It’s easy to think every NBN plan and provider is equal, given they’re selling access to the same network. But despite standard speed tiers, performance varies from provider to provider, especially during peak hour.
Best NBN plans: not all speeds are equal
While we’re all connecting to the same NBN, the way providers buy capacity on the network means speeds can and will vary from Telstra to TPG, for example. This is most noticeable during busy periods, such as when everyone is trying to binge Netflix at the same time. If everyone is trying to rewatch Community, you can end up with a digital traffic jam.
Thanks to the ACCC, ISPs have been revealing what kind of speeds you can realistically expect to get during busy hours – not just the speed tier your plan is based on. Fortunately, there are a whole stack of providers that do an excellent job of consistently delivering the speeds their customers pay for.
We’re going through providers in order of fastest evening speeds for NBN 100 plans, but in some cases, a provider may not be best in class for all speed tiers. Superloop for example, has the fastest NBN 100 plan from any major provider right now, but iiNet has a faster NBN 50 plan.
In terms of pure numbers, Superloop is one of the fastest providers around. It reports typical evening speeds of 90Mbps on its NBN 100 plans, outpacing every other major telco including Telstra and Aussie Broadband.
In addition to speed, Superloop stands out because it owns a lot of the infrastructure many other providers typically rent. Every provider sells access to the same network, but that network only connects you to your provider.
After that, your provider is responsible for connecting to you the rest of the internet. This is referred to as “backhaul”. Superloop owns its own backhaul, and as such, says even its home plans are “business class”.
Superloop reports evening speeds of 44.4Mbps on NBN 50 and 22.2Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
Superloop is also one of the few providers that has plans with speeds faster than NBN 100. It reports typical evening speeds of 215Mbps on its NBN 250, and 250Mbps on its NBN 1000 plan. It’s worth noting that Superloop’s NBN 1000 plan has a 3TB allowance – if you manage to go over that limit, you’ll be capped to speeds of 100Mbps.
NBN 250 plans are only available to FTTP customers and 70% of HFC customers. NBN 100 plans are only available to FTTP customers, and 7% of HFC customers. NBN Co hopes that all HFC customers will be able to sign-up for an NBN 250 plan by June 2021.
Best NBN Plans from Telstra
Telstra is just shy of top place when it comes to evening speeds, which you’d hope would be the case given its premium pricing. In addition to having some of the fastest NBN plans around, Telstra has the most expensive.
Telstra reports 88Mbps on NBN 100, 44Mbps on NBN 50, and 20Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
In addition to typical evening speeds, Telstra also provides monthly average evening speed reports, based on the real-world performance that 90% of its NBN customers experience.
Big T’s most recent speed report comes from May, where it says customers were getting average evening speeds of 93.23Mbps, NBN 50 customers were getting 46.78Mbps, and NBN 25 customers were getting 23.38Mbps.
However, these speed reports exclude Fixed Wireless customers, and all fixed line customers who have a line speed slower than the speed their plan is capable of.
While May was a while ago, Telstra’s own average evening speed report has consistently shown speeds that hover between 92Mbps and 93Mbps for the entirety of this year.
It’s worth noting that Telstra NBN 100 plans are only available to customers with a FTTP or HFC NBN connection. All other technology types are restricted to NBN 50 speeds as a maximum.
Aussie Broadband must be one of the most loved providers in Australia, and it’s easy to understand why. The telco seems to pride itself on ensuring customers don’t encounter congestion, and backs this up with bandwidth graphs showing how much capacity it has on the NBN versus how much is being used.
Aussie Broadband reports evening speeds of 86Mbps on NBN 100, 43Mbps on NBN 50, and 22Mbps on NBN 25 plans. You’ll also find a rather unusual NBN 75 speed tier where Aussie reports typical evening speeds of 65Mbps.
Aussie Broadband is part of the small set of providers selling plans faster than NBN 100 and says should expect typical evening speeds of 215Mbps on NBN 250 plans.
Aussie Broadband currently doesn’t disclose typical evening speeds for its NBN 1000 but has previously suggested typical evening speeds of 250Mbps. It hopes to provide a more accurate measurement after it has collected enough data from network testing.
