Not all internet providers are equal – especially when it comes to the NBN. Buying a fast NBN plan should be simple, but there are a whole lot of factors that will affect just how fast your connection is.
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 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.
If your entire neighbourhood wants to stream The Witcher at once and there’s not enough bandwidth to go around, you end up with a digital traffic jam. Even if you’re paying for a plan configured on the fastest NBN speed tier.
However, NBN providers now also disclose the typical speeds you can realistically expect to get during peak 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 to find some of the fastest NBN 100 plans and NBN 50 plans around, based on the most recent evening speed data NBN ISPs have made public.
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
- Telstra: Typical evening speeds of 85Mbps
- iiNet: Typical evening speeds of 83.3Mbps
- Vodafone: Typical evening speeds of 83Mbps
- Kogan: Typical evening speeds of 83Mbps
- MyRepublic: Typical evening speed of 83Mbps
- Tangerine: Typical evening speeds of 83Mbps
- Mate: Typical evening speeds of 83Mbps
- 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:
Superloop advertises some of the fastest evening speeds around right now, and thanks to its new NBN 100 / 20 plans, it can also boast excellent value. $89.95 per month gets you an unlimited data plan with typical evening speeds of 90Mbps.
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.
Aussie Broadband also has its own NBN 100 / 20 plan, priced at $89 per month with reported evening speeds of 86Mbps.
Telstra’s reported evening speeds are just a smidge slower than Aussie’s, but its plan is a whole lot more expensive. 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 first need to sign up for a Telstra NBN 50 plan, and then purchase a $30 per month speed boost once Telstra has checked if your physical connection is fast enough.
While Telstra’s NBN plans are contract-free, be aware that you’ll need to pay out a pro-rata 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.
Tangerine has one of the cheapest fast NBN 100 plans right now thanks to a limited-time promotion. You’ll pay $79.90 per month for your first six months, and then $89.90 per month thereafter. And since Tangerine’s plan is contract-free, you can leave whenever you want.
And if you’d prefer a plan not subject to promotional discounts, Kogan Internet is offering an unlimited NBN 100 plan with typical evening speeds of 83Mbps for $85.90 per month.
If you’re after something cheaper, the providers with some of the fastest advertised evening speeds for their NBN 50 plans are as follows:
- Kogan: Typical evening speed of 45Mbps
- Vodafone: 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 43Mbps
- Optus: Typical evening speeds of 40Mbps
And here’s what you’ll pay for an unlimited data NBN 50 plan from these providers:
When it comes to NBN 50 plans, the difference between evening speeds across providers is a lot smaller. Plenty of providers now report speeds between 43Mbps and 45Mbps.
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. Kogan Internet reports typical evening speeds of 45Mbps, which also makes it one of the fastest providers around for NBN 50 plans.
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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