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NBN 100: Everything you need to know

It can be confusing at the best of times picking out the right internet plan. With the National Broadband Network largely already rolled out, if you’re not connected it’s probably only a matter of time until you are. This presents another layer of complexity to your buying criteria – which speed tier should you get?

There are four speed options available, and it can be confusing as to which one is right for you. We’ve covered the three most common tiers – NBN 12NBN 25 and NBN 50 – but if you’re interested in the most commonly available fastest wholesale speed, here is everything you need to know about NBN 100.

How fast is an NBN 100 plan?

An NBN 100 plan represents the fastest speed tier available on the national network. With 100Mbps maximum download speeds, users can theoretically download up to 12.5MB of content every second. This means a full-length HD movie could be downloaded in as little as around two minutes.

The speed tier also comes with maximum upload speeds of 40Mbps, making it well-suited for people that need to upload large files to servers, videos to YouTube and more.

  • ‘Downloads’ means things you get from the internet to you (for example, browsing, downloading content, streaming and social media).
  • ‘Uploads’ means things you upload to the internet (for example, pictures to Facebook, videos to YouTube and more).

With the NBN 100 speed tier, you can theoretically do a lot more than you could on your old ADSL connection – but in many cases, you’ll be paying a price premium for the privilege.

Read more: What to do when your internet is down

NBN 100 plans

An NBN 100 plan is best-suited to those needing to download and upload hefty files, or maintain multiple streams. If you work from home, play online games, live in a larger home with multiple users, or just want the fastest broadband available, this plan could be right for you. But for average users or small households, an NBN 50 or NBN 25 plan might be more appropriate, as the price premium you pay for an NBN 100 plan can be quite pronounced.

There are also fewer data-capped plans floating around on the NBN 100 speed tier; unlimited data seems to be the standard now for most telcos. It’s not unrealistic to expect unlimited data to cost less than $90 a month; however, watch out for setup fees and other charges. Many providers now offer month-to-month plans only, while others might waive setup or activation fees if you sign on to a contract over 6, 12 or even 24 months.

Unlimited NBN 100 Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN 100 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost (excluding discounts), from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

What can I use an NBN 100 plan for?

An NBN 100 plan is good for intensive users, heavy downloaders, larger households and online gamers seeking to download expansion packs and potentially achieve a better performance online.

  • Downloads: Assuming your plan is operating at full speed capacity, you could theoretically download 12.5MB of content per second (there are eight bits in a byte).
  • Streaming video: Netflix recommends for a HD stream you have enough bandwidth for 5Mbps, meaning a 100Mbps stream could, theoretically, support several simultaneous streams.

Overall, if you’ve got many devices connected, such as phones, laptops, TVs, appliances and more, an NBN 100 plan could be right for you. In the real world, speeds for the NBN 100 tier can vary wildly based on how much your provider provisions for it, your router, congestion, and more.

However, for the everyday user, the price premium over NBN 50 may not quite be worth it. Often, prices for unlimited data NBN 100 plans are $30+ dearer than the next speed tier down – and for most users, an NBN 50 plan is more than suitable for everyday streaming, downloading and uploading.

NBN 100 Typical Evening Speeds Explained

You’ve probably noticed that NBN providers often prefer to advertise ‘typical evening speeds’. A typical evening speed refers to the speeds that you’ll probably experience in peak busy times, between the hours of 7pm and 11pm. This peak period is when most users are home from work or school, and likely to be online, leading to increased strain on your provider’s network. As unfair as it may be, other people’s use can have a major effect on your own internet speeds.

Fortunately, thanks to ACCC recommendations, providers are now listing typical evening speeds for their various NBN plans. This is a much better indicator of how fast your plan will actually be than simply ‘NBN 12’, ‘NBN 25’, ‘NBN 50’ or ‘NBN 100’, as these names refer to the maximum speeds available on each tier in megabits per second. Your plan may be theoretically capable of 100Mbps speeds, but realistically you’re unlikely to experience those speeds yourself.

Typical evening speeds are calculated by each individual provider, based on average speeds achieved by customers on each plan. Keep in mind that these are advertised speeds only; your own personal experience may differ, especially in peak periods.

Is an NBN 100 plan right for me?

If you’re a heavy user in a household full of streamers, an NBN 100 plan may be suitable. However, the question of ‘value’ must come into play, as it often represents a disproportionate step-up, in terms of cost, over slower NBN speed tiers. Adding to that, speeds are not guaranteed, and telcos are generally reluctant to put you on this speed tier straight away – they’d much prefer to test your connection first to make sure you can actually achieve the speeds.

NBN Co – Check, Select, Connect

As part of clearing the fog surrounding choosing an NBN plan, NBN Co – the company responsible for the rollout of the network across the country – launched a campaign in order to get consumers onto the right plan. It’s called ‘Check, Select, Connect’. It urges users to:

  • Check their internet usage habits, plus the number of devices connected in peak times (7pm – 11pm).
  • Select the right speed for their household’s needs with an NBN provider.
  • Connect the right Wi-Fi modem in the right place, and to contact their provider for any further advice needed.

The campaign was designed to help households find an appropriate NBN plan, and to clear any confusion about speeds and getting connected. Finding the right plan will not improve your home broadband experience, it may also save you money if you’re overpaying for your current connection.

Other plans to consider

The following table shows a selection of sponsored unlimited data Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50), and Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost (excluding discounts), from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The table below shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Should I get an NBN 100 plan?

The NBN 100 speed tier represents the fastest of what’s available on most connections, and often with a price tag to match. NBN users must weigh up the value versus speed benefit before jumping into any plan, but especially on this speed tier. Things to remember about Premium NBN pricing:

  • Often NBN 100 plans are disproportionately more expensive, as some telcos prioritise slower speed plans.
  • Expect unlimited data to cost no less than about $85 a month, with some providers charging over $100 monthly.
  • There are faster speeds than NBN 100, such as NBN 250 and NBN 1000, however these typically cost more and are only available to a limited number of households with the right connection type.

However, if you’re in a fair-sized household and have to maintain multiple streams, or need to work from home regularly, an NBN 100 plan could well be the way to go. If you tend to download or upload large files to YouTube or other sites, it might be able to get it done quicker and with less headaches.

Overall, the NBN 100 speed tier suits a fairly niche range of people; it’s not for everyone, but it may give you the best shot at having a ‘fast’ connection. After all, that’s what the NBN was supposed to deliver!

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