Why can’t I get a 1Gbps NBN plan?

The National Broadband Network is capable of delivering 1Gbps services, to consumers, but the chances are very slim that you'll actually be able to get one right now. Here's why few NBN providers offer these plans.

If you've looked at the speeds being offered overseas by broadband providers, you've probably noticed that many of them provide services greater than the current Premium (NBN-100) tier that defines the cutting edge of Australian fixed line broadband right now.

Unfair, I hear you cry, and you're almost certainly right if pure speed is what you crave. The catch for the NBN is multi-faceted, because NBN Co actually offers 1Gbps NBN services to ISPs that could be sold to consumers, but few providers have bothered so far.

NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow went into some detail around the current availability of 1Gbps NBN plans on the NBN in a company blog post. While the company's position on slower speed takeup has shifted markedly since that post was published, the movement of 1Gpbs plans has been glacial at best.

That's partially because only a section of the NBN's actual rollout is currently 1Gbps NBN-ready. If you're on the FTTP portion of the NBN then Gigabit is technically feasible, but not if you're on any other current NBN technology at the time of writing.

Back in 2017, Morrow estimated that number at around 1.5 million homes... and yet there are practically no plans.

So far, what we've seen has largely been regionally-based pushes for 1Gbps NBN plans, such as gigabit-happy ISP MyRepublic's experiments with offering gigabit plans on subsidies to residents in Wollongong NSW, or Launtel's gigabit plans, available only in Launceston for business customers by appointment.

There is hope for consumers on other NBN access technologies, with NBN for example engaging in ongoing trials of DOCSIS 3.1 for HFC NBN customers. On the flip side, NBN Co has abandoned plans to even take fixed wireless NBN up to 100Mbps speeds.

There are cost issues relating to the CVC needs of 1Gbps NBN plans and typical usage scenarios that play into how much a gigabit plan might cost you as a consumer that also affect ISP willingness to enable these plans. Ultimately that's likely to come down to market pressures and how NBN Co's ongoing costs model to its ISP customers evolves.

For now, though, if you want the fastest possible NBN plans, NBN-100 remains the best you're going to be able to get, although it's not available for any satellite NBN or fixed wireless NBN customer.

You can search for eligible NBN-100 plans in the table below by entering your address.

Not sure what NBN plan might be right for you? Take our interactive NBN quiz to find you the best plan with ease!

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