If you’re looking for a genuinely fast NBN plan, there are a couple of different ways to gauge performance. Providers self-report evening speeds, the ACCC issues 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.
Rather than looking at overall internet speeds, the leaderboard tracks how these telcos perform when everyone has their eyeballs glued to Netflix during the busiest hours of the day. This, however, isn’t a bad proxy for working out which providers offer solid all-round speeds.
Netflix has just published the results for December, but before we look at the data, it's worth pointing out that some providers – like Telstra and Optus – have separate rankings for NBN performance and non-NBN performance. Other telcos like – Exetel – have had their NBN and ADSL speeds aggregated into a single result.
Here are the full results from December:
And here's a look at some plans from these providers:
NBN 100 plans with unlimited data
Telstra topped the Netflix speed index once again, but it’s also the priciest telco out of the bunch. You’ll pay $120 per month for an NBN 100 plan with Big T.
However, you can only sign up for a Telstra NBN 100 plan instantly if you’re on an FTTP or HFC NBN connection. If you’re connected via any other technology type, you’ll need to sign up for a Telstra NBN 50 plan first. If your physical connection is fast enough, you can then purchase a $30 per month speed boost.
Telstra NBN plans are contract-free but be aware that you’ll need to pay out a pro-rated modem fee if you leave within your first 24 months. This is equivalent to $9 multiplied by the number of months remaining in your first two years of service.
For comparison Optus, which is right behind Telstra in the latest Netflix Speed Index, will charge you $100 per month. Optus plans are sold on a 24-month contract, or month-to-month basis with a $200 setup fee.
Aussie Broadband ranked third, but is one of the cheapest options out of the bunch thanks to its new NBN 100 / 20 plan priced at $89 per month. NBN 100 / 20 plans have slower upload speeds than a typical NBN 100 (or NBN 100 / 40) plan, but are cheaper as a result. An NBN 100 / 20 plan has upload speeds of up 20Mbps, whereas an NBN 100 / 40 plan has upload speeds of up to 40Mbps.
If price is your primary concern, MyRepublic technically has the cheapest NBN 100 plan out of this bunch thanks to timed promo. You'll pay $79.95 per month for the first six months, and then $89.95 per month thereafter. However, this plan does require you to commit to a year-long contract.
NBN 50 plans with unlimited data
When it comes to NBN 50 plans, TPG has one of the cheapest options here at $69.99 per month. TPG may come in at fifth place on the Netflix leaderboard, but it only trails Aussie Broadband by 0.06Mbps. If you’re keen to go with TPG, you’ve got the choice of committing to an 18-month contract or paying $119.95 upfront to avoid getting locked in.
Speed leader Telstra is unsurprisingly the priciest at $90 per month, while most other plan options from providers on the Netflix speed index sit between $70 and $80 per month.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.
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