NBN 12: Everything you need to know

If you’ve got the National Broadband Network (NBN) coming to your area, or you’ve recently connected, you may be confused about what all the speeds and jargon means. A report by NBN Co – the company responsible for rolling out the network – has revealed that two-thirds of consumers don’t know how to choose a plan on the NBN based on their own data needs. This article will help explain what the most basic speed tier – NBN 12 – means for you, and what you can do with it.

What is Basic NBN 12?

NBN’S Basic Evening Speed – or NBN 12 – is the entry-level speed tier on the National Broadband Network. It is suitable for light users, and smaller households that only need to get the basics done. An NBN 12 plan is similar to speeds experienced on an old ADSL2+ connection, and is suited for activities such as basic web browsing, the odd YouTube video, and email.

  • Basic NBN yields download speeds of up to 12Mbps (megabits per second) – enough for one Standard Definition stream, as well as some light browsing
  • The upload speeds are up to 1Mbps

Download speeds means traffic coming to your end – be it for videos, downloading emails, browsing and more, whereas uploads mean things you upload to the internet (e.g. photos to Facebook or Instagram, and videos to YouTube). If you’re a heavy streamer, need to work from home, or spend a lot of time online, NBN 12 is unlikely to be fast enough for your needs.


Read more: What to do when your internet is down


Basic NBN 12 Internet Plans

A Basic NBN 12 plan is best for light users and luckily there are some great deals to be found on the Basic speed tier. For light users there are a fair amount of data-capped plans out there costing under $40 per month. However, unlimited data can be found for not much more – as little as $44.99 a month.

Right now, there’s only a handful of providers in Australia offering NBN 12 as an option, but if you’re just searching for a simple, low cost deal, you should find what you’re looking for.

The following table shows a selection of Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans with a minimum of 100GB of data on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by data inclusions, 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.

What can I use Basic NBN 12 for?

A Basic NBN plan – aka NBN 12 – is good for lighter users or smaller households. 12Mbps is the equivalent of downloading 1.5 megabytes in a second. There are eight ‘bits’ to a ‘byte’.

Assuming your connection is operating at full-speed, and with no other factors at play, you could download a 3MB song in as little as two seconds. However, in the real world, this is nearly never the case as things like servers, your router, congestion and more can come into play. These factors can severely hamper your maximum speed capacity.

NBN 12 Basic Evening Speeds explained

You may have noticed when shopping around for a basic NBN 12 plan that many providers advertise ‘evening speeds’. Evening speeds basically denote typical speeds experienced in busy hours, between 7pm and 11pm – when everyone’s at home from work or school and using the internet. That’s right – other households can affect your internet speed.

Below are some popular NBN providers and their typical advertised evening speeds.

Provider Evening Speed (Download)
Aussie Broadband 12Mbps
Flip 11Mbps
Internode 12Mbps
iiNet 12Mbps
TPG 12Mbps

Source: Respective provider websites, correct as at June 2021

Note that these are advertised speeds only; your own personal experience may differ, especially in the aforementioned peak periods.

Is Basic NBN 12 right for me?

If you’re a light user, a Basic NBN plan can be a suitable step if you’re transitioning away from ADSL or another old-hat internet connection. However, determining if it’s right for you can be a whole other kettle of fish entirely. This is why NBN Co has released its own guide, labelled ‘Check Select Connect’.

NBN Co — Check Select Connect

NBN Co has a three-step campaign in order to get customers on the right plan. It urges customers to:

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

This campaign basically urges users to stop and think about their needs, especially in peak times. If you’ve got multiple devices connected and streaming in peak times, you may need something faster than a Basic NBN 12 plan. However, if you’re in a small household, watch normal TV in peak hours, and only use the internet to check emails and so forth, a Basic NBN plan may be all you need.

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 a Basic NBN 12 plan?

Choosing an NBN plan may look like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Considering your own needs – especially in peak times – is a good first step into finding the right plan for you. The NBN 12 Basic speed tier looks good on paper, but first consider if you can get by with such little bandwidth.

Plans on this speed tier look attractive, but you may find better ‘value’ elsewhere. If you’re a light user or a smaller household, chances are you can, but if you’ve got multiple people using the internet and streaming at once, you may want something with a bit more juice. The NBN 25 plan is the next step up, and beyond that you can get NBN 50 and NBN 100.

Compare NBN Providers

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