Don’t want the NBN? Here are the alternatives

Advertisement

The NBN gets a lot of flak for underwhelming speeds and poor service. So, what are some other options? ‘Downgrading’ to your old ADSL connection is pretty much out, because it no longer exists, and if you’re fed up it’s tempting to look at other avenues entirely. This has opened the door to many telco providers building their own internet networks – ones entirely separate from the NBN.

Usually, these providers service niche areas or particular suburbs in capital cities, but if you look hard enough you might find one that services your area. Compare plans from some key providers below, and rest assured knowing that networks are likely to grow over time with new providers cropping up. Hit the links below to see what’s available in your state.

Currently, it’s slim pickings in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT, but keep your eyes peeled as more providers set up shop.

Loading...

Alternatives to the NBN: What’s out there?

There are quite a few telcos building their own networks, mainly across the major capital cities, but several regional areas may also be covered. The common delivery method is through a fixed wireless connection using a provider’s own infrastructure, which is relatively straightforward to set-up and totally separate from the National Broadband Network.

  • Internet providers often promise low contention, fast maximum download speeds and localised customer service.
  • Many only service a particular area in a state or city, so it pays to double check if you’re covered.

Find out what alternatives are in your state below, but first consider if a home wireless plan is up to scratch. Home wireless plans can be set up virtually anywhere with 4G reception.

NBN Alternatives: Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband uses 4G or 5G cellular networks to connect your devices to the internet, similar to home wireless broadband (as outlined below). However, it’s an option that works best for on-the-go broadband use, rather than as a total home internet solution.

Still, if you’re a low-level user, move around a lot or, or just want backup in case of home broadband outages, it could be worth looking into. Keep in mind, however, that data inclusions are generally much lower than what you’ll find on home wireless plans, meaning you’ll be be paying more for less gigabytes per month.

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: 100GB+

The following table shows a selection of published 100GB and over mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Vodafone Logo

100GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $720 over 12 months

100GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Large

  • SIM Only

min. cost $780 over 12 month plan period

100GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G access included

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: Over 50GB

The following table shows a selection of published mobile broadband plans with 50GB – 100GB of data on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 50GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $40 over 28 day billing period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Medium

  • SIM Only

min. cost $480 over 12 month plan period

50GBMax Data**/billing period $40Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

60GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $540 over 12 months

60GBMax Data**/billing period $45Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G access included

min. cost $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 90GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $60 over 28 day billing period

90GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Mobile Broadband Plans Compared: Under 50GB

The following table shows a selection of published mobile broadband plans with less than 50GB of data on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Amaysim Logo

SIM Only 7GB

  • SIM Only

min. cost $15 over 28 day billing period

7GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM Only

min. cost $180 over 12 month plan period

7GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $15 over one month

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

5GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $180 over 12 months

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Small

  • SIM Only

min. cost $300 over 12 month plan period

15GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $25 over one month

20GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Vodafone Logo

25GB Mobile Broadband Plan

  • SIM Only plan

min. cost $360 over 12 months

25GBMax Data**/billing period $30Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

NBN Alternatives: 5G Home/Mobile Broadband

‘Home wireless’ is a burgeoning trend in the internet space, which basically delivers 4G or 5G mobile broadband in big data packages designed for at-home use, rather than on-the-go. This is set up using a ‘plug and play’ modem like most other internet connections, but the modem specifically picks up mobile cellular reception, like with your mobile phone.

Telstra 5G Mobile Broadband

Telstra offers both 4G and 5G coverage on its mobile broadband plans in eligible areas, although you’ll need to pair your plan with a 5G-capable Telstra WiFi Pro in order to access the new ultra-fast network. Plans are listed below – note that prices don’t include what you’ll pay for your 5G hub per month.

Telstra Mobile Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Telstra mobile broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Extra Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $15 over one month

5GBMax Data**/billing period $15Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Small

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • No 5G access

min. cost $25 over one month

20GBMax Data**/billing period $25Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Medium

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G network access included

min. cost $50 over one month

60GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Large

  • SIM only plan
  • No excess data charges in Australia
  • Includes data-free sports and music streaming
  • 5G network access included

min. cost $75 over one month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $75Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus 5G Home Broadband

Optus is now offering unlimited 5G Home Broadband to customers in eligible areas. Qualifying customers can now enjoy unlimited data on the 5G network for only $75 per month, with Optus even throwing in your first month free.

