NBN Co has a spicy new plan to get you to upgrade your internet: a 5x speed boost for free

Woman looking at laptop screen, holding iPad and coffee next to her hand
(Image credit: Pexels / Antoni Shkraba)

NBN Co released a proposal on March 5 that would see its top three speed tiers — 100Mbps, 250Mbps and 1,000Mbps — receive a significant boost to upload and download speeds, without any extra wholesale costs to internet service providers (ISPs) and that it hopes will come into effect within the next 12 months. 

The consultation paper, sent out to telcos on 5 March 2024, outlines the potential to provide five times faster download speeds on the popular NBN 100 tier, which would see plans skyrocket from 100/20Mbps to a mammoth 500/50Mbps. It also proposes tripling the speeds of superfast NBN 250 plans from 250/25Mbps to a whopping 750/50Mbps and increasing the ultrafast tier to average around 750-1,000Mbps, compared to the 500-1,000Mbps range it currently flickers between. 

However, it is important to note that even though the intended upgraded speeds are appealing on paper, the fact remains that you still may not be able to achieve the maximum. Similar factors to those that affect our current NBN connections will still be relevant when these upgrades are introduced, such as equipment quality, software, and your NBN provider.

Accelerated speeds would be available to customers who already have fast plans or higher and to new customers who upgrade to one of the quicker speed tiers in the future. The turbo-charged speeds would be available across NBN Co’s HFC and FTTP networks, with eligible FTTN and FTTC customers able to access speeds using the free fibre upgrade program. 

According to NBN Co chief customer officer Anna Perrin, the company has recently experienced strong demand for full fibre upgrades and higher speed tiers, with approximately 7,000 homes and businesses upgrading to FTTP connections every week. 

Additionally, the proposal includes relaxing the current threshold for FTTC customers to be eligible for the free fibre upgrade program Currently, FTTC customers are required to select a 250Mbps NBN plan as a minimum to be granted the upgrade, but that is now being reduced to a 100/20Mbps service — akin to the minimum for FTTN users. 

NBN Co has submitted its proposal to internet service providers in Australia, and has asked for feedback by 5pm AEDT on Friday 19 April, 2024. NBN Co further claims that while there should (in theory) be no additional wholesale cost to ISPs, the same can’t necessarily be said of the equipment consumers will need at home to be able to support faster speeds. 

To this, NBN Co says the onus will be on the ISPs to ensure they’re able to supply such equipment to their customers. Perrin notes the importance of “working together” with telcos to ensure no extra cost is passed on to consumers. 

“Most importantly, we are proposing to deliver these accelerated speeds at no extra wholesale cost to internet retailers. By working together with the industry, we hope to deliver these accelerated services to customers later this year or early next year,” Perrin says in a statement. 

Household internet consumption continues to grow

NBN Co graph household data consumption graph

(Image credit: NBN Co)

Perrin says this proposal comes down to the growing importance of speed and capacity across Australian households and businesses when it comes to internet connections. “Ten years ago, the average Australian home had seven internet-connected devices and consumed around 40 gigabytes per month. Today, some people would use that much data in a day,” she adds.  

NBN Co says the average household now consumes 443 gigabytes per month across 22 internet-connected devices. The company predicts the average will grow to 33 devices by 2026 and 40 by 2030.

“Yet despite this explosion in data usage, many customers have remained on the same broadband plan for years,” Perrin says. “Our network monitoring suggests that some customers are potentially hitting their maximum speed on a regular basis. These customers may enjoy a better internet experience on a faster speed tier.”

Perrin notes that “the good news” is the company is well on track to upgrade 90% of its fibre network by the end of 2025, estimating around 9 million homes and businesses would have access to breakneck speed tiers by December 2024. 

NBN Co recently introduced wholesale price cuts across top-speed tiers, which we speculate was to encourage more customers to bump up their current plans. Some of these cuts haven’t been worthwhile, but this Spintel deal has recently caught our eye, dropping AU$36p/m off the average price of an NBN 250 plan. 

If you have yet to take full advantage of your NBN connection type or are keen to upgrade to a superfast or ultrafast plan, here are the best NBN plans currently on offer. 

Lucy Scotting
Staff Writer

Lucy Scotting is a digital content writer for Tom’s Guide in Australia, primarily covering NBN and internet-related news. Lucy started her career writing for HR and staffing industry publications, with articles covering emerging tech, business and finance. In her spare time, Lucy can be found watching sci-fi movies, working on her dystopian fiction novel or hanging out with her dog, Fletcher.