nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite

This page provides information about the satellite connection provided by nbn across Australia.

This connection type is offered to customers in regional, rural and remote Australia where there are no other metro-comparable nbn internet services available (such as those provided over Fixed Wireless or fixed fibre).

What is nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite?

nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite

Picture with text. Text reads: nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite. Your internet connection goes from the nbn™ ground station to your satellite dish via the Sky Muster™ satellite in orbit around Earth. The satellite dish connects to the indoor modem, which routes the internet to all your devices (laptop, desktop, phone, desktop, weather station, and so on).

Internet services are provided through a satellite dish mounted on your roof, where it sends and receives signals from the nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellites in orbit around Earth. They receive internet services via gateway connections, which in turn are connected to your internet service provider.

nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite services are provided by nbn™. Connection plans are supplied by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), sometimes also called Retail Service Providers (RSPs). Installations are free, however your chosen service provider may charge a fee for activating your new service.

Sky Muster service providers (RSPs)

There are 11 service providers that supply nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite services. Not all providers offer all types of plans.

  Link to Sky Muster plans Link to Sky Muster Plus plans
Activ8Me Sky Muster plans Sky Muster Plus plans
ANT Communications
Sky Muster plans Sky Muster Plus plans
Bordernet Sky Muster plans Does not have plus plans
Clear Networks Sky Muster plans Sky Muster Plus plans
Harbour ISP Sky Muster plans Sky Muster Plus plans
iiNet Sky Muster plans Does not have plus plans
IPSTAR Sky Muster plans Sky Muster Plus plans
Reachnet Sky Muster plans Sky Muster Plus plans
SkyMesh Sky Muster plans Sky Muster Plus plans
Southern Phone Does not have normal plans Sky Muster Plus plans
Westnet Sky Muster plans Does not have plus plans

Understanding Sky Muster™ plans

Plans are supplied by individual internet service providers. They will provide information about the maximum download and upload speeds you can expect on your connection, the included data, which content may be metered or unmetered (particularly on Plus plans), peak and off-peak data and, of course, cost.

There are four types of Sky Muster™ Plans.

  1. nbn™ Sky Muster™. Available in two speed tiers: 12/1Mbps or 25/5Mbps (see “Speed” below for an explanation).
  2. nbn™ Sky Muster™ Plus. Available in 25/5Mbps speed only, but has the ability to “burst” faster than 25Mbps as the network allows. Includes unlimited data for everything except VPN & video streaming.
  3. Education Port plans. Available to eligible distance education and home school students. Visit our Education page for more information.
  4. nbn™ Sky Muster™ business-grade plans. Provide for faster speeds and business-grade support services. Visit our Business page for more information.

Note that not all nbn™ Sky Muster™  providers offer education ports, plus plans, or business plans.

BIRRR has created a detailed breakdown and analysis of the basic 12/1 and Plus plans of all the Sky Muster providers, identifying those with the best value as at 14 July 2021. These comparisons will be reviewed and updated quarterly.

The full-sized images can be seen by clicking on the thumbnail pictures, below.

This BIRRR chart provides an excellent comparison of the Sky Muster service providers, comparing important aspects of the provider such as customer service, how your usage is displayed, and other information. Click on the thumbnail to open the full-sized image (2Mb).

Sky Muster Provider Comparison.

Sky Muster Provider Comparison. Updated 21st Nov 20

You can also check individual plans on the suppliers’ websites, or use a comparison site such as WhistleOut.

At the time of writing, December 2020, this is the only comparison site that covers nbn™ Sky Muster™ plans. It may not fully cover Sky Muster™ Plus plans. Comparison sites are usually funded by providers advertising fees (they are not independent) and may not compare all providers and all types of plans.

For more information, see “Choosing a plan that suits your needs” in the ACCAN Sky Muster Guide, 3rd edition and the BIRRR How to Choose an nbn provider.

Sky Muster standard™ vs Sky Muster™ Plus

nbn™ Sky Muster™ has two different plan types – standard plans, and Plus plans. Find out more:

Speed

Sky Muster plans come in two speed levels (tiers):

Speed tier Maximum download speed Maximum upload speed
nbn 12 (Home Basic 1) 12Mbps 1Mbps
nbn 25 (Home Basic 2) 25Mbps 5Mbps

nbn™ Sky Muster™ Plus plans come in the nbn 25/5 speed tier. However, speeds may temporarily “burst” higher when the network allows (speeds up to 50Mbps download and 15mbps upload have been reported by users).

