nbn® Sky Muster® standard vs Sky Muster® Plus

nbn Sky Muster has two different plan types – standard plans, and Plus plans.  With nbn Sky Muster Plus plans, only streaming video and Virtual Private Network (VPN) data used between 4pm and 12am midnight is counted (“metered”) in usage totals; everything else is unlimited (“unmetered”).

nbn estimates that 80% of the data you use on a Sky Muster Plus plan will not count towards the monthly data allowance, on average. This means a typical user will likely not need a plan with the same data allowance as a standard Sky Muster plan. Note all nbn Sky Muster providers offer Plus plans. You can check which providers do this here.

This page provides detail on the differences between the two plan types, so you can make an informed decision on whether to move from your standard nbn Sky Muster plan to an nbn Sky Muster Plus plan.

The nbn website holds further information on Sky Muster and Sky Muster Plus.

What is metering?

Skymuster Satellite

  • “Metered” content counts toward your included monthly data quota.
  • “Unmetered/uncapped data” does not count against your monthly included data. You can use your internet connection freely for unmetered/uncapped activities.
  • “Shaped” data occurs when you’ve used your data allowance for VPN and video streaming during 4pm-12am midnight for the month. If you are shaped, your connection will be slowed down to very basic speeds for the remainder of that month.

nbn Sky Muster Plus 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.

On standard nbn Sky Muster satellite plans, all activities are metered, and use your plan’s data allowance. If you run out of data, you may be shaped – slowed down – unless you can top up your plan with a “data block”. Not all providers offer data blocks.

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.

If you completely use your monthly data allowance using video streaming and virtual private network (VPN) traffic between 4pm and 12am midnight,  however, your data will be shaped and slowed for the rest of the calendar month, until your data is reset for the new month. Top-ups are available for purchase from some nbn Sky Muster Plus providers, if you wish to purchase them. 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, nbn estimates that approximately 80% of data usage will not count towards your monthly data allowance on a Sky Muster Plus plan. 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 of 1 July 2022.

What’s metered, and what’s not?

nbn updates its examples of metered and unmetered data regularly on its website. The below information was sourced from their website and was accurate as of 1 July 2022.

Activity Examples of activities which have uncapped data with nbn Sky Muster Plus

(unless accessed through a VPN between 4pm and 12am midnight)1

Note: Exclusions and fair use conditions apply.2

Wi Fi Calling YES – data uncapped
Streaming audio (like Spotify and ABC listen) YES – data uncapped
Internet gaming YES – data uncapped
Video calling YES – data uncapped
Streaming video content (e.g. Netflix, ABC iView, Stan, FOXTEL, You Tube, Tik Tok, Play On and embedded video on newspaper and magazine websites), other than embedded video content on certain social media platforms (covered below) YES – data uncapped outside of 4pm and 12am midnight
Content on certain social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumbler and LinkedIn YES – data uncapped
Virtual Private Network use (e.g. Nord VPN, Norton Secure VPN, Pure VPN and/ or VPNs proprietary to workplaces and companies) YES – data uncapped outside of 4pm and 12am midnight
Cloud storage and file sharing platforms (e.g. Dropbox or Google Drive) YES – data uncapped (shaping at nbn’s discretion may occur from time to time to maximum wholesale upload and download speeds of 256Kbps
Gaming software updates YES – data uncapped

(shaping at nbn’s discretion may from occur time to time to maximum wholesale upload and download speeds of 256Kbps)

Software / Application updates YES – data uncapped

(shaping at nbn’s discretion may occur from time to time to maximum wholesale upload and download speeds of 256Kbps)

All PC and smartphone operating system updates YES – data uncapped

(shaping at nbn’s discretion may occur from time to time to maximum wholesale upload and download speeds of 256Kbps)

Any traffic related to applications which nbn cannot identify YES – data uncapped

(shaping at nbn’s discretion may occur from time to time to maximum wholesale upload and download speeds of 256Kbps)

Peer to Peer traffic YES – data uncapped

(shaping at nbn’s discretion may occur from time to time to maximum wholesale upload and download speeds of 256Kbps)

1If you’re accessing your connection via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between 4pm – 12 am midnight, all activities will count towards your monthly data allowance, even those specified as ‘uncapped data activities’.