Optus 5G Home Broadband is available both on a two-year contract and on a month-to-month plan. 24-month plans feature no additional setup costs, but month-to-month customers will need to pay a $200 upfront start-up fee.

The following table shows selected published Optus 5G home broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Home Broadband (24 months)

  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia modem
  • Special offer: one month free

min. cost $1,680 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

Optus 5G Home Broadband (month-to-month)

  • 50Mbps satisfaction guarantee
  • Includes the Optus supplied Nokia modem
  • $200 setup fee
  • Special offer: one month free

min. cost $270 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

NBN Alternatives: 4G Home Wireless Broadband

If you’re not a Telstra customer (and not currently in a 5G-serviced area), you can still sign up for 4G cellular home broadband. Several providers offer this, including Southern Phone, Optus, Exetel and Spintel.

Southern Phone Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Southern Phone wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Southern Phones Logo

Home Wireless 50

  • $79 upfront WiFi modem
  • Optus 4G wireless broadband network

min. cost $1,279 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $50Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Southern Phones Logo

Home Wireless 70

  • $79 upfront WiFi modem
  • Optus 4G wireless broadband network

min. cost $1,759 over 24 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Tangerine Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Tangerine wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Tangerine Logo

200GB Plan

  • Optus 4G Plus Network coverage
  • Optional modem from $259.90 upfront
  • Special offer: $59.90 per month for first 6 months, then $69.90 ongoing

min. cost $59.90 over first month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $69.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Tangerine Logo

500GB Plan

  • Optus 4G Plus Network coverage
  • Optional modem from $259.90 upfront
  • Special offer: $69.90 per month for first 6 months, then $79.90 ongoing

min. cost $69.90 over first month

500GBMax Data**/billing period $79.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Tangerine Logo

1000GB Plan

  • Optus 4G Plus Network coverage
  • Optional modem from $259.90 upfront
  • Special offer: $89.90 per month for first 6 months, then $99.90 ongoing

min. cost $99.90 over first month

1000GBMax Data**/billing period $99.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Optus Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Optus wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

4G Wireless Broadband 200GB

  • Includes: B8 18 modem

min. cost $1,560 over 24 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $65Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Optus Logo

4G Wireless Broadband 500GB

  • Includes: B8 18 modem

min. cost $2,040 over 24 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Yomojo Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Yomojo wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Yomojo Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan

  • $179 Netcomm 4G Gateway upfront cost

min. cost $238.90 for the first month

200GBMax Data**/billing period $59.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Yomojo Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan

  • $179 Netcomm 4G Gateway upfront cost

min. cost $258.90 for the first month

500GBMax Data**/billing period $79.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Spintel Wireless Broadband Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Spintel wireless broadband plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Basic Home Wireless Broadband Plan (12Mbps)

  • $179 upfront for NetComm WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • $100 account credit

min. cost $798.40 over 12 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $49.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Home Wireless Broadband Plan (High Speed 4G)

  • $179 upfront for NetComm WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • $100 account credit

min. cost $858.40 over 12 month plan period

200GBMax Data**/billing period $54.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Spintel Logo

Home Wireless Broadband (High Speed 4G)

  • $179 upfront for NetComm WiFi modem ($20 P&H)
  • $100 account credit

min. cost $1,038.40 over 12 month plan period

500GBMax Data**/billing period $69.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

NBN Alternatives across Australia

It’s more common to see state-specific telcos offering their own infrastructure and broadband plans, but a number of them do offer services in many areas of Australia. However, you’ll mostly find that coverage is not widespread, and while they have a presence in multiple states, only certain regions will actually be covered.

