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How to connect to the NBN

Connecting to the NBN for the first time is easier than you think. We walk you through the simple steps to get your new NBN connection up and running in no time.

The rollout of the NBN was declared complete in late 2020, and as of June 2023 more than 12 million premises are able to connect, and at least 8.5 million have an NBN connection.

If you're yet to connect for the first time, it's a simple process that can be done in just a few easy steps:

  1. Check your address is NBN ready
  2. Compare NBN plans and sign up
  3. Prepare for you NBN connection
  4. Set up your modem and Wi-Fi

Step 1: Check your address is NBN ready

There are many different types of NBN connections available. The connection you have available at your premises will influence what speeds and technology you can access.

Not sure what connection type you have? Enter your address to find out which NBN technology you have and what plans you can get.

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Select the exact address from the list:

  • Good to know: If for some reason you are unable to connect to the NBN at your address, there are still alternatives for you to get online, such as mobile broadband or home wireless.
Raj Lal

I've been with Telstra for 12+ years and 2 years ago, I tried to change to a cheaper provider. I was sold a great package by Optus, but when it came to connecting, Optus realised they didn't have a line in my street. They gave me the option of either going wireless or paying to install a connection line, which is very expensive. I ended up going back to Telstra. Always make sure you check the plan is available at your address before you leave your provider!
— Raj Lal, publisher at Finder

Finder survey: How hard do people find switching internet plans?

ResponseMaleFemale
Easy49.58%36.4%
Somewhat difficult41.04%47.32%
Very difficult9.38%16.28%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1006 Australians, December 2023

Step 2: Compare NBN plans and sign up

Now that you know what connection type is available at your address, you can start to compare NBN plans from a range of providers.

This is the step of the process where you have the most control over your NBN performance, so it pays to be informed.

While offering the same service, there are many differences between providers. There are a few main things to keep an eye on when comparing plans.

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Speed

The NBN offers 6 speed tiers. Measured in megabits per second (Mbps), each tier determines how fast your download and upload speeds can be.

Each provider will display a typical evening speed on its plan to show what speeds you'll be able to get during the busy hours of 7–11pm. This is a helpful comparison between plans on the same tier.

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Cost

When it comes to NBN plans, some providers charge more for the same service. Make sure the price you're paying is worth it, whether it's getting you more included extras or because you're more comfortable with a certain provider.

The speed tier you choose will also affect the cost of your plan. Higher NBN speeds usually mean higher plan prices.

  • Good to know: Keep an eye out for sign up deals. It is quite common for providers to provide a discounted price for the first 6 months, or maybe even your first month free.

Find out more on how to compare NBN plans with our editor in the video below.

Step 3: Prepare for your NBN connection

Once you've signed up to a plan that matches your budget and needs, your new provider will arrange the installation of your service. They will let you know if it's necessary for a technician to visit your property and finalise the installation.

If your property has an existing NBN connection, you can skip to step 4.

The type of NBN technology you have at your place will determine what type of hardware you need and whether a technician is required.

TechnologyTechnician installation required for first time connectionHardware involved
Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)
Modem
Power supply unit
NBN connection box
Utility box
Fibre to the Node (FTTN)
Modem
Fibre to the Building (FTTB)
Modem
Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC)
Modem
NBN connection box
Utility box
Fibre to the Curb (FTTC)
Modem
NBN connection box
Utility box
Fixed Wireless
Modem
NBN connection box
Outdoor antenna
Sky Muster satellite
Modem
Satellite dish
NBN connection box
Power supply unit

Here's a quick breakdown of what hardware might be involved during the installation:

  • Modem. This plugs into your connection box or the phone socket in your wall and allows you to connect multiple devices to the internet at once, either wired or through Wi-Fi.
  • NBN connection box (or network termination device). This is responsible for converting signals from your home devices into digital signals that can be sent through the NBN's cables. A typical termination device will have two voice channels for telephone connections and four data channels for devices like your modem. See our picture of a network termination device after our installation checklist.
  • Utility box. The utility box serves as a transition point between NBN fibre optic cables and those running to your house. It's installed outside your premises.
  • Power supply unit. This is a back-up battery for your NBN equipment, allowing it to keep functioning even if you have a power failure. It won't stop your connection disappearing if there's an issue with the NBN itself though.
  • Outdoor antenna/satellite dish. Both the antenna and dish serve the same purpose: sending and receiving remote signals from a signal tower or satellite. They are not directly wired into the NBN's fixed lines.

If a technician is required to come to your place to connect you to the NBN, expect the appointment to last a few hours. You, or someone over the age of 18 who can act on your behalf, needs to be present on the day for the duration of the appointment.

If you need equipment installed by a technician, you need to determine where it might be best to go. This would depend on where your power and cable outlets are located.

Step 4: Set up your modem and Wi-Fi

Once your provider has confirmed that your place is connected to the NBN, you'll need to set up your modem and Wi-Fi so you can start your online activities.

In most cases it's as simple as plugging your modem into a power socket and connecting it to an NBN cable connection. From there you just connect your devices to the modem to get online.