Faster speeds are available using nbn™ Business satellite services. (For more information about business broadband, visit our Business Internet page).

To learn more about internet speeds and choosing an internet plan, visit Discover Internet Options.

Included data

Included data refers to how much internet content you can upload and download in one month. Your monthly allocation is measured in gigabytes (Gb).

How much data you need depends on what you do and how long you spend online.

Checking email and browsing the internet uses very little data, while movies, cloud storage, software updates and gaming will use quite a lot.

If you run out of data in your month, your service provider may slow down your connection until the next billing cycle starts again. This is called “shaping”.

If you have run out of data and have a standard Sky Muster™ plan, your provider may let you buy more data for the month (‘data blocks’), or upgrade your plan to a larger one.

Some providers offer metered data blocks on Sky Muster™ Plus plans, however nbn™ policy currently doesn’t allow for plus plans to be upgraded mid billing cycle. All plus plans currently reset on the 1st of each month

Peak / Off Peak

Sky Muster™ Plans divide the data allowance between peak and off-peak times.

  • Peak hours are between 7am and 1am at your local time (18 hours of the day).
  • Off-peak hours are between 1am and 7am at your local time (6 hours of the day).

Plans that offer larger data allowances in off-peak times are often better value for money but may require you to use the internet at a time that does not suit your needs. Peak hours are likely to be the hours when you most want to use the internet.

Visit our page on using off-peak data for tips.

Metered, unmetered, and shaped data

  • “Metered” content counts toward your included monthly data quota.
  • “Unmetered” content does not count against your monthly included data. You can do as much of this sort internet activity as you like without being slowed down.
  • “Shaped” data is what happens when you’ve used all your allocated data for the month. If you are shaped, your connection will be slowed down to very basic speeds.

On nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite plans, all activities (peak and off-peak) are metered, and use your plan data allowance. If you run out of data, you may be shaped – slowed down – unless you can top up your plan.

On nbn™ Sky Muster™ Plus plans, you use the monthly metered data allowance for video streaming and virtual private network (VPN) traffic only. Everything else is unmetered and does not count towards your plan’s data allowance. Unmetered data never slows down, even when you use all your metered allowance. See the table below for an idea of what data is metered, unmetered, or shaped, under a Sky Muster™ Plus plan.

Based on the average user, it is estimated that approximately 70% of data usage would be unmetered. However, this can vary depending on how your household or business uses the internet.

This list is not comprehensive and is subject to change. Accurate as at 1 April 2020.

Platform What is unmetered?
Data that DOESN’T count toward your monthly data usage
What is metered?
Data that DOES count toward your monthly data usage
Social Media Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, SnapChat, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and video streaming on these platforms Tik Tok
Video Conferencing Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, Messenger, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, Microsoft Teams, Google Duo, Viber, Google Hangouts, Line, Tango, MyVMR & other applications that support collaboration
Cloud Programs * Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, cloud accounting programs, Canva, icloud etc
Emails Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, Hotmail, Outlook Express etc
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) None All traffic using a VPN is metered
Video Streaming Embedded video streaming on social media sites that support social connectedness. Netflix, Stan, You Tube, Foxtel, Itunes Movie downloads, BigPond Movies, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, PlayOn, SBS Online, Google Play video, ABC iView, Video embedded on news/magazine sites etc
Gaming * Software Updates, console updates (xbox, playstation, switch etc), most online gaming platforms e.g. minecraft, Google Stadia
Voice Wi-Fi Calling, VOiP, Messenger voice calls, Skype voice
Audio Streaming Spotify, iTunes music, Audible, Amazon Music, Google Play music
Software/Application Updates * App updates, phone & computer updates, software downloads e.g. Microsoft office
Education Reading Eggs, Mathletics, Blackboard, Moodle, Study Ladder, Turnitin, ClickView etc YouTube
Web browsing All other web traffic, not listed is unmetered e.g. retail sites, weather, netbanking
Apps All app downloads & updates from Google Play or Apple Store

*Peer to peer traffic, uploads and downloads to cloud storage platforms (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive), computer and smartphone operating systems updates, software updates, gaming updates and activity related to applications which nbn cannot identify may be shaped between 4pm –11 pm to wholesale speeds of 256 Kbps.

