Buying a fast NBN plan should be simple, but there are countless variables that can affect how zippy your connection is.
Last week the ACCC released its most recent real-world NBN speed report, and it looks like TPG is the leader of the pack. And in another spot of good news, the results across the board weren't too bleak.
Every ISP resells access to the same core network, but the way in which providers like Telstra and Optus buy capacity from NBN Co means not all providers offer the same kind of download speeds. This is especially true during busy periods, like at night when everyone is trying to binge Netflix at the same time.
If your entire neighbourhood wants to stream the new season of Stranger Things and there’s not enough bandwidth to go around, you end up with a digital traffic jam. Even if you’re paying for what may seem like the fastest NBN plan around.
Thanks to the ACCC, NBN providers are disclosing the typical speeds you can realistically expect to get during busy hours - not just the NBN speed tier the plan is based on.
To help you find an NBN plan that consistently delivers the speeds you’re paying for, we've done the leg-work and put together a list of some of the fastest NBN 100 plans, based on the evening speed data NBN ISPs have made public.
The providers with some of fastest advertised evening speeds for their NBN 100 plans are as follows:
- Optus: Typical evening speed of 87.8Mbps
- Telstra: Typical evening speed of 87.42Mbps
- Aussie Broadband: Typical evening speed of 86Mbps
- Vodafone: Typical evening speed of 85Mbps
- Kogan: Typical evening speed of 85Mbps
- MyRepublic: Typical evening speed of 83Mbps
- Tangerine: Typical evening speeds of 83Mbps
- Mate Communicate: Typical evening speeds of 83Mbps
And here's what you’ll pay for an unlimited data NBN 100 plan from one of these providers:
Telstra doesn't have an NBN 100 plan in its standard range, so we’ve included a separate table with its NBN 50 option. To get NBN 100 speeds on Telstra, you’ll need to sign-up for an NBN 50 plan and then bolt on a speed boost for an extra $30 per month if your physical connection is fast enough.
It's also worth noting that both Telstra and Optus provide two different evening speed measures. In addition to stating their NBN 100 plans have typical evening speeds of 80Mbps, the telcos provide monthly updates based on the average real world speeds their customers have experienced. We've used the latter here.
In terms of bang-for-buck, Aussie Broadband offers some of the best advertised evening speeds around on NBN 100 plans and is about $20 per month cheaper than Telstra. The plan is also contract-free with no setup fees, which gives it a one up over Optus. Optus either requires you to commit to two years, or pay a $200 setup fee.
Vodafone is currently your cheapest option for high evening speed NBN 100 plans. Right now, you can get a Vodafone NBN 100 plan with unlimited data for $69 per month for your first six months. This makes it one of the cheapest NBN 100 plans around, but you will pay $89 per month thereafter.
While this Vodafone plan is technically contract-free, you’ll need to pay out the remainder of a modem fee if you leave within your first three years. This is equivalent to $5 multiplied by the number of months you’ve got left in that three-year period.
Kogan, Tangerine, and MyRepublic are also running discounts on their NBN 100 plans. You’ll pay:
- $75.90 per month on Kogan for the first six months, and $85.90 per month thereafter
- $79.90 per month on Tangerine for the first six months, and $89.90 per month thereafter
- $89.95 per month on MyRepublic for the first year, and $94.95 per month thereafter, if you sign up before October 9
These plans are all contract-free, so you can leave whenever you want without being charged any early exit fees. Like when your discount runs out, for example.
It’s important to be aware that "typical evening speeds" disclosed by NBN providers are just an indication of the speeds you can reasonably expect during peak hours. There are plenty of other factors that can affect the speeds you get at home. These include the technology you're using to connect to the NBN, the hardware in your home, and abnormally high usage in your area.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.
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