Buying a fast NBN plan should be simple, but there are plenty of factors that can affect just how fast your connection is.
The way providers like Telstra and Optus buy capacity from NBN Co means download speeds can vary from one telco to another. This is especially true during busy periods, like at night when everyone is trying to binge Netflix at the same time.
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 and NBN 50 plans, based on the most recent evening speed data NBN ISPs have made public.
If you’re looking for a fast NBN plan, you’ve got a few ways to gauge performance. Providers self-report evening speeds, the ACCC has a quarterly report, or you could check out what Netflix has to say. Each month, Netflix releases a speed index report comparing prime time streaming performance across some of Australia's largest internet providers. Here's what it had to say this time around.
The providers with some of the fastest advertised evening speeds for their NBN 100 plans are as follows:
- Superloop: Typical evening speeds of 90Mbps
- Aussie Broadband: Typical evening speeds of 86Mbps
- Vodafone: Typical evening speeds of 85Mbps
- Kogan: Typical evening speeds of 85Mbps
- iiNet: Typical evening speeds of 83.3Mbps
- MyRepublic: Typical evening speed of 83Mbps
- Tangerine: Typical evening speeds of 83Mbps
- Mate Communicate: Typical evening speeds of 83Mbps
- Telstra: Typical evening speeds of 80Mbps
- Optus: Typical evening speeds of 80Mbps
And here's what you’ll pay for an unlimited data NBN 50 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 bolt on a speed boost for an extra $30 per month, assuming your physical connection is fast enough. This will bring your total plan fee to a minimum of $120 per month.
It’s also worth noting that while Telstra and Optus report typical evening speeds of 80Mbps, both telcos have supplementary monthly speed data. Telstra also provides “average evening speeds”, based on the performance experienced by 90% of its NBN customers. Telstra’s most recent data covers September, during which it says its NBN 100 customers were getting average evening speeds of 91.63Mbps.
Optus also has an average evening speed measure, calculated over a two-week period based on the experiences of a "representative" group of customers. Optus says its NBN 100 customers were getting average evening speeds of 88.7Mbps in September.
In terms of bang-for-buck, Superloop boasts some of the best advertised evening speeds around on NBN 100 plans and is about $30 per month cheaper than Telstra. Better yet, the plan is contract and setup fee free.
Vodafone is currently your cheapest option when it comes to 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
- $79.95 per month on MyRepublic for the first six, and $89.95 per month thereafter, if you sign up before October 9
The Tangerine and Kogan plans are both contract free, so you can leave whenever, but you’ll need to commit to a year to get the MyRepublic deal.
If you’re after something cheaper, the providers with some of the fastest advertised evening speeds for their NBN 50 plans are as follows:
- Vodafone: Typical evening speed of 45Mbps
- Kogan: Typical evening speed of 45Mbps
- Internode: Typical evening speeds of 44.4Mbps
- Superloop: Typical evening speeds of 44.4Mbps
- TPG: Typical evening speeds of 43.7Mbps
- iiNet: Typical evening speeds of 43.7Mbps
- Aussie Broadband: Typical evening speeds of 43Mbps
- MyRepublic: Typical evening speeds of 43Mbps
- Telstra: Typical evening speeds of 40Mbps
- Optus: Typical evening speeds of 40Mbps
And here’s what you’ll pay for an unlimited data NBN 50 plan from these providers:
Once again, it’s worth noting that Telstra and Optus both also provide average speeds based on monthly performance. For peak hours in September, Telstra says its NBN 50 customers achieved average download speeds of 45.57Mbps, and Optus says its NBN 50 customers were getting average speeds of 46.2Mbps.
The cheapest plan here comes from Internode, who will charge $59.99 per month for your first six months and $79.99 per month thereafter. The plan is sold on a six-month contract, but you can leave as soon as your discount is up.
Excluding promotional discounts, your cheapest option comes from Kogan Internet, priced at $65.90 per month on a no-contract term.
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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