Why two numbers make such a big difference

The NBN is all about speed; connecting your home or business to online information fast.

That’s why, to choose the best NBN service, you need to understand two important numbers.

The download and the upload speeds. For instance, when you see 25/5, the ‘25’ means 25 Mbps is the maximum peak download speed and the ‘5’ means 5 Mbps is the maximum peak upload speed.


Download is how fast a webpage, video or similar files will load to your computer. Download speed can be reduced when more users are downloading information from the same connection.

Upload is how fast you can send information such as email, photos, streaming a live video session or two-way communications.

Importantly, a slow upload speed can reduce your download speed.


Speed and data

Next to knowing what NBN speed you need, you’ll need to know how much data you need each month (50 GB, 100 GB or unlimited) and whether your NBN provider has the backhaul capacity to serve your needs.

What is ‘backhaul capacity’?

Backhaul capacity is how much speed is available during peak times for all connected users; the greater the backhaul capacity, the lower the likelihood of slow speeds due to congestion.

An NBN Service Provider purchases this capacity from NBN Co. Be sure to find out if your provider has sufficient backhaul capacity, particularly if you’re running a business that needs a continual fast connection.

Check the fine print before you connect

  1. Ask for your NBN Provider’s average speed and backhaul capacity. An advertised 100Mbps connection may only average 70-80Mbps when more users are connected.

  2. Ask what needs to happen to your phone line. Your business phone is critical. Traditional phone lines must move to VoIP or SIP when you switch to NBN, however in most cases you will NOT need to replace your phone system. Find out how your phone service will be connected and how a legacy phone system can be set up using the NBN.

  3. For businesses, check that you’ll connect via a dedicated business service. This will safeguard against domestic and other consumer traffic reducing your NBN service.

  4. Find out what other services and support your provider offers to improve your NBN experience.