We've known the National Broadband Network (NBN) plans to be structured around five "tiers" of connectivity based on download and upload speeds offered by NBNco. It appears the company has renamed the plans and taken one of the tiers out. Here's what you need to know.
Here at Lifehacker Australia we've done a quite a few articles about plans that are available over the NBN and how to pick the right one for you if the network is available in your area. Up until late last year, here's how NBNco classified the plans available over its fibre network:
- Tier 1: This speed tier provides your service provider with wholesale access speeds of 12Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload over NBN fibre.
- Tier 2: This speed tier provides your service provider with wholesale access speeds of 25 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload over NBN fibre.
- Tier 3: This speed tier provides your service provider with wholesale access speeds of 25 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload over NBN fibre.
- Tier 4: This speed tier provides your service provider with wholesale access speeds of 50 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload over NBN fibre.
- Tier 5: This speed tier provides your service provider with wholesale access speeds of 100 Mbps download and 40 Mbps upload over NBN fibre.
On a side note, it's important to remember that Tier 5 services aren't available across the network. NBNco operates as a wholesaler of NBN services and there are around 70 registered internet service providers (ISPs) offering plans to consumers.
Now when you visit the NBNco website for an explanation of the plans, you no longer see references to tiered plans. Instead, you're greeted with nbn 12, nbn 25, nbn 50 and nbn 100:
There's no longer references to specific download and upload speeds available for each plan either and it appears one of the old speed tiers is missing.
We approached NBNco about the changes to the speed tiers and this was the company's response:
"Changes to [NBNco's] website reflect the company’s move to better inform Australians that there are speed options available from retail providers on the nbn network. Website changes include more detailed information on nbn wholesale speed tiers available to [retail service providers] to sell to homes and businesses. This is with the aim of allowing them to better discuss their requirements with their preferred retail provider."
So it's just a different marketing tactic for NBNco.
The changes to the naming convention do align with NBNco's multi-technology mix (MTM) approach to the NBN which uses a handful of different technologies to deliver broadband services depending on the location. Depending on the technology that is being used to provide the service, including FTTP, FTTN and fixed wireless, download and upload speeds can vary greatly.
As the NBNco website states: "Remember, your actual speeds are determined by your provider and the plan you choose, and may also vary depending on things like their network capacity, your equipment, time of day and your location."
In short, those who are already using NBN services through their respective ISPs are unlikely to be affected by the speed tier naming changes; the consumer-facing plans are defined by individual ISPs anyway. For those who are looking at taking up NBN services, be sure to clarify with your prospective ISP about what type of technology and download/upload speeds are available in your area.
How do you feel about the changes to the names of the speed tiers? Do you think this makes sense or does it add unnecessary confusion? Let us know in the comments.