Best NBN plans for 2024: independent expert picks, from affordable to ultra fast

Best NBN plans: quick menu

Need help choosing the best NBN plan for you? We’re here to guide you with our expert recommendations every month, including our pick from the popular NBN 50 plans to the super speedy NBN 1000 tier. All the NBN plans we’ve chosen promise to consistently deliver the speed you want at a reasonable price.

When we make our recommendations for the best NBN plans, the two main factors we consider are price and speed. For price, many of the best NBN providers offer a six-month discount when you first sign up, while others will occasionally extend that discount to 12 months – these are great ways to save money on your NBN plan.

And finding the best deals on NBN plans is now more important than ever. From July 1, 2024, the NBN Co increased its wholesale costs to internet service providers (ISPs). These costs have since been passed onto consumers, putting popular plans up by up to AU$5 per month. 

Fortunately, there are still some decent deals to be just need to know where to look. 

The quick list

Ready to find out what the best NBN plans are? A roundup of our choices are below, with each being our best pick for different use cases and budgets:

Which is the best NBN provider?

Best NBN provider this month– TPG

Best NBN provider this month – TPG

TPG is our new pick for the best NBN provider this month, marking the first time one of the big three telcos in Australia has claimed the spot. TPG's current 'one month free' promotion has meant it's among the cheapest providers (and occasionally the outright cheapest) over the first 12 months of a service. 

TPG has also not only been steadily increasing the speeds of its plans, but it's also introduced much faster speeds across its own fibre network. This network is a competitor the NBN, and it applies solely to FTTB connections, so if you live in an apartment building, you could be eligible to achieve faster speeds than what you'd be able to with the NBN. 

Learn more: Best NBN provider

Best NBN plans: major telcos

When looking at NBN plans, you’ll notice that the three major telcos tend to have the more expensive options out there – particularly Telstra and Optus. The benefits of going with Telstra, Optus or TPG for your NBN plan is that you can feel confident you’ll get a reliable, high-performing service, as has been continuously shown in the ACCC’s reporting.

Another benefit to signing up with Telstra or Optus is that these providers often throw in perks and optional add-ons, such as a modem with 4G backup, free trials of streaming services or plans that are optimised for gaming. TPG doesn’t have these optional extras, but it’s the cheapest option of the big three with good value plans.

If you’re looking for an NBN plan from Telstra, Optus or TPG these are our plan recommendations:

  • Want to see other NBN plans? You can use our NBN plan finder to compare a huge range of Australian NBN plans

How we choose

How we judge the best NBN plans

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

To select our picks for the best NBN plans, our experts consider and weigh the following key aspects for fixed-line NBN plans:

Speed: Each speed tier indicates the maximum speed available, for example, an NBN 50 plan is able to reach download speeds of 50Mbps. However, not every provider will be able to reach the maximum speed available during the busiest evening hours, which fall between 7–11pm. NBN providers are required to report their typical evening speeds, so we look for plans that have a maxed-out typical evening speed. No provider reaches the theoretical maximum of 1,000Mbps in the NBN 1000 tier, so in this instance, we consider the total claimed Mbps against price to weigh relative value.

Price: Price is an important factor in our decision making. We look for plans that are below, or at least on par with, the average monthly price in their respective speed tier. Price ultimately has to be weighed up against speed, as there’s no use paying for a cheap NBN plan that offers slower-than-average speed. Most NBN providers also offer an initial discount period (typically 6 months) to encourage you to sign up, so we look for competitive offers when making our choices. The ongoing price must also remain reasonable to get our recommendation.

Data allowance: The majority of fixed-line NBN plans offer unlimited data, so in all but exceptional cases, we only recommend plans with an unlimited data allowance.

Performance: The ACCC monitors the performance of some of the top NBN providers in Australia, so we always take this data into account when making our recommendations. If the ACCC doesn’t monitor a particular internet provider, we also look at feedback provided by real users on sites such as Whirlpool.

