NBN Co wants to supercharge your NBN speeds with a completely free upgrade

Family sitting on sofa at home using connected devices
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The NBN Co has laid out a proposal that would see the fastest NBN plans – those with 100Mbps download speeds and higher – having their maximum download speeds increased to be up to five times faster. 

And that’s not even the best part – in a statement released March 5, Australia’s national broadband network has said the increased speeds would come at no extra cost to wholesalers, which should mean no extra cost to consumers. 

If approved by internet service providers (ISPs), it would mean 100Mbps NBN plans would see their speed increase to 500Mbps; 250Mbps plans would increase to 750Mbps and 1,000Mbps plans (currently the highest residential speed tier) would see its minimum download speed delivery increase from 500Mbps to 750Mbps, but still with a theoretical maximum of 1,000Mbps. 

Upload speeds are also set to increase – which will be welcome news to the work from home generation – to a minimum of 50Mbps across all speed tiers and to a maximum of 100Mbps at the 1,000Mbps speed tier.

The new and improved speeds would only be available to customers with hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections, creating a stronger case for customers to take advantage of the NBN Co’s free fibre upgrade program. This program is for customers on the older fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) connections, which can only support a theoretical maximum download speed of 100Mbps. 

Customers with either of these two connections can currently upgrade to the higher-speed FTTP for free, but only if they choose either a 100Mbps plan for FTTN or a 250Mbps plan for customers on FTTC. The NBN Co has also now relaxed these rules, allowing customers on FTTC to choose a 100Mbps to be eligible for the free upgrade. 

If and when these upgrades come into effect – NBN is suggesting they could be enacted within the next 12 months upon approval – there will be no extra cost to internet service providers. This means there will unlikely be any additional cost being passed onto consumers. The only potential extra cost would be for modems and routers that would be needed to support the faster speeds. 

NBN Co has issued a consultation paper to internet service providers outlining its proposed increases and has asked for feedback by Friday April 19, 2024. 

Australia has a real need for speed

The intended upgrades are the result of Australia’s increasing reliance on the internet and greater data usage. This increased consumption is due to an increase in the number of connected devices in homes, including televisions, computers, phones, games consoles and smart home devices, according to NBN Co. 

Anna Perrin, chief customer officer at NBN Co said “Ten years ago, the average Australian home had seven internet-connected devices and consumed around 40 gigabytes per month.”

“The average household now consumes 443 gigabytes per month across 22 internet-connected devices. We predict that the average will grow to 33 connected devices by 2026 and 40 by the end of the decade.”

Up until this proposal was made on March 5, users connected via the NBN have been able to upgrade their connection to FTTP from FTTN and FTTC connections, to receive faster and more reliable internet speeds. So far it’s claimed only around 200,000 Australians have taken up the offer, but NBN Co has said it expects around 10 million homes will be eligible to upgrade by the end of 2025.

NBN Co also recently introduced price cuts across the higher-speed plans to help further encourage customers to make the switch. In reality, these price cuts have been so-so, through to so impressive. Spintel, for example, currently has an NBN 250 plan for AU$75p/m for the first six months – AU$36p/m cheaper than the national average. 

If the same current prices for fast internet remain, if and when the proposed speed increases come into effect, it would represent far greater value in our opinion and make the decision to upgrade to FTTP a much easier one to make. 

If you’ve yet to make the decision, you’ll find our pick of the best NBN plans have now settled at what we would consider to be affordable prices, offering a good combination of speed, service and price. You can view the most popular NBN plans with 100Mbps speeds or higher in the price comparison tool below. 

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Max Langridge
Staff Writer

Max is a digital content writer for TechRadar, covering home entertainment and audio, phones, laptops, gaming and virtually anything else that falls under the consumer electronics umbrella. 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.