Your NBN provider will provide you with detailed instructions on how to set up your modem. Some even have "how to" videos to help you through visual aids.

Finder survey: How hard do Australians find it to switch internet plans?

ResponseMaleFemale
Easy49.58%36.4%
Somewhat difficult41.04%47.32%
Very difficult9.38%16.28%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1006 Australians, December 2023

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

  • NBN 1000 plans

    Get the fastest internet available in Australia from providers like Telstra, Optus, TPG and more.

  • NBN 250 plans

    NBN 250 and NBN 1000 are the newest NBN speeds available for households to purchase.

  • VoIP in Australia

    The NBN still lets you use your home phone thanks to VoIP technology.

  • NBN FTTB plans

    FTTB is an NBN connection type that is common for large apartment blocks or housing complexes.

  • NBN 25 plans

    NBN 25 (Standard speed) plans are a great, affordable choice for smaller households of 1–2 people.

  • NBN 50 plans

    NBN 50 plans are the most common type of NBN plan in Australia due to its balance between affordability and speed.

  • NBN 100 plans

    Compare more than 150 Premium speed NBN plans to find the one that fits your budget and data needs.

  • The NBN Technology Choice Program

    It costs thousands of dollars if you're successful in applying for the NBN Technology Choice Program. Is it worth the price tag?

  • Cheap NBN plans

    Cut down on your Internet bill with these cheap NBN plans for under $50.

  • Compare NBN FTTP plans (Fibre to the Premises)

    FTTP, or Fibre to the Premises, uses fibre optic cables to deliver the fastest NBN speeds available.

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23 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    LindaOctober 20, 2018

    My mother only has a home phone currently. She doesn’t have a computer or internet connection and will not be getting one. What does she need to do to connect to the nbn?

      AvatarFinder
      JeniOctober 20, 2018Finder

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      First, you need to check if nbn is available in your mother’s area. Once it’s available, you need to call the service provider you wish to have your mother’s home phone service connected with for a tech visit. Please note that old plans may not be available and home phone plans are basically bundled with the internet service.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    PeterMay 12, 2018

    Is there any NBN plans for aged pensioners at discount rates?

      AvatarFinder
      JeniMay 12, 2018Finder

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Although concessions are available on most services for pensioners, there are no discounts available on broadband plans. However, there are a few ways to get the best value for money on an internet connection. I suggest that you contact providers around you like Telstra, TPG, Dodo or Optus regarding your senior discount or ways to cut your monthly subscription fee.

      Prices and service vary drastically depending on location. The Government is taking steps to improve the infrastructure through the NBN but this service is still in its early stages.

      As a friendly reminder, while we do not represent any company we feature on our pages, we can offer you general advice.

      Yes, there are some

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

    Default Gravatar
    carloFebruary 18, 2018

    I have been given the outdated FTTN technology by NBN Co which provides a poor overall experience even though I have an excellent service provider. Am I subsidising the consumers who were given FTTP? If so, is there any compensation available from NBN Co for customers like myself?

      Default Gravatar
      AshMarch 8, 2018

      Hi Carlo,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      One of the disadvantages of having a Fibre to the Node (FTTN) connection is that the farther you are in the node the slower your speed connection becomes unlike with FTTP, the fibre is connected directly to the premise so it allows faster uploads and downloads.

      You may contact NBN Co at 1800 687 626 to have more information about the distance of your residence from the node and the options to have your connection speed up.

      I hope this helps.

      Please do not hesitate to reach out to us again if you have additional questions.

      Cheers,
      Ash

      AvatarFinder
      JonathanMarch 7, 2018Finder

      Hi Carlo, thanks for your inquiry.

      If you are dissatisfied with your NBN service, it would be best to contact your retail service provider first. If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

      I hope this helps.

      Best,

      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    SueOctober 17, 2017

    We are being put onto fixed wireless . Providers told me we have to go on Voip as the old copper
    lines will be turned off. I understand this is not correct for fixed wireless, as we have little or none
    mobile reception we need to keep landline

      Default Gravatar
      MariaOctober 17, 2017

      Hi Sue,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      You might want to reach out to the providers directly regarding your concern so they may advise on what they can offer for your preference on keeping your landline.

      You may find compare providers on this page on Fixed Wireless NBN Plans as well as read up on the service. Once you have chosen a particular plan, you may then click on the “Go to site” button to proceed with your application.

      Please enter your complete home address and make use of the filters so you can see your options.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,
      Maria

    Default Gravatar
    DavidSeptember 16, 2017

    Nbn FTTC is about to be connected to my house.
    Existing telecom copper has a central splitter fitted (original reason for fitting no longer exists).
    Do I need to remove the central splitter, or can it be left in place.

      Default Gravatar
      MariaSeptember 19, 2017

      Hey David,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      In general, the necessary equipment to switch to NBN connection would be provided and installed by the NBN technician.

      As the installation procedure differs between providers and also depend on your present connection, this information would be best confirmed directly from the installer.

      You may check on our table for your preferred provider, click on “Go to site” to be directed to their main website where you can check for their contact page.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,
      Maria

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