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 affect just how fast your connection is.
How NBN Speeds Differ with providers
Every ISP resells access to the same core network, but the way in which companies like Telstra and Optus buy capacity from NBN Co means download speeds will vary from one telco to another. This can be especially true during busy periods, like after work when the entire neighbourhood is trying to binge Netflix.
If too many people in your area want to rewatch Community at the same time, you can end up with a digital traffic jam if your provider doesn’t have enough capacity. This can be the case whether you’re subscribed to a high-end NBN 100 plan or even a basic NBN 12 plan.
However, NBN providers disclose the typical speeds you can realistically expect to get during peak hours – not just the NBN speed tier the plan is based on. Unsurprisingly, some do a better job than others.
Fastest NBN plans
To help you pick a provider that consistently delivers the speeds you’re after, we’ve rounded up some of the fastest plans around, based on the most recent evening speed data ISPs have released.
The providers with some of the fastest advertised evening speeds for their NBN 100 plans are as follows:
Superloop continues to lead the pack with typical evening speeds of 90Mbps. Better yet, you’ll only pay $89.95 per month for an unlimited NBN 100 plan. Superloop is also one of the few providers that lets you save a bit of cash by opting for a plan with a fixed cap. Downsizing to a 500GB plan will cut your monthly bill to $79.95 per month.
Telstra reports evening speeds just a tad slower than Superloop – 88Mbps – but the plan is much pricier. You’ll pay $110 per month for an unlimited Big T NBN 100 plan. You can however save $20 per month on your first three months with the telco, for a saving of $60. You also won’t pay a connection fee if you subscribe online.
Only customers on a FTTP or HFC NBN connection can sign up for a Telstra NBN 100 plan; if you’re on any other connection type, you’ll need to look elsewhere for these kinds of speeds.
It’s also worth noting that while Telstra NBN plans are contract-free, 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-year term.
Aussie Broadband plans
Aussie Broadband isn’t far behind with typical evening speeds of 86Mbps. You’ll pay $89 per month for an unlimited NBN 100 plan, or as with Superloop, you can drop down to a 500GB allowance for a small saving. Aussie Broadband’s 500GB NBN 100 plan will set you back $85 per month.
Tangerine has one of the cheapest fast NBN 100 plans available at the moment thanks to a timed discount. You’ll pay $74.90 per month for your first six months, and then $89.90 per month thereafter. The full price is roughly the same as what you’d pay on Superloop and Aussie Broadband, both who report faster evening speeds, however. Tangerine’s plan is contract-free, so you are always able to leave when the discount runs out.
If you’re after a cheaper NBN 100 plan free from promotional pricing, MATE is a solid choice. $79 per month gets you an unlimited NBN 100 plan with typical evening speeds of 83Mbps. You can save further by bundling a MATE mobile plan to your account for a $10 per month discount. MATE mobile plans are powered by the Telstra network and start at $20 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:
iiNet is your best when it comes to a fast NBN 50 plan, reporting typical evening speeds of 46.7Mbps. You’ll pay $74.99 per month for an unlimited NBN 50 plan with iiNet.
Stablemate TPG isn’t far behind, with typical evening speeds of 46Mbps. While there’s barely a difference between the two, opting for TPG will save you $5 per month. However, be aware that if you’re keen to go with TPG, you’ll need to pick between an 18-month contract or paying $129.95 in upfront fees. By contrast, iiNet’s plan is free from contracts and setup fees.
If you’re after something a little cheaper, Vodafone and Internode have promotional pricing available on their NBN 50 plans. After the discount, Internode works out to be $59.99 per month for your first six months. You will however pay $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. Internode only reports typical evening speeds of 42.8Mbps, however, which is somewhat slower than sibling brands TPG and iiNet.
Vodafone’s NBN 50 plan will set you back $65 per month for your first six months, but only rises to $75 per month after your discount expires. You can save extra on Vodafone NBN plans if you bundle in a mobile or tablet plan. For each plan on your account after your first, you’ll get a discount of 5% on your total bill. This can go as high as 20% if you bundle together
NBN 250 plans
Aussie Broadband and Superloop both have almost identical NBN 250 plans, with advertised typical evening speeds of 215Mbps billed at $129 per month. MyRepublic has a cheaper NBN 250 plan starting at $109 per month with advertised typical evening speeds of 150Mbps, or $119 per month for a “gamer grade” plan that includes latency tracking and a static IP.
You’ll only be able to sign-up for an NBN 250 plan if you have a FTTP or HFC NBN connection. At present, only 70% of HFC customers can get NBN 250 speeds, but NBN Co intends to upgrade the network to allow all HFC customers to do so by June 2021.
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. Other factors can still affect the speeds you get at home. These can include the technology you’re using to connect to the NBN, the hardware in your home, and any abnormally high usage in your area.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
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