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 plan from any major provider right now, but iiNet has a faster 50 plan.
Best Telstra NBN plans
Telstra now takes top place when it comes to evening speeds, ostensibly advertising congestion-free plans. It reports 100Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 25Mbps on NBN 25 plans. That’s each plan’s maximum potential speed across the board, which just might make Telstra’s premium pricing a little more palatable.
Telstra now also offers 250 and 1000 plans, but its speed guidance for these is a little more conservative. The telco reports 215Mbps during busy periods on 250 plans, and 250Mbps on 1000 plans. These are pretty standard for these speed tiers.
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.
In terms of pure numbers, Superloop is one of the fastest NBN providers around. It reports typical evening speeds of 90Mbps on its 100 plans, which puts it equal second alongside the likes of Optus and SpinTel.
In addition to speed, Superloop stands out because it owns a lot of the infrastructure many other providers typically rent. Every NBN 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 NBN plans are “business class”.
Superloop reports evening speeds of 44.4Mbps on 50 plans and 22.2Mbps on 25 plans.
Superloop is part of the growing club of providers that offers speeds NBN 100. It reports typical evening speeds of 215Mbps on its NBN 250 plan, 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. Other providers offer unlimited NBN 1000 plans, however.
While Optus’ evening speeds used to be a little more middle of the road, it now reports top-tier performance. The telco says customers can expect 90Mbps on NBN 100 plans and 45Mbps on NBN 50 plans.
Optus also recently added NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans to its roster and is reporting the stock standard 215Mbps and 250Mbps typical evening speeds on these, respectively.
SpinTel is another telco that has climbed up the charts of late, reporting significantly higher speeds than it used to across all three tiers.
You’re now looking at 90Mbps on an NBN 100 plan, 45Mbps on an NBN 50 plan, and 21Mbps on a NBN 25 plan. Considering SpinTel tends to be a bit cheaper in the competition, it certainly makes the telco a bit more alluring.
Best Aussie Broadband NBN Plans
Aussie Broadband must be one of the most loved NBN providers, 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 89Mbps on 100 plans, 43Mbps on 50 plans, and 22Mbps on 25 plans. You’ll also find a rather unusual NBN 75 speed tier where Aussie reports typical evening speeds of 66Mbps.
Aussie Broadband is part of the growing group of providers selling plans faster than NBN 100 and currently has the fastest 250 plan around, with typical evening speeds of 222Mbps.
Aussie Broadband isn’t 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 real world usage.
Internode is another solid performer when it comes to NBN 100 and NBN 50 plans, reporting typical evening speeds of 85Mbps and 45Mbps, respectively. It’s NBN 25 plans are a tad slower than they should be for the speed tier, measuring in at 16.4Mbps during peak hours. Ideally, you want a minimum of 20Mbps.
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 second fastest NBN 50 plan of any major provider, reporting typical evening speeds of 46.7Mbps. That’s just shy of Telstra, but a bit more affordable.
It also reports typical evening speeds of 83.6Mbps on 100 plans and 21.3Mbps on 25 plans.
Tangerine is a newish NBN provider, but has 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 100 plans, 42Mbps on 50 plans, and 21Mbps on 25 plans.
MATE is also a solid performer, reporting evening speeds of 83Mbps on 100 plans, 42Mbps on 50 plans, 19Mbps on 25 plans, and 10Mbps on 12 plans.
If you’re looking for an NBN plan 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 NBN plans by bundling them with one of the provider’s SIM-only mobile plans. MATE’s mobile plans start at $20 per month for 5GB and are powered by the Telstra network.
MyRepublic fares well when it comes to evening speeds. Customers can expect typical evening speeds of 83Mbps on 100 plans, and 43Mbps on 50 plans. Stay away from MyRepublic25 plans however, as it only reports peak hour speeds of 15Mbps on those,
MyRepublic also has an NBN 250 plan, and reports typical evening speeds of 150Mbps on it. That’s a bit slower than most other NBN 250 plans, but it’s also cheaper.
iPrimus isn’t the fastest provider around, but it still does alright. It reports typical evening speeds of 82Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 41Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 20Mbps on NBN 25 plans. Not spectacular, but not bad either.
TPG’s evening speeds have fluctuated a bit over time. It once reported evening speeds just shy of 90Mbps on 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 third fastest typical evening speeds from any major provider on 50 plans, measuring in at 46Mbps. That’s just shy of the 46.7Mbps touted by stablemate iiNet.
Customers on TPG NBN 12 plans can expect evening speeds of 11.2Mbps and customers on 25 plans are looking at 22.3Mbps.
Best Vodafone NBN Plans
Vodafone’s evening speeds dropped recently. You can expect typical evening speeds of 80Mbps on 100 plans, 40Mbps on 50 plans, and 20Mbps on 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 plan 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 NBN 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 100 plans, 40Mbps on 50 plans, and 20Mbps on 25 plans.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
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