Compare Satellite broadband plans

Australians in regional areas out of reach of fixed-line services may want to opt for satellite broadband. Here's everything you need to know about the technology.

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Satellite broadband options are available for individuals who can’t access a traditional fixed-line NBN product like Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) or Fibre To The Node (FTTN). With new NBN satellite technology now available, connection speeds for remote Australians are significantly improved.

How does satellite broadband work?

Many people outside of Australia’s metropolitan areas are unable to access fixed-line broadband services offered to those in more populated areas. Satellite broadband is a wireless alternative that Australians unable to access any other type of broadband service are able to use to access the Internet.

To access satellite broadband, a home or business has a dish or antennae installed that sends and receives data to and from an orbiting satellite. This data is then transmitted back down from the satellite to a ground tracking station, granting the home or business access to the Internet.

How fast is satellite broadband?

For many years, the speeds offered on residential satellite connections have been substantially lower than metropolitan broadband services. More recently, nbn, the company building the National Broadband Network, launched its own satellite (known as Sky Muster) which is now online.

In 2011, nbn co began offering a temporary satellite solution for regional customers with its Interim Satellite Service (ISS) and nbn Satellite Support Scheme (NSS). nbn co claims its ISS and the NSS connected 48,000 homes in Australia between July 2011 and December 2015. However, nbn co has since ceased ISS and NSS installations in favour of the new “Sky Muster” long term NBN satellite technology.

Before ISS and NSS, there was the Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG). The ABG was an initiative designed to help homes and businesses connect to the internet regardless of geographical restrictions, with a specific focus on non-metro customers without access to traditional broadband services.

Under the ABG, regional customers could expect minimum speeds of up to 512Kbps download and 128Kbps upload. Then in 2011, ISS and NSS promised customers speeds of up to 6Mbps down and 1Mbps up and 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up, respectively.

Now that the NBN long term satellite system (Sky Muster) has become available, users can expect speeds of up to 25Mbps down and 5Mbps up. As always, this depends on factors such as equipment quality and your location.

Where is satellite broadband available?

Satellite nbn is only available to those who are not covered by the nbn's various fixed line technologies. Anyone in Australia not eligible for fixed line NBN will be able to access satellite NBN. There are some geographical requirements (like having no overhanging obstructions) that must be met before proceeding with installation, but your provider will discuss any issues at the time of installation.

How can I compare satellite broadband plans?

The Sky Muster Satellite nbn service is available at two speed tiers and at different price points, based on included data.

Speed

Satellite nbn will only be available with 12/1 Mbps and 25/5 Mbps speed packs. As with fixed-line nbn, higher speed packs come at a higher price. In many cases, plans come at the 12/1 Mbps speed as standard, but can be upgraded to 25/5 Mbps for an additional $5 per month.

Cost

Pricing will vary across different providers, depending on speed and data inclusions. But most plans will cost anywhere between $34.95 and $199.95.

Who provides satellite broadband in Australia?

Under the ABG, ISS and NSS, Optus, Telstra, iinet and Internode all offered plans for satellite broadband. However, these plans stopped being sold as of December 2015, and many of these providers are not currently offering a Sky Muster service.

Now that the nbn Sky Muster satellite has been activated, you can get plans from providers like SkyMesh, activ8me, Ant Communications, BorderNET, Clear Networks, Harbour ISP, IPStar and reachnet. More providers are expected to announce Sky Muster services and pricing soon.

How do I switch from ISS or NSS to long term satellite NBN?

When nbn introduces long term services, ISS and NSS services will need to be migrated to the new satellite. Customers will be transitioned to the new satellite from 2 May 2016 to 31 December 2016.

Your current satellite service provider is responsible for migrating the service and will contact you over the next few months about switching to the faster new Sky Muster satellite service. Some providers may also migration queue that you can join by contacting them directly.

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8 Responses to Compare Satellite broadband plans

  1. Default Gravatar
    Bill | December 4, 2016

    Hi,
    I have recently got satellite nbn, I have a 95G plan of which 32G is for peak usage and 63G is for off peak usage which we don’t use because off peak is from 1AM to 7AM. When would satellite nbn going to offer the whole data that we paid for so that we don’t run out of data during peak hours on the first week?

    • Staff
      Jason | December 5, 2016

      Hi Bill,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      Please get in touch with your Internet service provider (ISP) for this concern since they are the one allocating the available data of a specific broadband plan. You may also enquire with your ISP if they have other broadband plans that offer larger data allocation during peak hours or if they have unlimited data plans.

      For other alternative ISPs, please check out this link for a comparison of broadband plans offered by several ISPs.

      Kind regards,
      Jason

  2. Default Gravatar
    Roger | November 22, 2016

    IS a Sky Muster satellite receiver suitable for installing an a cruising motor yacht? We plan to cruise East Coast.

    • Staff
      Harold | November 22, 2016

      Hello Roger,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may check with the provider directly about the installation of Sky Muster Satellite into a cruising motor yacht to check the feasibility with their technical team. Meanwhile, for your reference on this page you can review who gets the most Sky Muster satellite coverage.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  3. Default Gravatar
    Rose | September 9, 2016

    which satelite providers offer FTTP plans?

    • Staff
      Chester | September 13, 2016

      Hello Rose,

      Thanks for your question.

      In order for you to compare the service provider that offer this type of service you may visit https://www.finder.com.au/broadband-plans/nbn-fttp for more info. In addition, Enter your address into our NBN tracker here and it will let you know what technology is available at your address.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers!
      Chester

  4. Default Gravatar
    Debera | August 10, 2016

    We do not have ADSL or NBN here. Would like to enquire about Satellite Broadband and if we can get it here.

    • Staff
      Brodie | August 15, 2016

      Hey Debera,

      I would recommend heading to IPSTAR or SkyMesh through the Go to Site buttons in the table above. You will be transferred to a page where you can enter your address to check your availability for Satellite broadband.

      Thanks,
      Brodie

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