All about Fibre to the Premises NBN

If you want the fastest available broadband service, you want an FTTP-based NBN service. Here’s everything you should consider before choosing a plan.

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44 Mbps

Typical peak evening speed

How does FTTP NBN work?

As with other technologies used in the National Broadband Network project, FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) is designed to offer high speed Internet access to homes and businesses across Australia. In the case of FTTP, this is achieved using a full optical fibre connection directly into your premises, ending in a network termination device from which you get your actual broadband service.

Initial plans for the NBN called for the vast majority of the NBN to utilise FTTP, though this was later deemed infeasible. FTTN is now the primary technology used to connected most Aussie households to the NBN.

The big advantage to a full fibre connection is that it allows for the highest possible speeds delivered with more consistent performance, plus it provides an upgrade path to meet future broadband speed requirements. The challenge with FTTP is that it is more expensive to roll out. In the case of deployment to certain building types such as apartments, running full fibre can be very complex, further raising the installation cost. These costs have lowered over time, but they’re still significant.

How fast is FTTP NBN?

There are a variety of FTTP NBN plans available to end consumers, with most providers offering at the very least an entry level Basic NBN connection with theoretical maximum speeds of 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up. The second most common tier is labelled Standard and offers theoretical maximums of 25Mbps down and 5Mbps up, typically for a slightly higher price.

In the faster speed categories the two most common configurations are Standard Plus with a theoretical maximum of 50Mbps down and 20Mbps up and Premium with a theoretical maximum of 100Mbps down and 40Mbps up. Other configurations, such as 100/100 plans, are also offered by some subscribers. As the wholesaler, nbn co does offer plans of up to 1Gbps down to its retail partners, but we’re yet to see any consumer plans at that kind of speed.

It's important to remember that the above speeds do not reflect real-world performance. Factors such as network congestion affect the speeds you'll actually see on your home devices, which is why NBN providers now display the average speeds customers can expect during the peak hours of 7:00PM to 11:00PM as a better indication of typical download speeds.

NBN Speed Tier Typical evening download speed Compare plans
Basic (Similar to ADSL2+) 9Mbps
Standard (Typical moderate user) 20Mbps
Standard Plus (Families, streaming enthusiasts) 40Mbps
Premium (Gamers, ultra-HD streaming) 80Mbps

Where is FTTP NBN available?

The rollout of FTTP NBN services has been relatively slow since its announcement, and even more so since the switch to the Multi-Technology Mix approach. Existing fibre rollouts were seen through to completion, but many areas designated for FTTP were changed over to either HFC cable (where it already existed) or FTTN (Fibre To The Node) NBN connectivity instead. FTTP NBN availability is set to be delivered to around 20 percent of Australian households once the fibre rollout is completed on current plans.

How can I compare FTTP NBN plans?


Because FTTP NBN connections are all-fibre from the exchange to your premises, speed is a primary comparison point both across different NBN speed tiers and between various NBN providers.

If your online needs are very modest indeed and you have little to no interest in streaming video or having multiple people online at the same time, an entry level Basic (nbn12) FTTP NBN plan could suffice for your needs. If you have more users in your home or want to do more intensive online activities – or just don’t want to spend time waiting for downloads to finish – then the faster plans are obviously of more appeal.

Since the introduction of stricter guidelines for advertised NBN speeds, it's now possible to compare different broadband providers on the quality of their service during the busiest hours of 7:00PM to 11:00PM. Network congestion can lead to dramatic variations in performance from provider to provider, so comparing peak-hour speeds is every bit as important as considering which NBN speed tier to go with.

With the capacity to offer more speed, you may also find that your data needs intensify. This, along with speed, is a core criteria for properly comparing FTTP NBN plans.


The cost of an NBN plan is determined by both the speed and the data quota associated with that plan. Higher-speed plans typically include larger download quotas, which makes sense given that the faster that you can access online resources, the more of them you’re likely to use. So the cheapest NBN FTTP plans will typically only run at the lowest speed tiers with limited data provisioning, while more expensive plans will have larger data quotas and operate at higher speeds.

Will I need a new modem for FTTP NBN?

Because FTTP connections end in a network termination device, you don’t strictly speaking use a modem at all to connect to the NBN via fibre. Instead, you end up with a device housing an Ethernet port which you can connect to a router, although that router will need to meet some specific requirements to operate properly. If you’ve got an existing modem-router of recent vintage it may be capable of connecting via Ethernet to an FTTP NBN connection, but we’d advise checking with your ISP of choice. Many will provide an NBN-compatible Wi-Fi router as part of a contract plan.

What other extras should I look for?

Increased competition in the NBN space has led many broadband providers to pack in extra goodies with their services. These include entertainment options such as Fetch TV subscriptions as well as 4G backup services for guaranteed connectivity in the event that your NBN connection goes down. You'll also find that many providers will throw in a free modem-router with their NBN plans provided you commit to a fixed-term contract.

Compare FTTP NBN plans in the table below

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JohnApril 8, 2016

    How do I find out if the recent NBN connection to my home is FTTP or FTTN?

    • Default Gravatar
      BrodieApril 12, 2016

      Hi John,

      Easy. Just enter your address into our NBN tracker here and it will let you know what technology is available at your address.


    • Default Gravatar
      PaddoMay 8, 2017

      Does “fixed line” mean FTTP or FTTN?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 9, 2017Staff

      Hi Paddo,

      Thanks for your question.

      All types of nbn network connections that use a physical line running to the premises are considered to be fixed line connections which include FTTP, FTTN and FTTB. The difference between each type of connection has to do with how your existing network technology will be used in connecting you to the nearest available fibre node to your specific premises.


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