There’s more than one way to get an idea of how fast an NBN plan is. Providers self-report typical evening speeds, the ACCC publishes a quarterly report, or you could listen to what Netflix says.
Up until the pandemic hit, Netflix used to publish a monthly speed index that compared the prime-time streaming performance across many of Australia’s largest internet providers. The streaming service stopped issuing updates for the majority of last year amid increased usage and capped quality, but the speed index is finally back.
Netflix this month issued its first update since February 2020, looking at how streaming services stood up in December.
Instead of measuring overall internet speeds, the speed index keeps track of how telcos perform when everyone is beaming content into their eyeballs during busiest hours of the day. A typical HD Netflix stream maxes out at 5Mbps, so the close a provider comes to hitting 5Mbps, the better its performance. And if a provider does a good job of being able to stream Netflix during busy hours, there’s a pretty good chance it will hold up well for more general tasks too.
Netflix has also taken a bit of a different approach to the speed index. Rather than ranking individual providers, it has now provided three tiers. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll call them gold, silver, and bronze.
The gold tier consists of NBN providers that hit streaming speeds of 3.8Mbp: Telstra, Optus, and Aussie Broadband. Silver NBN providers hit 3.6Mbps, and includes Dodo, iPrimus, Exetel, iiNet, TPG, and Vodafone. Lastly, the bronze tier has just MyRepublic, which hit 3.4Mbps.
Here’s a look at how plans compare across these tiers:
Best NBN 100 plans with unlimited data
When it comes to NBN 100 plans in Netflix’s gold tier, Optus is your cheapest option thanks to a $10 per month discount on your first year. You’ll pay $89 per month for you first 12 months, and $99 per month thereafter. Just be aware that if you leave within you first three years, you’ll pay out a prorated modem fee. This is equivalent to $7 multiplied by the number of months left in your term.
Telstra has a promo of its own, offering a $10 per month discount on your first six months. This means you’re looking at $100 per month initially, and then $110 per month thereafter. Telstra’s plan is contract-free, but once again, be aware of the modem fee payout if you leave in your first two years. It’s equivalent $9 multiplied by the number of months remaining in your 24-month term.
Aussie Broadband’s NBN 100 plan is a flat $99 per month and is completely contract-free.
The second fastest NBN 100 plans according to Netflix
When it comes to NBN 100 plans from this group of telcos, TPG is your cheapest option thanks to a $10 per month discount on your first six months. You’ll pay $79.99 per month initially, and $89.99 per month thereafter. You’ll have to sign a six-month contract, but you’re still able to leave as soon as your discount expires.
Sibling telco iiNet also has its own discount going, which brings its $99.99 per month plan down to $89.99 per month for your first year. The plan is entirely contract-free, so you can just bounce whenever.
The third fastest NBN 100 plans according to Netflix
When it comes to NBN 100 plans, MyRepublic normally charges $89 per month, but you can get your first three months for $75. The plan is contract-free, so you can always leave after the discount runs out.
Best NBN 50 plans with unlimited data
Aussie Broadband, Optus, and Telstra took top spot on the Netflix speed index. Unsurprisingly, they’re also a little on the pricier side. Optus NBN is the most affordable out of the bunch when it comes to NBN 50 plans, billed at $75 per month, but will need to pay a $99 connection fee. Aussie Broadband follows at $79 per month.
Telstra is offering a $10 per month discount on its NBN 50 plans, which brings it down to $80 per month for your first six months and $90 per month thereafter.
While these are all contract-free, be aware that you’ll need to pay out your modem if you leave “early” on Telstra and Optus. If you leave within your first two years with Telstra you’ll pay out $9 multiplied by the number of months remaining in your 24-month term.
If you leave within your first three years with Optus, you’re looking at $7 multiplied by the number of the months left in your 36-month term.
The second fastest NBN 50 plans according to Netflix
Dodo, iPrimus, Exetel, iiNet, TPG, and Vodafone all came equal second in the latest Netflix speed index.
Dodo is the cheapest out of the bunch thanks to a promo. You’ll pay $59 per month for your first six months and then $70 per month thereafter. You’ll need to pay a $120 upfront modem fee, however.
TPG is also a good choice at $69.99 per month for an NBN 50 plan. You do need to sign a six-month contract to get this one, which is pretty reasonable as far as contract lengths go.
If you’d prefer to avoid contracts, iiNet bills its NBN 50 plan at $74.99 per month.
The third fastest NBN 50 plans according to Netflix
MyRepublic was the sole telco in Netflix’s bronze tier. If you’re considering a MyRepublic NBN 50 plan, you’re looking at $69 per month.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.