Perks: We consider perks as nice to have, but they carry less weight compared to other factors in our decision making. Some examples of perks include Australian-based customer support, or the ability to include a home phone service. Other perks can enhance the performance of your service, such as the ability to bump your plan’s regular speed up to the next available tier on five days of your choosing – a feature offered by Exetel and Superloop.


What is the NBN?

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is Australia’s upgraded internet and phone infrastructure. It’s a government initiative that was first announced more than 10 years ago, and after several changes to the rollout plan, it’s officially been declared complete (though upgrades are still ongoing).

The NBN uses optical fibre and other technology types to get faster, stable internet into homes across Australia, taking the place of copper wires and cable broadband.

Understanding NBN speeds: which is right for you?

Choosing an NBN speed tier is arguably the most important decision you’ll make when it comes to getting internet. To figure out which is right for you, factor in how many people will be using the internet in your household and what their usage is like. Here, we’ve broken down each speed tier, and what they get you.

Your connection type can also limit what speed tiers you can access – click here to learn more about NBN connection types, or head to the NBN Co’s website to check what connection is available at your address.

NBN 12 (Basic I): 12Mbps download | 1Mbps upload | Any connection type | 1 user | Suited for a one-person household for browsing the internet, sending emails and watching YouTube videos at 1080p – though this tier is not recommended for lots of streaming.

NBN 25 (Basic II): 25Mbps download | 5Mbps upload | Any connection type | 1-2 users | For one or two people who want to browse the web at the same time, stream music and stream video in 1080p.

NBN 50 (Standard): 50Mbps download | 20Mbps upload | Any connection type | 2-4 users | Allows multiple users to stream in high definition and play games online, and crucially for some, it’s higher uploads are well-suited to working from home – particularly if you need to video chat.

NBN 100 (Fast): 100Mbps download | 20Mbps upload | Any connection type | 5+ users | Suitable for streaming video in 4K, downloading large files and having multiple devices online at the same time.

NBN 250 (Superfast): 250Mbps download | 25Mbps upload | FTTP, HFC connections | 5+ users | Gives you absurdly fast speeds that will let multiple people stream in 4K at the same time, and allow faster downloads of large files such as games and OS updates.

NBN 1000 (Ultrafast): 1000Mbps download | 50Mbps upload | FTTP, HFC connections | 5+ users | Fastest speed tier you can get, but note that there’s considerable difference between the typical evening speeds offered by the few telcos that offer this tier, with the lowest being 245Mbps and the highest reaching 700Mbps (the latter coming from Telstra).

What does 'typical evening speed' mean?

A typical evening speed is the average download speed you can expect on a plan during the peak busy hours of 7pm-11pm. Each telco will quote a typical evening speed on its plans, and this number can vary within the same speed tier, so be sure to check and compare.

In 2021, more internet providers started to claim a maximum typical evening speed, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found several ISPs are even delivering above that maximum number.

With so many providers offering a fast service, factoring in typical evening speeds isn’t as important as it used to be, but you should still keep an eye out for low numbers. Any NBN provider quoting close to the tier’s top-rated speed is fine, but consider it a big red flag if it’s significantly lower than the norm.

What are NBN connection types?

First, to figure out what connection type you have, check your address on the NBN Co website. Your connection type is good to know, as not every NBN plan is supported by every connection, so it’s an easy first step in narrowing down your choices.

While the NBN is made up of a multi-technology mix, it’s important to know that you don’t have a choice in what technology is available to you. Different connection types have been built in different areas, so it’s entirely dependent on where you live. Below, we lay out the connection types across the network, and what they mean.

Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP): FTTP is a fibre-optic line that runs directly to your home, and therefore is the best type of connection you can have. It requires a device to be installed in your home, and is what was originally intended for every household in Australia when the NBN was first announced.

Fibre-to-the-building (FTTB): An FTTB connection is most commonly used for connecting apartment blocks and similar buildings to the NBN. In this instance, a fibre-optic line runs to the building’s communications room, and existing technology such as copper wiring is used to connect each apartment from there.

Hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC): An HFC connection uses existing pay TV (Foxtel) or cable network as the final connection to households. The HFC line will run from your home to the nearest available fibre node.

Fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC): FTTC is when the fibre-optic cable extends a little closer to your home by connecting to a distribution unit located outside on the street. From there, it uses the copper phone line to run the last leg into your home.

Fibre-to-the-node (FTTN): The majority of Australian households – around 4.7 million – are using FTTN technology. This connection type uses existing copper phone wire to make the final connection to the home from a central node in your neighbourhood. The distance of your home to the node will affect the average speeds you can reach, so if your home is more than 700m from the node, it’s not advisable to choose an NBN 100 plan.

Fixed Wireless: Fixed Wireless connections are used to reach regional and remote areas. Homes in these areas will access the NBN from a transmission tower through an antenna installed on their roof.

Sky Muster satellite: The NBN’s Sky Muster satellite technology is also used to reach regional and remote communities. It requires a satellite dish to be installed on the premises, to which the NBN is received through satellite.

TL;DR: Check your address on the NBN Co website to find out what connection you have. It’s important to know because not every NBN plan is supported by every connection type.

How much should my NBN plan cost?

Once you know what type of connection you have and what speed you want, you can find a plan that suits you at the right price.

There’s good news for those who just want to surf the web casually – for that kind of use, it doesn’t matter what ISP you go with. Recent research by the ACCC has shown that your choice of provider won’t impact website browsing performance, so you can go with a cheap NBN plan if this is all you’re after.

But if you need to do more with your internet, you might want to consider some of the fastest NBN plans. These will cost you more per month, but they’ll allow you to download and upload large files faster, stream comfortably in 4K and game online with minimal lag.

When looking at NBN plan prices, be sure to suss out what internet deals are available too. It’s extremely common for ISPs to offer a discount for your first six months on their service, and it’s usually about AU$15 off each month.

The telcos will also try and tempt you up to faster plans with bigger discounts – up to AU$40 off each month for six months in some cases – so consider taking advantage of these options too.

There’s one last thing to mention when it comes to price, and that’s contracts. The vast majority of NBN plans come with no lock-in contracts, so you’re free to leave anytime (though some telcos will require you to pay out the remaining cost of your modem).

NBN plans on a contract will typically last between six and 12 months, and the benefit here is usually in reducing upfront fee costs (such as waiving the set up fee or throwing in a free modem).

While those benefits may seem tempting, weigh up those perks before committing to a contract. If you decide to leave early, you’ll likely still need to pay for each month you have remaining.

TL;DR: If you just want to browse the internet, a cheap NBN plan from a smaller NBN provider will do you just fine. For those that want to stream in 4K and game online, look for a fast NBN plan at a competitive price. Be sure to take advantage of six month discounts offered to new customers, and weigh up whether a contract or no-lock in term is best for you.

What’s the best NBN provider for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other cities?

Many people wonder whether there’s a 'best' NBN provider for their particular city. Over the last couple of years, we've seen rising interest in plans based on location, such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – so does your locale really matter when selecting an ISP?

The answer is tricky. If you live on the east coast of Australia, the answer is generally no, your location won’t matter when choosing a provider. If you live in South Australia, the Northern Territory or Western Australia, you may experience some benefit from choosing an ISP that’s headquartered (or at least has a local presence) in your state.

This is because of the way traffic flows to and from the user to the wider internet. All providers effectively act as a middle man in between users and the internet, routing all transmitted and received data through their own infrastructure. Providers’ direct physical connections to the internet are known as “points of interconnect” (POI), and all user internet traffic is routed through a PIO. There are 121 PIOs across Australia, but because connecting to a POI requires physical hardware, most service providers only use a smaller subset of these.

Because they’re the critical link in the user-to-internet chain, the physical location of your provider’s nearest PIO to you can play a large role in factors like latency and ping time. If your POI is thousands of kilometres away from your home, this is naturally going to result in a bigger delay in data flowing in both directions.