2Exclusions and fair use conditions apply. Examples of Unfair use include: 

  • an end user routinely transferring, or knowingly allowing the routine transfer of, large files greater than 20MB via email; and
  • an end user downloading, or knowingly allowing the downloading of, software, application or operating system updates for more than 20 unique devices. 

It is also unfair use to knowingly allow any of these things. For further details on fair use conditions, contact your internet service provider.

About Virtual Private Networks – VPNs

It is possible for people to steal the data transmitted over your internet connection, stealing details such as credit card details and personal information.

That’s why shopping website addresses start with “https” (the “s” stands for “secure”), and have the lock on them. . The website sets up a temporary very secure connection between you and that website, so you can safely transfer financial and personal information.

A Virtual Private Network sets up a very secure “encrypted” connection for your entire internet connection. Regardless of what you’re connecting to, people can’t see – and therefore steal – your data.

This very secure network can slow down your internet experience, because every piece of data over the connection is firstly encrypted, checked, and sent to the other side, where it has to be unencrypted. VPN connections can be tricky over a satellite internet service, due to the high latency – the delay – of the service.

VPNs are very common when connecting into a workplace. It means you can access the company’s private information, software, and other services, so you can work as if you were sitting in front of a computer in the office – but instead you’re on the move, or at home.

However, anyone can get and use a VPN to secure your internet connection at any time. Some are free, some will cost money.

It also means nbn can’t see what sort of data you’re transferring, so it doesn’t know if it should be metered or unmetered content.

This means that, all VPN data counts towards the monthly data allowance when used between 4pm and 12am midnight.

Benefits and considerations

Benefits Considerations
Unmetered data doesn’t count towards your monthly data quota. It is effectively “unlimited”.

nbn estimate that, on average, 80% of usage will be unmetered on Sky Muster Plus.

Sky Muster Plus plans cost may on the face of it seem to cost more than standard Sky Muster plans, due to the added benefits of potential speed bursts and unlimited unmetered data. However, some users find they can reduce their monthly data on Sky Muster Plus plans since the monthly data allowance only needs to cover video streaming and VPN use between 4pm and 12am midnight, and 80% of all usage on average doesn’t count towards the monthly data allowance on a Sky Muster Plus plan, whereas all internet usage on Sky Muster counts towards the monthly data allowance.
Sky Muster Plus plans have the ability to speed burst (subject to network availability). During the 2019 trial, speed test results averaged 43Mbps download and 12Mbps upload and sometimes exceeded 50Mbps.

The official speed plan offered on Sky Muster Plus is 25/5Mbps.

Some  Fair Use limitations on unmetered/uncapped data content include:

  • No excessive automated downloads.
  • No routine emails larger than 20Mb
  • Only 20 devices per calendar month can receive software updates.

●  Note that for network protection purposes, nbn has the discretion to slow selected particular applications (like gaming and software updates) from time to time.  These applications will continue however to not count towards the monthly data allowance

 

On Sky Muster Plus, if you run out of your monthly data allowance for Video streaming and VPN use between 4pm – 12 am midnight, only  your use of those applications during that time window data will be slowed or shaped for the rest of the calendar month.  Data blocks are available with some providers on Sky Muster Plus plans.
If your monthly data allowance for video streaming and VPN use between 4pm – 12am midnight is exceeded, you will be slowed to 512/256Kbps within that window only, and only for video streaming and VPN use.

Note: standard Sky Muster plan shaping speeds are 128/128 Kbps.

Plan changes can only become effective on the 1st day of the calendar month.
Plan changes may be possible, depending on your service provider. Where available, they will take effect at the beginning of your billing cycle.

You can swap plans between Sky Muster Plus and standard Sky Muster plans and generally this is a straightforward process and can be organised over the phone, given the two services use the same nbn equipment. However, while most providers offer Sky Muster and Sky Muster Plus, there are a couple who do not. You may need to change providers to upgrade. Check the list of providers who offer Sky Muster and Sky Muster Plus here.

