High Speed Internet

Feeling the need for speed? For most people, internet speed is likely to be one of the most important factors when choosing a home internet provider. After all ain’t nobody got time to sit through constantly buffering videos?
Young man streaming online game at home

*iSelect's partnered with CIMET to help you compare a range of internet plans and providers. Not all plans or providers in the market are compared and not all plans or special offers are available at all timesthrough all channels or in all areas. Not all plans available from CIMET's providers are compared and due to commercial arrangements, area or availability, not all plans compared will be available to all customers. Learn more

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Updated 01/09/2023
What changed?
Updated to reflect changes within internet plan options, including higher speed tiers.
Fact checked
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Written by

Francis Taylor

Updated 01/09/2023

What changed?

Updated to reflect changes within internet plan options, including higher speed tiers.
Our aim is to help you make better informed decisions. That’s why iSelect’s content is produced in accordance with our fact-checking and editorial guidelines.

Edited by

Laura Crowden

Find out more about how we make money.

View our Privacy Policy.

Compare NBN plans the easy way

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Internet speed is probably super important to you, but you might not have any idea how it works!  Internet speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). This is basically how much data your connection can pull through each second.

At a speed of 100Mbps, you should be able to stream a nice, 4K-quality movie no problem!1 However, if your internet only reaches 25Mbps, then it will struggle to keep up with all the data a big video file like this sends through.2 At 25Mbps, you might experience pauses in the movie where your internet has to catch its breath to process everything—not exactly a smooth experience!

How will I know if my internet is fast?

Like most Aussies, you’re probably connected to the internet through the NBN network.3 Internet providers typically outline the internet speed of their plans through different speed tiers.

Most providers will also offer a key fact sheet on their website that details the kinds of download and upload speeds you can expect on a specific plan. This can also be the case for providers who offer alternatives to NBN broadband, like 4G or 5G home internet.

What affects my internet speed?

Here’s where we’ll need to get into the weeds a little bit. See, your internet can be affected by the type of internet connection you have as well as your internet plan. They might sound the same, but they’re actually pretty distinct:

  • Internet connection: This is the technology you use to surf the web. For instance, you might be connected to the internet through a fibre-optic cable or through wireless networks via satellites or antennas. It’s how you get your internet plan.
  • Internet plan: Your internet plan is the product you buy from a provider. It’s pretty important too. For example, you can have a connection that supports ridiculously fast speeds, but if your internet plan is capped at 25Mbps, then it’s going to be limited at this threshold.

Of course, other factors can also affect your internet speed: your location, the strength of your Wi-Fi signal from your router and how many other people are using the internet.4 But the two points above are generally the most important.

What’s the fastest internet connection?

Australians use a pretty wide variety of tech to surf the web. However, not every connection is created equal, with hopeless slowpokes like ADSL crawling behind shiny, new technologies. For the best of the best, you’ll generally want to go with one of the following:

  • Fibre to the Premises (FTTP): FTTP uses fibre-optic cables to connect your home directly to the NBN network. It’s considered the fastest type of connection within Australia, and (with the right internet plan) it can deliver internet speeds up to 1000Mbps.5

  • Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC): HFC also uses fibre-optic cables to connect to the internet. However, instead of connecting a house to the NBN directly, the connection is shared among multiple households in the same neighbourhood. Still, FTTP only performs a little bit better than HFC6 and most HFC connections in Australia are compatible with high-speed NBN1000 plans.7
  • 5G Home Wireless: With a 5G router, home devices can connect wirelessly to the 5G mobile network. In theory, 5G internet can deliver blazing fast speeds.8 However, these speeds are often limited by the home wireless plans to which they are attached. As such, these plans might not meet the same speeds as NBN1000 plans.9

Which NBN speeds are the fastest?

While speeds on the NBN network are generally pretty good, there are certain ‘very high-speed services’ that stand atop the podium. These services will typically have a download speed of 500-990Mbps and an upload speed of around 50Mbps.10

These services are pitched by NBN Co as ‘Home Ultrafast’ plans.11 Internet providers also tend to offer these plans under a NBN1000 speed tier.12,13

Such plans tend to be the fastest that providers offer. However, it’s worth noting that not everyone needs this much speed. As a general rule, a minimum download speed of 60Mbps should be fine for streaming high-quality videos or online gaming.14 And for less data-intensive activities, you should be able to coast by on even slower speeds!  It really just depends on your needs, what you use the internet for and how many household members tend to be using the internet at the same time.

