nbn® Sky Muster® satellite explained
This page provides information about the satellite connection provided by nbn across Australia. You can obtain further information on Sky Muster®, Sky Muster® Plus, and Sky Muster® Plus Premium here.
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 Line).
What is nbn Sky Muster satellite?
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.
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 five types of Sky Muster Plans.
- nbn Sky Muster. Available in two speed tiers: 12/1Mbps or 25/5Mbps (see “Speed” below for an explanation).
- nbn Sky Muster Plus. Available in 25/5Mbps speed only, but has the ability to “burst” faster than 25Mbps as the network allows. The Sky Muster Plus plan only charges you for your use of video streaming and VPN during 4pm – 12am midnight. Usage of VPN and video streaming outside of these hours, and all other online activities continue to not count towards your monthly data allowance.
- nbn Sky Muster Plus Premium. This plan, provided as of 1 June 2023, includes uncapped data usage for all internet activities and can offer wholesale burst download speeds of up to 100Mbps.
- Education Port plans. Available to eligible distance education and home school students. Visit our Education page for more information.
- 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.
New Sky Muster Plus Premium
On 1 June 2023, nbn released a new product, the Sky Muster Plus Premium plan. Upgrading of the Fixed Wireless network has enabled greater capacity for current satellite customers to migrate across to the Fixed Wireless network, which has subsequently freed up capacity for new satellite customers. After a recent successful trial involving over 10,700 participants, where they tested the network’s capabilities to ensure the delivery of an improved service, the new plan delivers fully unmetered data usage and faster burst speeds of up to 100Mbps. The trial indicated the network was capable of sustaining a significant increase in data usage during peak times and showcased the desire for more data. Customers also reacted positively to improvements in data allowance throughout, especially during peak usage periods.
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. Pricing comes down to the individual provider. You can check individual plans on the suppliers’ websites or use a comparison site such as WhistleOut.
Comparison sites are sometimes funded by providers advertising fees (they are not independent) and may not compare all providers and all types of plans.
|Link to Sky Muster plans||Link to Sky Muster Plus plans|
|Activ8Me||Sky Muster plans||Sky Muster Plus plans|
||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|
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). The Sky Muster Plus plan only charges you for your use of video streaming and VPN during 4pm – 12am midnight. Usage of VPN and video streaming outside of these hours, and all other online activities continue to not count towards your monthly data allowance.
The nbn Sky Muster Plus Premium can see temporary ‘bursts’ of speeds up to 100Mbps download and 10Mbps upload when the network allows. Data is fully unmetered/uncapped, with no monthly data allowances.
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 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, your monthly data allowance only needs to cover your use of video streaming and virtual private network (VPN) traffic between 4pm and 12am midnight. Everything else does not count towards your plan’s data allowance.
Based on the average user, it is estimated that approximately 80% 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
Note: Exclusions and fair use conditions apply.2
|What is metered?
Data that DOES count toward your monthly data usage
(unless accessed through a VPN between 4pm and 12am midnight)1
|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.
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.
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 nbn® modem, 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
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.
- nbn Sky Muster satellite explained.
- nbn User Guide nbn™ Sky Muster™ and Sky Muster™ Plus satellite services.
- nbn Preparation Kit nbn Sky Muster and Sky Muster Plus satellite services.
- ACCAN Sky Muster Guide, 3rd edition.