  • nbn Sky Muster Plus is OPTIONAL – you do not have to upgrade.
  • Standard nbn Sky Muster plans are still available from providers (see the BIRRR Standard Plan comparison).
  • nbn Sky Muster Plus is available on the 25/5Mbps speed tier, but does have the ability to “burst” at higher speeds, subject to network availability.
  • If you are currently on a standard nbn Sky Muster plan, you will need to place a new order for an nbn Sky Muster Plus plan to make the switch, it is not automatic. Most providers require you to make a phone call to change to plus.
  • You may have several hours of downtime, where the internet isn’t available at all, while your new plan is being applied.
  • Sky Muster Plus plans currently reset the data for video streamin gand VPN use between 4pm-12am midnight on the 1st of each month. All other usage doesn’t count towards the monthly data allowance.
  • You may have the ability to top-up your monthly data allowance if you run out; check with your service provider as not all providers offer data top-ups.
  • The nbn Fair Use Policies apply to Sky Muster Plus connections, to ensure the satellite capacity is balanced between all satellite customers.

If you already have a nbn Sky Muster connection, you don’t need any additional or new equipment to upgrade to Sky Muster Plus.

What’s the price difference?

BIRRR Sky Muster Plus Price Comparison. Last updated 01/08/20
COMPANY PEAK Gb
7.00am-1.00am
OFF-PEAK Gb
1.00am-7.00am
TOTAL Gb Cost $/GB
metered data
Minimum contract length (months)
Activ8 25 25 50 $59.95  $    1.20 1
50 50 100 $69.95  $    0.70 1
75 75 150 $99.95  $    0.67 1
100 100 200 $134.95  $    0.67 1
125 125 250 $169.95  $    0.68 1
150 150 300 $199.95  $    0.67 1
ANT 25 25 50 $59.95  $    1.20 1
50 50 100 $69.95  $    0.70 1
100 100 200 $109.95  $    0.55 1
150 150 300 $159.95  $    0.53 1
Clear
Broadband
25 25 50 $59.00  $    1.18 1
50 50 100 $74.00  $    0.74 1
100 100 200 $134.00  $    0.67 1
150 150 300 $189.00  $    0.63 1
HarbourISP 25 25 50 $60.00  $    1.20 1
50 50 100 $70.00  $    0.70 1
100 100 200 $125.00  $    0.63 1
150 150 300 $190.00  $    0.63 1
IPSTAR* 25 25 50 $50.00  $    1.00 24
50 50 100 $65.00  $    0.65 24
75 75 150 $95.00  $    0.63 24
100 100 200 $120.00  $    0.60 24
150 150 300 $175.00  $    0.58 24
Reachnet* 50 50 100 $65.00  $    0.65 12
100 100 200 $130.00  $    0.65 12
150 150 300 $185.00  $    0.62 12
SkyMesh 25 25 50 $69.95  $    1.40 1
50 50 100 $74.95  $    0.75 1
70 70 140 $99.95  $    0.71 1
100 100 200 $139.95  $    0.70 1
125 125 250 $174.95  $    0.70 1
150 150 300 $199.95  $    0.67 1
Southern
Phone
25 25 50 $55.00  $    1.10 1
50 50 100 $70.00  $    0.70 1
100 100 200 $130.00  $    0.65 1
150 150 300 $190.00  $    0.63 1
Yellow indicates good value plans with metered data cost of under 70 cents/GB & not contracted. Some providers will plan match a competitor’s price, if asked.
Customers should review the RSP’s Critical Information Summaries or CIS.
The CIS was mandated by the ACCC to make it easy for customers to compare ISPs’ offerings. Don’t make a decision on price alone.
*IPSTAR & REACHNET also have non-contracted prices for Plus plans.
Please contact these providers directly to get a non-contract plan

Who offers nbn Sky Muster?

There are 11 service providers that supply nbn Sky Muster satellite services. As at August 2022, eight providers offer nbn Sky Muster Plus 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 IT Sky Muster plans Sky Muster Plus plans
iiNet Sky Muster plans Does not have Sky Muster 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 standard Sky Muster plans Sky Muster Plus plans
Westnet Sky Muster plans Does not have Sky Muster Plus plans