  • Spirit is a provider specialising in high-speed internet for apartments. It’s heavily Melbourne-centric, but some apartments in Sydney and on the Gold Coast are covered. All plans come with unlimited data, and 50/50Mbps speeds start at $55 a month for new customers. 100/100Mbps plans are currently priced at $65 monthly, while 200/200Mbps is available in some areas for $135. Month-to-month and 18-month contract options are available, but monthly plans incur a $129 setup cost.
  • Lightning Broadband is another provider with various networks set up across Australia – you’ll just have to find out if they are available in your neighbourhood. Speeds range from 25Mbps up to 100Mbps, with unlimited data as standard. Prices start at $75 a month.
  • OptiComm is a network provider which mainstream providers including iiNet and Exetel. Some housing estates use this network instead of the NBN and plan prices vary. Note there is often not a choice if you live in these estates – OptiComm is your only network option.

With most NBN alternatives delivering broadband through a fixed wireless connection, rollout is made simpler and easier. This means that a provider could easily establish itself in a suburb overnight without heavy infrastructure to build. There are no copper lines to install and no dealing with the NBN. This map gives an overview of networks available in each state. Read on for further details.

NBN Alternatives in Queensland

Queenslanders kick-off the NBN alternatives race with a provider that’s not even based in Brisbane. It’s based in Bundaberg and services that area:

  • Open Cloud Broadband uses its own network, capable of delivering up to 200/100Mbps speeds, which is simply outstanding. Unlimited data comes on some of the lower-end plans, while higher-end plans are capped at 500GB. Prices start at $69 a month, up to $179 a month.

When asked about why its faster plans are data-capped, Open Cloud General Manager Luke Baker said it’s to ”Keep our network saturation to our target levels and also to discourage people torrenting as this creates issues for us both with our network but also in a legal capacity.” There you have it; data-capped internet plans aren’t the devil!

Open Cloud Broadband is currently one of the only NBN alternatives in Queensland, and it’s refreshing to see it’s not based in a capital city.

NBN Alternatives in NSW

Sydney Town Hall Railway Station, Australia

Despite being Australia’s most populous state and home to Australia’s largest city of Sydney with more than five million residents, NSW is relatively sparse when it comes to alternative internet networks.

  • W3 Networks is a Western Sydney based provider offering ‘AirFiber’ plans. All of its plans come with unlimited data and symmetrical speeds. Prices start at $69.95 for 12.5/12.5Mbps download and upload speeds, while 50/50Mbps can be had for just under $100 a month.

W3 Networks promises 24-48 hour set-up and $0 installation on 12 month contracts with an included Wi-Fi modem. It also claims users can expect a minimum 50% of the advertised speeds about half the time. This means that peak times can affect internet speed, which is normal. W3 services areas such as Liverpool, Parramatta and other areas in the great west.

  • OpalNet also operates with plans from about $80, and this comes on a 50/50Mbps speed tier, with up to 1000/1000 available. All plans come with unlimited data and connection fees are $0 for 12 month contracts, whereas month-to-month plans attract a $200+ setup fee. A lower monthly payment is available for those who persist past the initial 12 month contract.

OpalNet is a relative newcomer, with a subscriber base in the double figures, rather than triple or quadruple. The NBN-alternatives market is growing in Sydney, and with over five million residents, it’s about time.

NBN Alternatives in Victoria

Currently it seems that Victorians – and particularly Melbournites – get the lion’s share of alternative providers with some of the best speeds on offer. There are a few networks out there worth looking at, and you’ll have to see if your house is covered. Some telcos currently only serve a particular end of town, or even a particular suburb. The best you can do is look at the coverage maps of the telcos in question to see if you’re covered and type in your address.

  • Life Wireless currently serves the Glenn Waverley area of Melbourne, with prices starting at $49 for unlimited data and 5/5Mbps speeds. Speed boosts can be extra, up to 25/25Mbps.
  • Uniti is a provider operating in Melbourne, with various suburbs covered. Inner suburbs are mostly covered, while some areas out near Moonee Ponds, Ivanhoe, Kew, Laverton, Altona and Highett are also covered – quite the spread of suburbs! Prices start at under $50 for 150GB data with 25/10 speeds.
  • Rocket Wireless is a mainly small business-centric provider, but offers apartment internet to various locations across Melbourne with speeds up to 200Mbps. Plans start at $59 a month, which comes with unlimited data and 25/5 speeds.
  • RocTel is another telco with plans starting at around the $85 mark. All come with unlimited data, with speeds starting at 100/100. Gigabit speeds are also available from around $135 a month.
  • OpalNet also operates in Victoria with plans from $79.90 for unlimited data.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. You may find a tiny telco in your neighbourhood providing the perfect plan for you. If it’s an NBN alternative you’re after, Melbourne is spoilt for choice.

