What internet speed do I need?

Whether you’re switching over to the NBN for the first time, or looking to find the best NBN plan to suit your household, it can be confusing to decide which NBN plan you need. There are lots of things to consider — the NBN connection in your home, speed tier, data needs, cost and of course, which provider you want to sign up with.

However, choosing an NBN plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you have a clearer idea of what your home internet needs are, then you can compare NBN plans from a range of different providers to find the best NBN plan for your household. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the different typical household types and online activities that might help you to determine the right plan type for you.

What is your home’s NBN connection type and why does it matter?

Before you even start thinking about what plan you want to sign up to, it’s important to know how your home is connected to the NBN. There are several different types of technologies used to connect your home to the NBN. These technology types are:

It’s important to know what type of NBN connection you have because not all connection types are capable of delivering all the different NBN speed tiers. For example, Sky Muster Satellite (which is mostly for regional and remote areas) is only capable of delivering 12Mbps and 25Mbps speeds, while a home connected to FTTP will most likely be able to access all of the NBN speed tiers, including the ultra-fast 1000Mbps (or 1Gbps) speed.

In order to find out which technology type your home NBN connection is, you can look up your address on the NBN Co website, where it will tell you if your home is ready to be connected and which technology type is being used.

It’s also worth noting that if you sign up to an NBN plan on a speed tier faster than what your home connection type is capable of delivering, your telco will most likely let you know during or after the activation process. Most telcos allow you to check the technology at your address before you sign up, and will tailor the plans available to only include options and speeds that are compatible with your NBN connection type.

So, while you might be drawn to a super fast NBN speed plan, you might not even be able to get those speeds to your home.

What are the different NBN speed tiers?

There are several different NBN speeds on offer, however not all NBN providers will offer every single one of these speeds. The slowest and fastest speeds are typically offered by fewer providers, so if you decide that you want to sign up on a slower or faster plan, you’ll have less choices to compare. Here are the NBN speeds on offer:

  • Home Basic 1 (NBN 12) — 12Mbps download, 1Mbps upload
  • Home Basic II (NBN 25) — 25Mbps download, 5Mbps upload
  • Home Standard (NBN 50) — 50Mbps download, 20Mbps upload
  • Home Fast (NBN 100) — 100Mbps download, 20Mbps or 40Mbps upload
  • Home Superfast (NBN 250) — 250Mbps download, 25Mbps upload
  • Home Ultrafast (NBN 1000) — 1000Mbps download, 50Mbps upload

Some providers might also offer plans at different speeds to the above listed ones, which can be done by capping the maximum speed and adjusting the price to reflect that capped speed.

Which NBN speed do I need?

If you’re new to NBN or still struggling to wrap your head around speeds, it’s important to know which speed tier will best suit your household needs. This ensures that your NBN speed matches how you use the internet, and that you’re not paying more for a faster connection that you don’t need. For example, if you live in a small household with only moderate internet usage, signing up to an NBN 100 plan will most likely be too fast for your needs, and you can easily save around $20 monthly by downgrading to a more suitable speed.

So, what NBN speed do you need? Below we’ll take a look at some common household sizes and types, along with the typical activities to determine which NBN speed is best suited to those households.

NBN plans for different household types

Households with 1-2 people

Smaller households might be content with the slowest speeds — Home Basic I or Home Basic II. However, this does depend on the types of activities that you commonly do online.

For smaller households that only use the internet for the absolute basics like emails, phone calls and simple web browsing, a plan with NBN 12 (Home Basic I) speeds will most likely be suitable for you. If you do a little bit more than that, such as more general web browsing, social media, streaming music and even streaming Standard Definition (SD) videos, you’d be best looking at a NBN 25 (Home Basic II) plan. NBN 25 is also a better option if you have more than one person using the internet at the same time, while NBN 12 might not be able to handle multiple users at once.

If you’re a small household, play online games, and like watching High Definition (HD) or even 4K videos, you might need to invest in a faster speed plan, such as NBN 50 or even NBN 100. Just because you have a smaller household doesn’t mean a slower speed will be best for you, as some users — whether a one or two person household — might prefer to be on a faster plan for that faster performance.

