NBN check: how to tell if you’re ready to connect

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The National Broadband Network (NBN) is in the final roll out stage, with the initial build now completed and more than seven million premises connected across Australia. But while NBN Co claims that the bulk of the work is done, there’s still a huge chunk of Australian homes and businesses waiting to connect to an NBN plan.

If you’re not yet connected to the NBN, you’re probably wondering when — and if — the network will be available in your area. And if you are connected, but unhappy with your speed or service, you may also have questions about upgrading your service, or even ditching the NBN altogether. Here’s Canstar Blue’s easy guide to checking if you’re NBN-ready (and what to do next if you are!).

In this guide:

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Check your address

Your first step is checking the address of your home and business to see if an NBN connection is available at your location. You can do this by following the links to provider websites in tables on this page, or by heading to the NBN Co’s address checker.

Enter your street address in the ‘Check Your Address’ tool found on your intended service provider or NBN Co’s website. The tool will let you know if your location is ready to connect, and will also indicate the NBN connection type available at your address. NBN connection types refer to the way your home or business will physically connect to the NBN network, and include the below options:

  • Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)
  • Fibre to the Node (FTTN)
  • Fibre to the Building (FTTB)
  • Fibre to the Curb (FTTC)
  • Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)
  • Fixed Wireless
  • SkyMuster Satellite

Knowing your ‘NBN type’ is important, as the NBN speed available to you will depend on the type of technology used to connect your residence. If you’re a FTTP or HFC customer, you’ll most likely have access to the fastest plans on offer, but Sky Muster or Fixed Wireless users may be restricted to slower speeds. You’ll be given a list of compatible plans for your NBN type when you enter your address on a provider’s website.

NBN is available in my area — what next?

If you’re eligible to connect, congrats! In addition to indicating your NBN connection type, an address search should also let you know your neighbourhood’s cut-off date for existing fixed-line internet and home phone services – i.e. the date when your current ADSL, cable, or home phone line will switch off.

Once the NBN is live in your street, you’ll have 18 months to move your services to the new network, or find an NBN alternative if you don’t plan to switch. After this 18-month grace period, existing fixed broadband connections (such as ADSL and ADSL2+) and home phone services will cease to operate, so you’ll need to arrange a new service before the cut-off date if you want to avoid any time without home internet.

Other devices and services that may be affected by a move to NBN, or by the switch-off of old copper wire networks, include medical alarms, fire alarms, security systems, EFTPOS terminals, and fax machines. If you rely on any of these in your home or workplace, make sure you contact your device or system provider before you switch to an NBN plan to find out the options available at your location.

NBN isn’t available in my area yet — what do I do?

If you’re not able to connect to the NBN, then you still have several options. You can stick with your current internet service for now, and wait and see if the NBN eventually goes live in your area. Or, you can look to a permanent NBN alternative, such as mobile or home wireless broadband or move to a competing privately-owned fibre broadband network.

Click here to jump to NBN alternatives.

Ready to switch to the NBN?

If you’re eligible to switch and keen to make the jump, Canstar Blue has compiled a detailed step-by-step guide to switching to the NBN (or simply changing NBN providers). For a quick look at what to do next, you can follow the tips below.

  1. Compare NBN plans and providers
  2. Find the right NBN speed
  3. Sign up with your new NBN provider

Compare NBN plans and providers

If you’re ready to get started with the NBN, you can compare plans and providers on Canstar Blue’s simple NBN comparison tool. The main things you’ll want to consider when comparing plans include:

  • Monthly price
  • Speed tier
  • Data inclusions
  • Setup costs
  • Length of contract
  • Modem options

To get you started, we’ve selected popular plans across each of the four main NBN speed tiers in the below table. If you’re interested in any of the plans in the below table (or on our NBN comparison tool), you can click through to go directly to each provider’s site and start the sign-up process.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, 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.

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, 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.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, 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.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, 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.

NBN speeds: which speed do I need?

While there were previously just four NBN speed tiers available to residential customers, 2020 has seen several new ultra-fast options arrive on the market, including gigabit-speed NBN 1000. Depending on your location, NBN connection type, and choice of provider, you’ll be able to pick from the following speed tiers:

Speed Tier Also known as Maximum Download Speed

NBN 12

Home Basic I or Basic Evening Speed

12Mbps

NBN 25

Home Basic II or Standard Evening Speed

25Mbps

NBN 50

Home Standard or Standard Plus Evening Speed

50Mbps

NBN 75

N/A

75Mbps

NBN 100

Home Fast or Premium Evening Speed

100Mbps

NBN 250

Home Superfast

250Mbps

NBN 1000

Home Ultrafast

1000Mbps

NBN 12 is the slowest, NBN 1000 the fastest — and the quicker the speed tier, the more expensive your plan will be. Generally, low-level internet users may prefer NBN 12, individuals or couples with average usage needs may be best suited to NBN 25, while families and homes with more demanding streaming and gaming/downloading requirements may need NBN 50.

The speed available to you will depend on the type of technology used to connect your residence to the NBN. If you’re a FTTP or HFC customer, you’ll most likely have access to all seven speed tiers, but satellite or fixed wireless users may be restricted to slower speeds. You’ll be given a list of compatible plans for your NBN type when you enter your address on a provider’s website.

To better understand NBN speeds and figure out which option is right for you, head over to our NBN speed tiers guide.

Sign up to your new NBN plan and cancel your old broadband service

Once you’ve picked an NBN plan, you can order your new service online, or call your intended new provider to talk over the details and organise an installation. A first-time NBN connection will most likely require a visit from an NBN technician to install and activate your service, but your provider will be in touch with all the info you need once you’ve signed up.

You’ll also want to let your old internet provider know that you’re cancelling your plan, and make sure you’re aware of cancellation fees that may apply. However, if you’re sticking with your current broadband provider, and simply moving your service to one of their NBN options, you won’t need to worry about this step.

If you’re looking for more information on NBN installation, activation, and connections, we’ve got all your FAQs covered in our NBN switching guide.

NBN alternatives: the best options when you don’t have NBN

If you’re not yet eligible for an NBN connection, or simply don’t want to sign up for an NBN plan, you do have options. We’ve written up a detailed guide to the best NBN alternatives, but broadband options to consider include:

Mobile broadband

Mobile broadband allows you to connect your devices at home and on-the-go to a 3G, 4G or even 5G mobile network for fast internet access anywhere. It’s more suited to lower-level users, as there’s no unlimited full-speed data options available and plans do run on the expensive side when compared to NBN.

Home wireless broadband

Home wireless broadband uses the same 4G and 5G mobile networks as mobile broadband, but is designed to function as a total home internet solution, You’ll get more data on these plans, but coverage is limited to your home.

Other fibre networks

Several privately-owned fast fibre broadband networks operate across Australia, but they’re not nearly as widespread as the NBN. Most of these providers service specific regions and mainly offer connections in newly developed estates and buildings, but if you’re lucky enough to be covered you can sign up for high-speed broadband at competitive prices.

Non-NBN fibre network providers to look out for include:

Some telcos, such as TPG, also offer their non-NBN fast fibre plans in selected areas – you’ll be notified if this is an option in your area after entering your address on a provider’s website.

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