Choosing the Perfect nbn™ Plan
A critical part of the National Broadband Network (nbn™) rollout that affects all home phone and internet users is the disconnection of the old copper telephone and ADSL network 18 months after the nbn™ is installed in each area. However, the switch from the old network to the nbn™ is not automatic and home ADSL and telephone users need to apply for their old service to be discontinued and the new service connected. Doing so means selecting the right nbn™ plan for your needs, with each plan offering different download and upload speeds, and different data usage limits.
Bigger and faster is better, but it is also more costly and not always necessary. More important considerations include the number of users in each household, the primary online activities within each home, and the nbn™ connection technology that is available in your area; points we will look at in detail in this guide to helping you choose the perfect nbn™ plan for your home.
What Types of nbn™ Connections Are Available?
There are seven different types of nbn™ connections in use, with different factors influencing which type of connection technology is installed around the country. These also influence the maximum download and upload speed available to you, with most supporting up to 100 Mbps. The limits of existing technology mean those living in rural or remote areas are currently limited to maximum download speeds of 25 or 50 Mbps.
- Fibre to the Premises (FTTP): This type of connection sees a fibre optic cable being run from the nearest fibre node all the way to your home, with an access network device installed inside your home. The theoretical maximum download speed for an FTTP connection is 1 Gbps, though this is not currently offered by any service providers.
- Fibre to the Node (FTTN): Most homes will have a Fibre to the Node connection, with a fibre optic line connecting the fibre node – usually a street cabinet – to the exchange. Existing telephone lines are used for the final connection from the node to your home, and no access network device is needed as your modem will still connect through the traditional phone socket. The theoretical maximum download speed for an FTTN connection is 100 Mbps, though this is not guaranteed and can be influenced by a number of factors.
- Fibre to the Curb (FTTC): Similar to FTTN, a Fibre to the Curb connection will see fibre optic lines running to a small Distribution Point Unit (DPU) that is installed in a pit on the street or in the footpath outside homes. Multiple homes connect to the DPU using existing phone lines, though an nbn™ connection box is still required inside each home. The theoretical maximum download speed for an FTTC connection is 500 Mbps, though only 100 Mbps is currently available on the nbn™.
- Fibre to the Building (FTTB): Used for apartment blocks and similar buildings, with the fibre optic line running to a fibre node in the building's communications room or basement, and then connecting to each apartment using the existing connection technology in the building. The theoretical maximum download speed for an FTTN connection is 100 Mbps, though this is not guaranteed and can be influenced by a number of factors.
- Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC): If you have an existing ‘pay TV’ or cable network connection, this can be used for the final part of the nbn™ connection, with the HFC line running from the nearest fibre node, to your home. An nbn™ access network device still needs to be installed where the line enters your home. In theory, HFC connections can deliver the top speeds offered by the nbn™: currently 100 Mbps, with plans for the nbn™ to eventually offer download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.
- Fixed Wireless: Sometimes – due to the distance between homes or premises – the other connection types usually offered are not possible. Instead data travels between an outdoor antenna installed on your property and a transmission tower located up to 14 kilometres away. An nbn™ connection box needs to be installed where the cable from the outdoor antenna enters your home. The theoretical maximum download speed for a fixed wireless connection is 75 Mbps, though this can be influenced by a number of factors.
- Sky Muster™ Satellite Service: Intended to allow people living in rural and remote areas of Australia to benefit from the nbn™. Connection is via two state-of-the-art satellites and a supplied modem and rooftop satellite dish at your home. The theoretical maximum download speed for a satellite connection is 25 Mbps, though this can be influenced by a number of factors. However, customers who only qualify for nbn™ via the Sky Muster™ satellite service can choose to keep their phone service over the copper network, or switch to using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
The type of connection your nbn™ installation will use is not something you can choose but is instead decided by what is already available in your area. However, it does have a significant influence on the nbn™ plans available to you.
Which nbn™ Speed Is Better?
All fibre connections support different download and upload speeds, from a download speed during busy periods of less than 15 Mbps, up to at least 60 Mbps. Only the fixed wireless and Sky Muster™ satellite services have more limited speed tiers available. But selecting the highest available speed is not the right approach to choosing the perfect nbn™ plan. Dodo offers customers three nbn™ plan, with each featuring a different maximum download speed suitable for different household sizes and types of usage:
• Download speed of up to 25 Mbps 2
• Download speed of up to 50 Mbps 3
• Download speed of up to 100 Mbps 4
1 Available only in certain areas with FTTP, FTTC and HFC type connections
2 Average sampled evening speed of 20 Mbps
3 Average sampled evening speed of 41 Mbps
4 Average sampled evening speed of 82 Mbps
Average sampled evening speeds (7-11pm). Based on the ACCC Measuring Broadband Australia Report (May 2020) measured across the ACCC’s sampled connections between 7pm-11pm in February 2020. FTTN/FTTB/FTTC/Fixed Wireless speeds will be confirmed once connected.
With new nbn™ connections, the maximum speed supported can only be determined after the installation and activation of your service. If your chosen speed is not supported by your installation, you can choose to drop to the maximum speed that is supported, or to cancel your service.
All nbn™ plans offered by Dodo are available on either a 12-month or month-to-month term and include a suitable modem, though the $120 setup fee is only waived when signing up for a 12-month term. A landline service with pay-as-you-go calls is also included on all plans.
How Much Data Can I Use on Each nbn™ Plan?
Unlimited data is available on Dodo’s nbn25 nbn50 and nbn100 plans, but not all households require unlimited data allowances, and what you should first consider before deciding on an nbn™ plan include:
- How much data you used each month on your old ADSL internet service. This is usually reflected on your monthly statement or the service providers online portal.
- How many people there are in your household. A capped data allocation of 100GB per month could be quite sufficient for a two-person household, especially if you watch video streaming services such as Netflix together.
- Whether any of the persons in your household also work from home and make a lot of video calls.
- What the most common online activity will be, with high-quality video streaming and online gaming both using much more data than normal browsing.
One hour of Netflix uses between 300MB and 700MB of data when streaming SD quality, 3GB an hour at HD quality, and 7GB when streaming at 4K. And new games for Xbox, PlayStation, and PC are typically released via online gaming marketplaces and need to be downloaded. A single game can easily use 60GB and more to download.
How Much Does Each nbn™ Plan Cost?
The most important factor in choosing the perfect nbn™ will differ from person to person, with higher speeds or data allowances being more important than cost for some. Naturally, faster speeds and higher – or unlimited – data allowances do cost more. The nbn25 plan from Dodo is the most affordable at only $65 per month, but it is important to remember that this plan is better suited to smaller households without a high demand for video streaming or online gaming. The nbn50 plan costs $70 per month, and with unlimited data is more suitable for larger households with an average demand for video streaming and online gaming, with the nbn100 plan – at $80 per month for the first 12 months– offering the highest available speed, with unlimited data, making it the best nbn™ plan for large families and households with heavy demands for online gaming and high-quality video streaming.
Find out if your home is nbn™ ready with our rollout map, which also indicates whether fixed line or fixed wireless is available in your area. Then, call us to discuss the next steps in choosing the perfect plan and getting you connected to the nbn™.