About 3% of Australians will be connecting to the National Broadband Network through a satellite connection, or approximately 400,000 homes and businesses.
If you're located in remote, regional, or rural Australia, there's a good chance you'll be getting your internet through a satellite connection.
NBN is using a pair of satellites - Sky Muster and Sky Muster II - to deliver broadband to the bush, with 135Gbps of capacity shared between the two. For comparison, the intern satellite first used by NBN only had a capacity of 4Gbps.
A satellite connection is the only NBN technology type where pricing is significantly different to fixed line services, but as a rule of thumb, tends to start a cheaper monthly price point.
NBN Satellite plan prices start from around $35 per month and increase based on the NBN service provider, how much data you need, and the speed of the NBN connection.
Not all NBN providers sell satellite connections. Many household names like Telstra and Optus do not currently offer the NBN over satellite, but reputable providers including iiNet and SkyMesh have stepped up to the plate.
The NBN rollout is picking up speed and based on the 2017 rollout plan, over 50% of Australians will have access to the NBN by the end of 2017 with the construction due to be completed by the end of 2021.
It is vital to check NBN availability at you specific address as the connection date will vary from location to location.
iiNet, SkyMesh, Southern Phone, and Harbour ISP are the providers with NBN Satellite plans that we track on WhistleOut.
Many NBN providers do not currently offer Satellite plans, including household names such as Telstra, Optus, TPG, and Internode.
Installation time for an NBN Satellite service will vary depending on your location. NBN attempts to get most Satellite customers up and running within 20 business days. If you're in a more isolated area, this goes up to 35 business days. If your home and office is only accessible via air or water, you could be waiting as long as 90 business days.
Satellite NBN plans are available on NBN 12 and NBN 25 speed tiers. An NBN 12 connection provides download speeds of up to 12Mbps, and upload speeds of up to 1Mbps. An NBN 25 connection will provide download speeds of up of 25Mbps, and upload speeds of up to 5Mbps.
Speeds faster than 25Mbps are currently unavailable on Satellite NBN plans.
At present, the largest NBN Satellite plans available tend to include a total around 150GB of data per month. This is split into peak and off-peak times, which means you'll have two separate amounts for use at different times of day. NBN defines off-peak as between 1am and 7am in your local time zone, while peak is the remaining 18 hours.
Your peak and off-data allowances tend to be roughly the same, but each provider may distribute your cumulative inclusion differently.
NBN Satellite plans with larger data allowances are expected to be available from October this year. These plans will include as much as 150GB per month during peak hours.
Rather than charging excess data fees, the majority of broadband providers offering Satellite NBN services will shape your download speed to 128kbps (roughly twice as fast as a dial-up connection) until the end of your billing month.
You'll need to consider two main factors when picking a Satellite NBN provider: your monthly data allowance, and your speed.
You'll need to pick between NBN 12 and NBN 25 speeds first. NBN 12 is essentially a basic internet connection, that's fast enough for day-to-day usage a bit of video streaming. It may however get stretched thin in a multi-person household, especially in a household where there's a couple of people using the internet at the same time.
NBN 25 is up to twice as fast as an NBN 12 connection. This is great if you're regularly streaming video, downloading large files, or making video calls. We'd also recommend NBN 25 if there's multiple people in your household who want to get online at the same time.
Once you've worked out what speed you want, you'll need to decide on a data allowance.
NBN Satellite plans start with as a little as 10GB per month, broken up into 5GB peak, and 5GB off peak, and can include as much as 300GB. The amount you're after will depend on exactly what you use your connection for. Here's the approximate hourly data usage for a couple of common online activities:
Census data suggests the average Australian browses the web for around 48 hours per month. An average web page is about 2.5MB in size, which works out to be 7GB around per person, per month.
|Given how image heavy Facebook is these days, you'll use slightly more data than you would on most websites. You can expect to use around 2MB per minute, although this can grow if you're watching lots of video. Facebook's video streams do however tend to use less data than YouTube or Netflix. The average Facebook user spends about 20 hours on the website per month, which means you'll need about 2.5GB of data for each Facebook user in your household.|
Netflix has three quality settings for when you're streaming in your web browser, on your smart TV, on your game console. Low will use 300MB per hour, Medium will use 700MB per hour, and High will use 3GB per hour. Other streaming services have similar hourly usage.
Music streaming data usage will depend on the service that you're subscribed to. However, in most cases, you'll never use more than 150MB per hour, which is when you're streaming music at 320kps (roughly 12MB a song).
Skype or video conferencing:
|Skype really doesn't use much data at all. A video call uses about 360KB per minute, which is about 25MB per hour. Voice-only calls use even less. You'd need to make 50 hours of video calls over Skype to even use 1GB in a month.|
While you might assume Telstra is your only option - and in many cases, this may be true - Optus has been working on expanding on its regional coverage. If you're able to get Optus coverage, there's a number of small providers powered by the Optus network that also offer mobile broadband plans, so you'll have a lot more options.
Mobile broadband isn't explicitly better or worse than an NBN Satellite connection, but there are a few different considerations to make. Many mobile broadband plans can be taken up without a contract, and setup times are almost non-existent. Conversely, mobile broadband plans will likely end up being more expensive when it comes to data-for-dollar.
Telstra Mobile Broadband plans include a range of deals such as bonus Foxtel Pack subscriptions, unlimited Telstra Air Data & Bonus Data
Teleron's Basic nbn plan includes unlimited Netflix streaming & data-free iTunes downloads until 31 Oct. New customers only, T&Cs apply
SpinTel's 18 month nbn™ broabdband plans now include a $70 credit which will appear on your first invoice...