Latency and ping time matter most when it comes to tasks that work in real time – so things such as video calling and online gaming. An ACCC report released in April 2023 revealed that online gamers living in NSW and the ACT experience much lower latency on average compared to the rest of the country, and that’s because most game servers located in Australia are housed in Sydney.

While your internet provider of choice won’t be able to resolve all issues related to latency and ping time, signing up with a locally-based provider (or one that’s at least connected to a local POI) can help reduce these factors. For example, Pentanet is an ISP based in Western Australia that’s often spoken of highly by gamers living in the state.

There’s no one-stop-shop for checking if an NBN provider is connected to your closest POI, but there’s a few steps you can take. First, check if the provider has a POI lookup tool – Aussie Broadband and Superloop both offer this, for example. If the ISP you’re looking at doesn’t offer an official way to check, then you’ll have to head to a website such as Whirlpool and do some digging yourself. Finally, if Whirlpool doesn’t have what you’re looking for, your best bet is to email the internet provider directly.

How does switching NBN providers work?

So you’ve done your research and found the NBN provider you want to switch to, what’s next? 

Switching NBN providers is usually fairly seamless – your new ISP should take care of the whole process, including informing your current ISP of the change. If you’ve requested a modem/router with your switch, your new ISP will usually wait until that arrives to connect you – your existing service will continue to work as usual in the meantime.

If you’re keeping your current modem/router, then the switch can often happen within 24-48 hours, and will likely require you to change some of your router settings, such as username and password.

There’s one important step to do before finally switching providers, and that is to check the fine print of your current ISP.

If you are currently on a contract with your internet provider, you’ll likely face an exit fee or be required to payout the remaining months on your plan. If this is you, we’d highly recommend reconsidering breaking the contract unless absolutely necessary.

However, even if you’re on a month-to-month plan instead of a contract, you could still face a cancellation fee. For example, TPG requires its users to give a 30-day notice before cancellation, and if this isn’t done, you’ll need to payout the remaining days of the month.

If you find that your current ISP requires you to give notice of cancellation, we’d recommend scheduling the switch with your new NBN provider, so you can avoid any surprise exit fees.

How do I connect to the NBN?

If you’re not sure whether you can connect to the NBN yet, check your address on the NBN Co website. Most Australians do have access to the NBN, and if you find your home is NBN-ready, all you need to do is select an NBN plan and sign up. Then you can either use a BYO modem or one provided by your telco of choice to connect to Wi-Fi.

If you find that your home isn’t connected to the NBN, you’ll need to contact NBN Co and organise installation.

Do I need a new modem/router for the NBN?

For a modem/router to connect to the NBN, it needs to have a VDSL port, so you will need to upgrade if your current hardware is missing this port. While most plans will give you the option of bringing your own device for the connection, you’ll also have the ability to buy one directly from your NBN provider.

For the everyday internet connection, these modem/routers will suffice for your connection, though you may want to consider buying better hardware if you’ve signed up for a fast NBN plan – just ensure that it’s compatible.

What is a good data amount for my NBN plan?

The majority of NBN plans available today come with unlimited data, with prices starting at AU$50 a month for an unlimited data plan. With an unlimited data plan, you won’t have to worry about monthly data caps, and we’d argue that they’re better value for money when factoring in price per gigabyte.

Which is the cheapest NBN provider?

The provider with the cheapest NBN plan overall is Spintel, which offers an NBN 12 plan for AU$49.95 a month. If you’re looking for affordable internet, head over to our cheap NBN plans page, where we’ve compared the cheapest plans from each speed tier.

Max Langridge
Staff Writer

Max is a senior staff writer for TechRadar who covers home entertainment and audio first, NBN second and virtually anything else that falls under the consumer electronics umbrella third. He's also a bit of an ecommerce fiend, particularly when it comes to finding the latest coupon codes for a variety of retailers. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Max spent a combined five years writing for What Hi-Fi? and Pocket-lint, before moving to Australia in 2018. After a brief stint writing for men’s lifestyle publications, Max is back to working on his first passion of technology.

With contributions from