NBN Alternatives in South Australia

South Australia is another state with a promising future for internet, but those living rurally may miss out. Most of the action seems to be in Adelaide:

  • NuSkope entirely owns its own wireless network and is not at all dependent on local exchange carrier networks. NuSkope services much of Adelaide and surrounds. Prices start at under $40 for 40GB data, while 1000GB will set you back just under $140. Speeds are up to 30/5Mbps.
  • Uniti strikes once again with much of Adelaide and surrounds covered. Prices start at under $50 for 150GB, while 1500GB will cost just under $140. Speeds are up to 25/10Mbps.
  • Kern Wi-Fi is another Adelaide-centric provider, servicing various inner and outer suburbs of the city. Prices start from $30 a month for 10GB on 12/2 speeds, up to $120 a month for 1000GB on 25/5 speeds.

Adelaide certainly has its pick of providers, but regional areas may miss out. There are a few providers to choose from, but note prices might be higher than what you’ll find with the NBN – especially if you want lots of data.

NBN Alternatives in Western Australia

Girl in the city

Providers often forget about WA, but there is certainly a presence of NBN alternatives in the great state. However, most plans are Perth-centric and regional areas may miss out.

  • Pentanet This Perth-based provider operates on a fixed-wireless network with plans starting at $59 per month, and data allowances of either 100GB, 250GB, or unlimited. Speeds achieved are up to 120/20Mbps.
  • Red Broadband is another fixed wireless provider servicing much of Perth and surrounds. Plans start at under $40 for 20GB, while 1000GB will set you back $109.95. Base speeds are 12/1Mbps with 30/5Mbps available. Regional plans are about $10 extra, but 30/5Mbps speeds largely are largely unavailable outside of Perth.

Just because you live out west doesn’t mean you miss out. Those living in Perth get most of the fruit, but those living rurally don’t necessarily miss out with Red Broadband flying the flag for those living outside the capital.

Should I stick it out with NBN or go elsewhere?

If you’ve experienced a lame NBN connection, it can be all too easy to simply pack it in and give up on the national network entirely. Despite all the flak NBN cops, however, there are some things you can do to improve your speeds, such as:

Beyond that, simply changing providers might yield the results you’re after. Some providers purchase enough bandwidth for everyone, while some scrape by with only the bare minimum. This is explained further here. As such, paying a little extra for a provider that prides itself on low contention may be a good option. And simply changing providers may also yield the results you’re after, especially if you’ve automatically stuck to the big providers for years.

Note that there are more providers than just the ‘big 5’. Often, choosing a smaller challenger brand that you may not have heard of could provide the remedy. However, they still only service select areas or have a limited amount of plans, but what you usually receive in return is lots of data for comparatively little money.

Is it worth switching to an alternative internet network?

A lot of complaints about the NBN are warranted – it’s slow, it’s taking forever to rollout, it’s expensive to get anything decent and so on. As such, switching to a provider using its very own network is mightily tempting. They aren’t bound by CVC costs, dealing with the NBN or other infrastructure. They are often future-proofing and using 4G connections or a fixed wireless connection. However, there are some considerations you’ll have to make:

  • Consider whether a network in your area is even available. They tend to spring up overnight, but many networks are run by small telcos with a small footprint.
  • You may have to budget extra money for the same amount of data. It’s rare to find an unlimited, top-speed plan for under $100, and cheap plans often have paltry amounts of data.
  • Consider the fact that these networks likely face the same setbacks as any other network – peak time performance issues being the biggest one. However, the extra costs per gigabyte means that more bandwidth can be dished out to each customer.
  • Many are focused in capital cities, with little choice for rural customers.

If there’s a network in your area, it can’t hurt to enquire with the company running it. Though don’t give up on the old NBN just yet! If you undertake some of the measures we’ve outlined above, there could be some surprising results. If you’ve really had enough, however, it can’t hurt to look at an alternative network to the NBN.

Mobile Broadband Plans

Share this article

Advertisement