Future plans for the National Broadband Network (NBN) are anything but certain — the only way to be sure you’ll gain access to a fast fibre connection is to move to a location where it already exists. Here are 10 suggestions for places that might be worth the journey.
The reality for the NBN right now is that there are no firm commitments as to when future developments will happen, and no certainty as to what sort of technology mix will be used. Whatever your views on the politics of how this happened, its practical impact is simple: the only certain way to know you’ll have access to fibre broadband is to be living in one of the locations where it has already rolled out.
We’ve highlighted 10 of the most attractive choices below. If you were planning a move, you’d still need to check specific addresses on the NBN rollout map — all of these locations have live sites, but many also have proposed builds close by. If you have additional suggestions, share them in the comments.
10. Armidale, NSW
Armidale was the first mainland location to switch on the NBN. An attractive university town in the New England region, there’s only one obvious downside: the winters are cold. (Believe me: I lived there for 20 years.) Picture: denisbin
9. Kiama, NSW
Another early NBN site, Kiama offers the attraction of coastal living while also being only two hours from Sydney (by train or car). Picture: Gonzo Carles
8. Canberra, ACT
Canberra jokes are common and inevitable given its chief role as the seat of Federal Parliament, but there are many worse places to live in Australia (property values are growing rapidly, for one thing). Transport connections are excellent and it’s a great place to live if you own a bike. Like Armidale, though, winters are icy. Picture: enjosmith
7. Hobart, TAS
Tasmania has a more diverse range of locations where the NBN is available than any other state, but we’re going to put our hands up for urban living and suggest the state capital as an obvious choice. That said, nothing is that far away by car when you live in Tassie. Picture: Andrew Braithwaite
6. Brunswick, VIC
The first urban location to see an NBN rollout, this is the obvious broadband choice for the committed hipster. There’s even an NBN cafe if you want to try before you move.
5. Coffs Harbour, NSW
If you ache to combine high-speed surfing with actual surfing, Coffs is the place to be. Also: the Big Banana, still the most iconic of Australia’s many Big Things. Picture: Jenny Mealing
4. Darwin, NT
Top End at top speed? Sounds good to us. Crocodiles might prove a challenge, but the NT News will keep you up to speed in that department. Picture: Ken Hodge
3. McLaren Vale, SA
Excuse me, I’ve just discovered a wine region near Adelaide which has NBN access. I may not return. Picture: Jocelyn Kinghorn
2. Mandurah, WA
Mandurah is close enough to Perth (by either road or car) that you could sensibly work in the city then return at night to its coastal charms. Picture: Michael Spencer
1. Townsville, QLD
NBN Co has described Townsville as “Australia’s most NBN-ready city”. Provided you can cope with tropical humidity, there are diverse employment opportunities, attractive coastline and a thriving university. Go north, young broadband seeker! Picture: John Skewes