What about other internet connections?

You’ve probably noticed that we’ve neglected some of the other ways you can surf the web. This is because, while some of them deliver adequate speeds, they generally can’t reach the same top speeds as HFC and FTTP connections. These runners-up include:

  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL): DSL is a broadband service that uses telephone lines to connect to the internet. DSL connections can’t reach the same maximum speeds as HCF or FTTP.15 Most types of DSL connections (such as ADSL2+) are also relatively slow.
  • Satellite Internet: With a satellite dish and the right modem, people in rural areas can now connect to the internet via satellite providers. However, while handy, these services do not yet match the same top speeds that HCF or FTTP can offer.16 For instance, NBN’s Sky Muster service only clocks in at a top download speed of 100Mbps.17
  • Fibre to the Curb (FTTC): FTTC uses fibre-optic and copper cables to connect your home or business to a telecommunications pit near the curb.18 It can connect to the NBN and reach fairly high speeds, however, it generally isn’t compatible with blisteringly-fast NBN1000 plans.19
  • Fibre to the Node (FTTN): FTTN is quite similar to FTTC. The main difference is that it’s connected to a central ‘node’ in the neighbourhood instead of a pit near the curb.20 Unfortunately, FTTN lags behind every other fibre-optic internet connection when it comes to performance.21

How do I get high-speed internet?

Many households are already set up with HFC and FTTP. The fastest way to check what kind of connection you have is to hop on to the NBN Co’s official website and enter your address.22

Depending on whether you already have one of these high-speed connections, your path to lightspeed internet will look slightly different:

  • If you have HCF or FTTP: You can reach out to your existing provider or a new one. From there, it’s worth checking if they offer a NBN1000 plan (or whatever else you’re after) and asking whether or not they can provide it to your address.

  • If you don’t have HCF or FTTP: This can be a bit more involved. Some customers on FTTC or FTTN connections are eligible to upgrade to FTTP. You’ll need to speak to your existing internet provider to check whether or not you can get this upgrade. If you can, they’ll help book an appointment with the people at NBN Co to set up the new connection.23

Ready to connect or switch internet plans?

If some of the plans we’ve discussed have you craving high-speed internet, then we’ve got some good news for you. iSelect has partnered with CIMET to help you compare internet plans and providers*. A wide range of products – including NBN1000 plans – are on offer, so give it a whirl today if you’re keen!

1 Australian Competition & Consumer Commission - Broadband Speeds
2 More Telecom - Key Facts Sheet: NBN Services
3 Australian Government | ACMA - Communications and media in Australia series: How we use the internet | Executive summary and key findings (Page 1)
4 Australian Communications Consumer Action Network - What affects the quality of my broadband?
5 City of Logan - Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity Program
6 Australian Competition & Consumer Commission - Broadband performance data
7 NBN Co - One million additional homes and businesses to become eligible for full fibre
8 Australia Government | Australian Trade and Investment Commission -  Australia primed for 5G revolution
9 Telstra Corporation Limited - Telstra Submission responding to the ACCC consultation on changes to the Broadband Speed Claims | Industry Guidance | February 2022 (Pages 6-7)
10 Australian Competition & Consumer Commission - Broadband performance data
11 As above
12 Tangerine - Key Facts Sheet: NBN Services
13 More Telecom - Key Facts Sheet: NBN Services

14 Australian Competition & Consumer Commission - Broadband Speeds
15 Australian Communications Consumer Action Network - Understanding your options for broadband connection
16 ABC News - Australian farmers use Starlink satellite internet kits to access agtech for grain sowing program
17 NBN Co - Our premier satellite service for homes and small businesses
18 NBN Co - nbn® Fibre to the Curb explained (FTTC)
19 NBN Co - Media Release Friday June 2022 | NBN delivers access to Ultrafast internet to a further 160,000 homes and businesses (Page 1)
20 NBN Co - nbn™ Fibre to the Node explained (FTTN)
21 Australian Competition & Consumer Commission - Broadband Performance Data
22 NBN Co - Check your address
23 NBN Co - What's involved in the installation process