Households with 3-4 people

If you’re a household of three or four people who are all online simultaneously with a number of different devices, the NBN 50 speed tier is most likely your best option. This speed is recommended for HD video streaming, downloading files, working from home and online gaming, in addition to the basics like web browsing and social media. This is especially suitable if multiple users are watching videos, playing games or doing other high-intensity activities at the same time.

Of course, if only a couple of those household members use the internet (and are mostly moderate users), a slower speed could be a better option. Overall, it’s more how you use your NBN plan, rather than household size, that determines which speed you need.

The NBN 50 speed tier is the most commonly available speed tier, and is also accessible by most NBN connections. For some NBN connection types, this is the fastest speed option you can sign up to.

Households with 4+ people

For households of over four people, especially large families with five or more people online simultaneously, the best NBN speed tier is typically NBN 100. It’s also recommended for downloading large files and streaming video in 4K. Typically if you have several devices using the internet at once, all performing moderate to heavy internet activities like video streaming, gaming and social media, this is most likely the best speed option for you.

Renters

If you’re renting, there are few things to consider when choosing an NBN plan, especially in a share house. If there are going to be multiple people, whether you’re family or flatmates, consider the online activities of these users to help determine which speed tier will most likely match your needs.

Once you’ve determined which speed tier will best suit your household, when you compare plans from a range of providers, you might want to look for plans that are month-to-month and not tied to a contract. This gives you the freedom to cancel as needed, or move to another plan that better suits.

Gamers

Naturally, anyone who plays games, especially online, will require faster internet speeds. Not only to support the demands of online gaming, which can be bandwidth-intensive, but also for downloading game files and updates. NBN 50 is the speed tier recommended by NBN Co for playing online games, however a small household with only one person playing games, and maybe not too regularly, might be able to manage with NBN 25. Larger households with even greater internet needs, such as several household members playing online games, may want to look at NBN 100, 250 or even 1000 speeds.

Another thing to look out for is how providers tailor their NBN plans for gamers. Some providers might generally optimise NBN plans for gaming, while others might offer special plans or tools to help improve your online gaming performance. While this might end up costing you more on your internet bill, if these are features you’re interested in, take a look to see what suits your budget best.

Seniors

Typically, seniors in small households might find the slower NBN speeds to best suit their internet usage. If you only use your home internet every now and then for basic tasks like checking emails, phone calls and web browsing, you might find a plan on NBN 12 or 25 to be best suited for your needs. Seniors with greater needs like streaming HD videos and making video calls, might want to consider NBN 50.

However, for seniors with lighter internet usage, it’s not just the speed you want to look into, but also the data inclusions. While most providers now offer NBN plans with unlimited data by default, some providers offer a capped data inclusion and often at a much cheaper price — in fact, some of the cheapest NBN plans are with a capped data amount. For occasional and light internet usage, a capped-data NBN 12 plan might be the right option.

Some providers also offer special seniors NBN plans, which might be discounted, have smaller inclusions or feature other services like home phone built in. Some of these plans may require you to show your seniors or pensioners card on sign up.

Choosing a good NBN plan

Now that you have a clearer idea of what kind of household you might fit into, and therefore, which speed you think will be best, you’ll then need to compare NBN plans from a range of different providers.

While you might want to take the easy route and sign up with a provider you’re familiar with or are already a customer of, sticking with the familiar could be costing you more than you realise. There are plenty of NBN providers around, and some might offer a better deal than if you were to sign up with your existing ISP. Of course, in addition to finding a plan that fits in your budget, there are other factors that might help you to choose the best NBN provider for you.

If you’re looking for a fast and reliable provider, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) releases a report on NBN performance every few months. The Measuring Broadband report ranks some of Australia’s most popular NBN providers by measuring average download speeds during the peak evening times of 7pm to 11pm. While every household is different, these reports provide a good general overview as to the performance of some of the most popular providers.

Another factor you may wish to consider when choosing your NBN provider is what existing customers think of their current telco. At Canstar Blue, every year we release our Customer Satisfaction rating on NBN providers. These ratings are based on Australian survey respondents and how satisfied they are with their current NBN provider when it comes to factors such as speed and reliability, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.

