installed by the NBN technician, you’ll almost be ready to get online. Just configure your modem-router (either self-supplied or provided by your NBN provider) and you’ll be good to go – although get in touch with your satellite NBN provider if there are any issues. Your NBN provider might not activate your service until you call them after the installation.
What is Sky Muster Plus?
Sky Muster Plus is an upgraded version of Sky Muster that can provide faster than standard Sky Muster plans when the network isn’t being strained. Sky Muster Plus plans can reach maximum download speeds of up to 50Mbps (standard Sky Muster offers maximum speeds of 25Mbps), and also offer some “essential services” as unmetered (meaning using them won’t contribute to your data allowance), like emails, basic images and text, and operating system updates. On a Sky Muster Plus plan, these things will not contribute to your on-peak or off-peak data allowance.
Sky Muster Plus is a good way of making sure you don’t exceed your data allowance when you use essential services, but you should keep on top of what is and isn’t unmetered, just so you don’t run through your plan. NBN Co only considers two categories of internet content to be unmetered: video streaming content and any content accessed and used while on a VPN. all other content is unmetered by default, although terms may apply in the contract with your NBN provider and under fair use conditions from NBNco.
There are, however, some confusing exceptions. Video streaming on Netflix, ABC iView, Stan, Foxtel, YouTube, TikTok and embedded video on news websites is metered, however, embedded video on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and LinkedIn is unmetered. Video calling applications like Skype, Discord, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger and GoToMeeting are also unmetered.
What is data shaping?
Some internet applications (such as online gaming, cloud storage and software updates) may be “shaped” by NBN Co during the hours of 4pm and 11pm, meaning your internet connection to these services may be forcibly slowed so that bandwidth can be shared equally among other NBN satellite users.
Does unlimited data satellite internet exist?
Yes and no. While plans with unlimited data perks like Sky Mesh’s Sky Muster Plus plans exist, they aren’t truly unlimited like plans on fixed line NBN connections typically are. Rather, some satellite NBN plans can offer unmetered connections on a variety of services. For Sky Mesh’s Sky Muster Plus plans, as an example, all content is unmetered, except for video streaming content (like with Netflix or Stan) and any content while using a VPN. Make sure you check with your NBN provider to make sure you’re getting the right plan for your needs.
Can NBN satellite be affected by the weather?
Yes, bad weather like hail or a thunderstorm can block your signal with the Sky Muster website. Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do about this, but it’s good to be aware.
Can I keep my home phone connection on an NBN satellite plan?
You can keep your copper wire telephone connection on an NBN satellite plan, or sign up for a VoIP phone line through your NBN provider. Usually an NBN connection will result in the eventual termination of your copper line, but that’s not the case with NBN satellite plans.
Can I get Starlink internet?
Starlink is still in beta in Victoria and NSW, however it’ll one day be available Australia wide. If you live in one of these states, you can try signing up for the beta test on the Starlink website. It’s worth considering if you don’t want a satellite NBN plan.
Starlink is an internet alternative being operated by SpaceX, which you might have heard in the same breath as Elon Musk. It’s set to provide speeds of up to 300Mbps, however early beta testers reported speeds of between 50 and 150Mbps. Regardless, it appears to be faster than NBN satellite internet – it even offers unlimited, unmetered data.
That being said, it’s also a bit more pricey. With only a single plan to choose from, Starlink costs $139 per month, plus $809 for the setup kit ($709 for the kit, $100 for the shipping). So if you’re an internet lover with a blank cheque, the decision might be easy, but if you’re just after a casual internet connection, it might be worth sticking to NBN satellite plans.