Should I upgrade to NBN 100?

(Image credit: NBN Co / Shutterstock)

In the ACCC's most recent report, it was revealed that more than half of Aussies using the NBN are signed up to the NBN 50 speed tier, with less than 10% using NBN 100.

The same report found that customers around the country have started flocking to speeds even higher than 100Mbps – with NBN 250 and NBN 1000 users increasing from 0.3% to 6.9% of the market over the course of three months.

So why are so few Aussies taking on the NBN 100 speed tier? Could a high-speed NBN plan be right for you? In this article, we're weighing up the perks and disadvantages of the 100Mbps internet offering, and assessing whether it's worth the jump from NBN 50.

Upgrading from NBN 50 to NBN 100 – price

When comparing two of our most-recommended NBN providers for these two speed tiers – Spintel and Tangerine – we found that the difference in price over the first year between a 50Mbps and a 100Mbps connection was much smaller than we expected.

Over the first twelve months, Spintel's NBN 100 plan works out at AU$953.70, compared with the company's NBN 50 plan, which weighs in at AU$743.70 – a AU$210 difference. Adding a modem to either plan will cost an extra AU$158 upfront.

For Tangerine, the first year on its NBN 100 plan sets you back AU$988.80, while its NBN 50 option costs AU$748.80 over the same time span – a AU$240 difference. Each plan costs an extra AU$130 to have a modem included.

Spintel | NBN 100 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$74p/m (first 6 months, then AU$84.95p/m)

Spintel | NBN 100 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$74p/m (first 6 months, then AU$84.95p/m)

With Spintel's NBN 100 plan, you’ll get a discount on your first six months with the service, so you’ll first pay AU$74 a month before the price reverts back to the standard AU$84.95. Even once the initial discount ends, it’s still one of the cheapest options you’ll find in this tier. For the price, you’ll be getting the best typical evening speed possible at 100Mbps. 

Total minimum cost is AU$74

Tangerine | NBN 100 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$74.90 p/m (first 6 months, then AU$89.90p/m)

Tangerine | NBN 100 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$74.90 p/m (first 6 months, then AU$89.90p/m)

Like Spintel above, Tangerine's NBN 100 plan doesn't work out considerably more expensive than its NBN 50 offering over the first year, costing just AU$74.90 monthly for the first half, then AU$89.90 afterwards. The typical evening speed is 92Mbps, which is still solid for this speed tier and compares well with the competition.

Total minimum cost is AU$74.90

Who needs the speed?

As their titles suggest, NBN 100 offers twice the possible download speed of NBN 50, with a maximum rate of 100Mbps compared with 50Mbps.

Generally speaking, the NBN 50 speed tier is recommended for households of two, while four or more residents should go with NBN 100. While this is a good ballpark guide, the amount and type of internet usage should influence your decision above all else.

For households using multiple simultaneous streaming services during peak hours, NBN 50 may not cut the mustard, and if you're in a household with stuttering and pausing while watching Netflix or Disney Plus shows, then NBN 100 may well be worth the upgrade.

For gamers, and upgrade to NBN 100 is unlikely to bring a big improvement to ping time or resolve issues with lag – unless those issues are caused by other users in the same household flooding the connection. If you suspect the latter is the case, then upgrading to NBN 100 could well provide the extra bandwidth you need.

The main NBN 100 upgrade advantage for gamers will come in the form of faster downloads; a 100Mbps connection will be much quicker to download both games and patches, conceivably cutting the time taken by 50%. With today's games sometimes stretching over 100GB in size, that could literally mean hours saved – to download a game of that size, a 50Mbps connection will take almost 4 and a half hours, while a 100Mbps should take around 2 and a quarter hours.

NBN 50 vs NBN 100

As with any purchasing decision, the 'better' option won't be better for everyone. For light internet users, households of two that stream and don't plan to use it for anything more intensive, NBN 50 is likely to be more than enough.

But for anyone currently running into congestion or that wants their download time drastically cut down, the extra AU$200 or so per year is certainly a small price to pay for double the download speeds – particularly in the context of a plan that already costs around AU$750 annually.

NBN 50 plans

NBN 100 plans

Harry Domanski
Harry is an Australian Journalist for TechRadar with an ear to the ground for future tech, and the other in front of a vintage amplifier. He likes stories told in charming ways, and content consumed through massive screens. He also likes to get his hands dirty with the ethics of the tech.