Once again, you’ll need to have FTTP or have lucked out with HFC to get a plan with speeds faster than NBN 100.
As of late, iiNet has managed to lift its evening speed game lately and jump a few spots in the speed list. In fact, iiNet now has the fastest NBN 50 plan of any major provider, reporting typical evening speeds of 46.7Mbps.
It also reports typical evening speeds of 83.6Mbps on NBN 100 plans and 20.4Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
Tangerine is a newish NBN provider, but it’s already racked up over 40,000 subscribers. This is partially thanks to heavily discounted pricing during your first six months, and a 14-day risk free trial on plans.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that Tangerine does a solid job when it comes to evening speeds. The telco reports 83Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 42Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 21Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
MATE is also a solid performer, reporting evening speeds of 83Mbps on NBN 100, 42Mbps on NBN 50, 19Mbps on NBN 25, and 10Mbps on NBN 12 plans.
If you’re looking for something that’s free from promotional discounts, MATE tends to be one of the cheapest providers around. In addition, you can save $10 per month on any MATE plans by bundling them with one of the provider’s SIM-only mobile plans. MATE’s mobile offerings start at $20 per month for 5GB and are powered by the Telstra network.
MyRepublic fares fairly well when it comes to evening speeds. Customers can expect typical evening speeds of 83Mbps on NBN 100, and 43Mbps on NBN 50 plans. Stay away from MyRepublic NBN 25, however, as the telco only reports peak hour speeds of 15Mbps on those, while most other providers report around 20Mbps.
In addition, MyRepublic recently introduced a NBN 250 plan, and reports typical evening speeds of 150Mbps on it.
iPrimus isn’t the fastest provider around, but it’s also far from the slowest. It reports typical evening speeds of 82Mbps on NBN 100, 41Mbps on NBN 50, and 20Mbps on NBN 25 plans. Not spectacular, but not bad either.
Is it is however worth noting that iPrimus will only sell its NBN 100 plan to customers with an FTTP, HFC, or FTTC connection.
TPG’s evening speeds fluctuate a lot. It once reported evening speeds just shy of 90Mbps on NBN 100 plans, which dropped to a little under 80Mbps. It then shot up to 85Mbps and is now back to 80.1Mbps. What a rollercoaster. If you’re after consistent NBN 100 performance, TPG may not be your best bet.
TPG does however report the second fastest typical evening speeds from any major provider on NBN 50 plans, measuring in at 46Mbps. That’s just shy of the 46.7Mbps touted by stablemate iiNet.
Customers on TPG NBN 12 can expect evening speeds of 10.9Mbps.
Optus evening speeds may seem underwhelming; the telco only reports 80Mbps on NBN 100 and 44Mbps on NBN 50 plans. However, like Telstra, Optus provides further information on peak hour performance from real world speed tests.
Optus’ latest results come from June and suggest NBN 100 customers were getting speeds of 93.5Mbps and NBN 50 customers were getting 47Mbps. These speeds were calculated over a two-week period based on the experiences of a “representative” group of customers. As with Telstra, these speeds exclude Fixed Wireless customers and underperforming connections.
If you were to take these results as gospel, Optus would be the fastest provider around for both NBN 100 and NBN 50 plans.
Optus is the latest telco to add NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans to its roster and is reporting the stock standard 215Mbps and 250Mbps typical evening speeds on these, respectively.
Vodafone’s evening speeds have also dropped a little lately. You can expect typical evening speeds of 80Mbps on NBN 100, 40Mbps on NBN 50, and 20Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
Vodafone’s NBN plans are a little on the pricier side, but you can earn a discount by bundling one with other Vodafone services. Vodafone will add a 5% discount to your entire monthly bill for every extra one you have after your first, up to a maximum of 20%. That’s significant if you’ve got the whole family on Vodafone.
Kogan Internet is quite literally Vodafone by another name. You don’t get the option for a modem with 4G backup and won’t get a discount for bundling, but you’ll get a slightly cheaper plan.
Unsurprisingly, Kogan reports identical speeds to Vodafone. 80Mbps on NBN 100, 40Mbps on NBN 50, and 20Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
As Gizmodo editors we write about stuff we like and think you'll like too. Gizmodo often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.