How to switch NBN plans

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The looming completion of the NBN rollout means more Australians are eligible to get connected, or are simply ready to find a better NBN deal. But with so many plans on offer (and plenty of controversy still surrounding the network rollout), you may not be confident about making the jump.

Fortunately, moving to the NBN  – or changing your existing NBN service to a new provider – doesn’t have to be a nightmare. So if you’re ready to switch, here’s an easy guide to a stress-free NBN transition, including answers to your most-asked questions.

In this guide:

Switching to a new NBN plan: four simple steps

1. Check your devices and services

If you’re preparing to switch to the NBN for the first time, there’s a few things to be aware of before making the change. Certain devices that use existing telephone and copper lines may not be compatible with the technology used in the NBN – for example, medical alarms, fire alarms, security systems, EFTPOS terminals, and fax machines. If you own or use a device that may be impacted by a switch to the NBN, contact your device provider to find out what you need to do before changing your broadband plan.

If you’d like to keep your existing home phone number, you’ll need to let your intended provider know at sign-up. You should be able to port your number easily when changing plans or switching to the NBN network, but make sure you get confirmation from your new provider.

2. Find a plan

Generally, if NBN is available in your area, you should have no issues switching over. Your first step is to do your research and decide which provider and plan is right for you – Canstar Blue’s NBN comparison tool is a great place to get started. You’ll want to consider how much data you’ll need each month for your household, as well as your desired plan speed and monthly budget – not all NBN providers offer all speed tiers, and data allowances may vary (although unlimited data is standard with most plans).

You may also want to factor in modem and setup costs, as well as deciding if you’re happy to sign a long-term contract or just go month-to-month. You’ll also want to check which particular NBN technology is available at your address (such as Fibre to the Premises, Fibre to the Node, or HFC), as this can have an impact on your maximum plan speed – entering your address in NBN Co’s coverage checker will also confirm the connection type available to your home.

Which NBN speed do I need?

We’ve produced an in-depth guide to NBN speed tiers here,  but most Australians have a choice of four speed options: Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12), Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25), Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50), and Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100). The faster your plan, the more you’ll pay per month, so you’ll need to find a balance between speed and spending to get the most from your plan.

When comparing, you’ll want to look at the Typical Evening Speed listed by each telco to determine how your plan is likely to perform. For more information on navigating NBN evening speeds (and for tips on how to find the fastest plan for each budget), check out our guide to typical evening speeds.

If you’re ready to compare NBN plans, we’ve picked out a selection of offers on all four speed tiers in the tables below.

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 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 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 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 to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

3. Sign up with your new provider

Once you’ve found your perfect NBN plan, it’s time to sign up. You can order your new plan online, but if you’re new to the NBN you may want to call your provider first to check over installation requirements. Generally, a switch-over from one NBN service to another will take between one and three business days, but this will vary depending on your location, the type of technology you’re using, and other factors – some transitions can be done in less than an hour, others may take a few days.

You may need to make a time for an NBN technician to drop by complete your installation, but again, this isn’t guaranteed. Your new provider will be able to advise you on connection dates, installation options, and anything else you need to know to make the switch as easy as possible. If you can’t live without internet, you’ll probably also want to line up your NBN activation with the cancellation date for your old broadband plan.

4. Break up with your old telco

Once you’ve set up a switch with your new telco, you’ll need to let your current provider know you’ve decided to jump ship. Check that you’re not going to be stuck with any annoying cancellation fees, and make sure you have a clear disconnection date, so you’ll know in advance if there will be any down time between your old broadband cutting off, and your new NBN service going live.

Your old provider may also ask for the return of any rented modems that were included in your previous plan. If this is the case, make sure you have a new compatible NBN-ready modem/router lined up – you can either buy one yourself, or purchase a pre-configured device from your new NBN provider. If you’re using an email address connected to your old plan, you may also want to forward future emails to another account, or back up any important messages before disconnecting.

How do I know when the NBN is available?

Often, you’ll be notified when the NBN is available in your area. If you’re unsure if your home is NBN-ready, or you just want an estimate on when the network will go live at your location, you can enter your address at NBN Co’s address checker.

If your home has ‘service available’, congratulations – you can move to an NBN plan straight away. You should also be able to check the switch-off date for existing fixed-line internet and home phone services via this tool, so you’ll know how much time you have to find and change to an NBN plan.

Remember that although the NBN is replacing existing ADSL and cable networks, you won’t be automatically moved to an NBN plan when your existing service is shut off. If you want to avoid being stuck without home internet or phone, you’ll need to switch to an NBN plan before the cut-off date for outdated services in your area.

How long does it take to connect to the NBN?

While most NBN connections can be completed in one to three business days, some customers may experience a longer waiting period. Connection times may vary for a variety of reasons, including your location, the type of NBN technology your home will connect with, and if your property is already NBN-ready.

If this is the first time the NBN has been connected at your address, you’ll most likely need to make an appointment for an NBN technician to install and activate your new service. You can organise an installation time with your telco, so you won’t need to contact NBN Co directly. Depending on your address and the availability of technicians in your area, the next available appointment may be several weeks away: your telco will be able to advise you further when you place your order.

If you don’t require a visit from an NBN technician, you may be given the option of installing your modem and service yourself. Customers who choose a self-install option will receive full instructions on how to complete the process, usually sent out with your provider’s modem.

Do I have to pay for NBN installation?

Standard NBN installation is free (including the appointment with an NBN technician). However, if your home is considered to be a new development by the NBN – i.e., a newly-built property with no existing connections – you may need to pay an NBN New Development Fee of up to $300. Your telco will advise you if this fee applies before you finalise your order, so you won’t be hit with a surprise charge after you’ve already signed up.

If you’ve arranged an installation time but need to cancel or reschedule, you may incur a cancellation fee if you provide less than 48 hours notice. Your telco can advise you on their specific cancellation policy when you make your appointment.

Switching NBN

What happens during NBN installation?

If you’ve set up a time to have your NBN installed, there’s a few things you’ll need to know in advance.

  • An individual over the age of 18 needs to be present for all NBN technician visits.
  • Installation may take several hours, depending on your connection type and requirements.
  • Your technician will require easy access to the areas where your equipment will be installed, so make sure children and pets are kept safe and out of the way.
  • Most connections require the installation of an outdoor utility box, plus an interior connection or socket inside your home.
  • If you need to nominate an indoor connection spot, look for somewhere central near an existing phone socket and electrical outlet. Ideally, you’ll want somewhere that’s easy to reach, but out-of-the-way to prevent accidental damage.
  • Once your installation is complete, your technician will test your connection and service speeds, and ask you to confirm that you’re satisfied.

Keep in mind that after your service is installed and activated, it may take up to 48 hours for your internet service to be fully up-and-running.

Connecting to the NBN as a renter

If you’re renting a home or apartment that isn’t already connected to the NBN, you’ll need to inform your landlord, property manager, or real estate estate of your plans to move to the network. As new connections typically require the equipment of installation in and around your home, a landlord or manager’s approval is needed before technicians make any changes to property.

Your landlord may request to be present during the NBN installation, and may also want to decide where equipment will be installed and connected. However, this also means that they’ll likely cover the costs of any extra installation fees incurred during the connection process.

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