Some providers might also offer discounts, bundle options, bonuses or entertainment add-ons, which might be the sort of extra value that you want in a plan. Overall, you’ll want to look at a range of providers which offer both the speed tier you’re after and your preferred plan/contract period, in order to find a plan that suits your budget and needs.

To start you off on choosing the best NBN plan for your household, below are some tables featuring a selection of NBN plans across different speed tiers. Click on the tabs to view plans on the different speed options.

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 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 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 monthly cost, from 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 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 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 referral partners.

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 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 referral partners.

NBN 1000 Plans Compared

The following table shows selected published NBN 1000 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

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

Unlimited NBN Ultrafast

  • NBN 1000/50Mbps speed
  • Optional WiFi hub+ modem for $149 upfront plus $10 P&H
  • Special offer: $105 for the first six months, then $135 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $135 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $135Advertised Data^^/billing period
Kogan Logo

Diamond Unlimited

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Modem available for $69 upfront

min. cost $139.90 for first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $139.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Superloop logo

Ultrafast 1000/50

  • Ultrafast 1000/50 Speed (NBN 1000)
  • Special offer: $119.95 for the first six months, then $139.95 ongoing. Ends 31/10/21, terms apply.

min. cost $139.95 over one month

3TBMax Data**/billing period $139.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
TPG Logo

NBN Home Ultrafast

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000)
  • $0 setup fee on no lock-in contracts
  • Special offer: $114.99 per month for first 6 months, then $144.99 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $144.99 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $144.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period

Power House

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)
  • Special offer: First month free when you use code ‘FASTMONTH‘ at checkout. Terms apply.

min. cost $149 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $149Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
iiNet Logo

NBN1000 Liimitless

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Special offer: $119.99 for the first six months, then $149.99 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $149.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $149.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Internode

NBN1000 Unlimited

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Special offer: $119.99 for the first six months, then $149.99 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $149.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $149.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Ultrafast NBN

  • Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000)
  • Typical evening speed: 250Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: 3 months free BINGE Standard.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $4,419 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $180Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

NBN 250 Plans Compared

The following table shows selected published unlimited NBN 250 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

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

elite mates Home Superfast BYO

  • Superfast 250/25 Evening Speed (NBN 250)
  • Special offer: $89 per month for the first 6 months, then $109 per month ongoing. Terms apply, offer available until withdrawn.

min. cost $109 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $109Advertised Cost^^/billing period
iPrimus Logo

NBN 250

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250)
  • $70 setup fee
  • Modem included ($15 P&H)
  • PAYG calls

min. cost $185 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $115Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
MyRepublic Logo

Unlimited NBN Superfast

  • NBN 250/25Mbps speed
  • Optional WiFi hub+ modem for $149 upfront plus $10 P&H
  • Special offer: $95 for the first six months, then $115 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $115 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $115Advertised Data^^/billing period
Kogan Logo

Platinum Unlimited

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Modem available for $69 upfront

min. cost $119.90 for first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $119.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Superloop logo

Unlimited Superfast 250/25

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Special offer: $99.95 for the first six months, then $119.95 ongoing. Offer expires 31/10/21, terms apply.

min. cost $119.95 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $119.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
TPG Logo

NBN Home Superfast

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250)
  • $0 setup fee on no lock-in contracts
  • Special offer: $94.99 per month for first 6 months, then $124.99 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $124.99 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $124.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period

Power User

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)
  • Special offer: First month free when you use code ‘FASTMONTH‘ at checkout. Terms apply.

min. cost $129 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Internode

NBN250 Unlimited

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Special offer: $99.99 for the first six months, then $129.99 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $129.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period
iiNet Logo

NBN250 Liimitless

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Special offer: $99.99 for the first six months, then $129.99 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $129.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Superfast NBN

  • Superfast Speed (NBN 250)
  • Typical evening speed: 215Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: Get 3 months BINGE standard subscription, terms apply. Offer available until withdrawn.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $3,459 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $140Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

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