Cost

This can have multiple parts.

There will be a fixed monthly cost for your internet plan. This will be charged to you on the same day every month. The date on which you’re charged is generally the date on which your monthly data “resets” back to zero – that is, you get your full monthly data quota back.

Your internet service provider may also charge other one-off costs, besides the monthly cost, such as for set-up, equipment (router or Analogue Telephone Adaptor (ATA) for VoIP), activation fees, speed tier change fees, or early termination fees.

You should carefully check all the possible fees that may apply with each plan as they differ with each provider.

Look for the Critical Information Summary (CIS) for each plan and use it to compare plan costs. These are located on all providers’ websites and can be requested in-store.

The CIS contains information about the plan such as the price, fees for leaving the contract early, contract length, download limits, and so on.

Contract length

Some contracts are available month to month, while others have a minimum duration (such as one or two years). Longer contracts may not have upfront equipment and activation fees, but may add a charge if you want to end your service before the contract has run its full time.

If you need assistance in understanding a contract, there is good information on the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) website.

Fair Use Policy

nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite plans have a concept called the “Fair Use Policy”. This is a set of nbn business rules that govern how a service provider may offer an nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite service to a customer, aimed at ensuring equity of service access to all customers.

The Fair Use Policy covers items such as time of day utilisation (such as peak and off-peak data use), the number of ports that can be used on a single nbnmodem, and data volume quotas (i.e. how much data can be downloaded/used by a single connection). 

If breaches of the Fair Use Policy are detected either by your internet service provider or by nbn, your speed or included data can be slowed down, or your service cut off entirely, depending on the nature of the breach.

Internet services providers may also have their own fair use conditions that apply to your contract.

For details on what the Fair Use Policy means for your provider, read your contract in detail and contact your service provider if you have any questions.

nbn™ Sky Muster™ setup

nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite setup

Picture with text. Text reads: nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite. Your satellite dish receives the internet signal and sends it to the indoor modem. The modem connects to the router, which sends the internet to all your devices (laptop, desktop, phone, weather station, and so on).

You must have a satellite installed on your property; generally, on the roof of your premises.

From there, the signal is passed via a cable to the indoor unit – the network termination device (NTD) or modem inside your premises.

Once you’ve contacted an internet service provider and decided on a suitable plan for your purposes, a technician (nbn contractor) will be booked to install the equipment. There is no charge for installation, although your provider may have an activation fee. 

The indoor unit (NTD) needs to be installed on a wall in a sheltered, dry area with access to power. The NTD will be connected to the outdoor satellite dish by a cable.

The best place for your NTD is one that is:

  • Near your existing devices that you will use the most
  • Within 1.5 metres of a dedicated 240V power point (a mandatory requirement)
  • In a cool, dry, ventilated area
  • Away from busy areas where it may be knocked and damaged
  • Where it will be easy for you to check the indicator lights if there is a problem (under desks, behind cupboards or up very high in hard to reach places are not recommended)

Once you’ve signed up to an nbn™ plan through an internet service provider, nbn installers supply and install the satellite dish and the modem (NTD) to which the satellite connects. If you require Wi-Fi, you will need to pay and order a router from your RSP or supply your own router.

The modem requires power to operate. It will not operate in the event of a power outage at your premises. However, if you are able to switch to a backup power supply, such as a Universal Power Supply (UPS) or generator, your internet service should continue to work.

 

Connecting your equipment

Once the nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite and NTD are installed, you can connect your internet access equipment.

You will either connect your computer directly to the NTD via an ethernet cable, or via a piece of equipment called a router.

Routers are particularly useful for broadcasting a wireless (Wi-Fi) signal throughout your premises. Any Wi-Fi enabled equipment, including laptops, computers, phones, tablets, printers, sensors, televisions, and so on, can connect to this Wi-Fi signal, letting you access the internet.

Your service provider can supply you with a good router for your purposes, if you don’t already have one. RSP routers can be plug and play or require configuration; check which type your RSP offers.

More information