This week the ACCC week released its latest Measuring Broadband Australia Report, and there’s a new addition. On top of comparing the speed performance of Australia’s major NBN providers, the latest instalment looks at just how good they are when it comes to streaming Netflix in 4K.
The ACCC measures 4K Netflix now
The ACCC first started looking at video streaming performance back in May 2020, but only focused on HD video. The regulator has now found that all major plan speeds can support up to four simultaneous HD streams. So it has pivoted to testing which NBN providers can reliably stream multiple simultaneous 4K Netflix streams.
This is partially because of improvements Netflix has made to its service. The ACCC says a HD Netflix stream now only requires an average data rate of 2.2Mbps, down from around 6Mbps. A 4K data stream now uses 12Mbps on average, down from 15.6Mbps. But this can vary. For example, a fast-paced action scene may cause this data to spike.
Based on the whiteboxes used to collect data for the report (which measure the total data rate available from Netflix), the ACCC has inferred just how many 4K Netflix streams a service from particular provider can handle for both NBN 50 and NBN 100 during busy hours. These assume that Netflix is the only application being used at the time.
While factors can vary, we can also assume that the better a provider handles Netflix streams during peak hours, the better it’s overall performance will be. After all, most of us generally watching four simultaneous 4K Netflix streams.
The report covers 11 major providers: Aussie Broadband, Dodo, Exetel, iiNet, iPrimus, MyRepublic, Optus, Superloop, Telstra, TPG, and Vodafone. However, due to low sample sizes, not every provider is rated for streaming performance in each category.
Here’s how they all went with their NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans.
The best NBN 50 plans and providers for streaming 4K Netflix
|2 streams||3 streams||4 streams|
The results for NBN 50 streams are a mixed bag.
The majority of providers could easily ensure that 100 per cent of their customers can run two simultaneous 4K streams during peak hour. The only key exceptions were Aussie Broadband, iiNet and TPG — but these providers were still arguably close enough with percentage between 96.8 and 98.5.
When it came to three simultaneous streams, 100 per cent of Dodo, iPrimus, Telstra, TPG, and Vodafone services were able to cope during busy hours. But other providers saw a significant performance drop off. MyRepublic fared the worst, with only 66.7% of its services being able to support three 4K streams.
Four simultaneous 4K streams was naturally more challenging for NBN 50 plans, with Optus and Telstra fairing the best at 95.5 and 89.7 per cent.
TPG came in third with 72.3 per cent of services supporting four streams, followed by Aussie Broadband at 69 per cent. We’d usually say that’s ‘nice’, but it really isn’t in this context.
Unfortunately, other providers fared far worse. Zero per cent of Dodo and iPrimus NBN 50 services had enough bandwidth to support four simultaneous 4K streams during peak hours.
It’s also worth noting that this data excludes underperforming and impaired services, as well as those with a low sample size. And the results themselves are merely indicative. Dodo, iPrimus, MyRepublic, and Vodafone data was based on only 26 – 27 whiteboxes per service.
Still, Aussie Broadband, iiNet, Optus, Telstra, and TPG have come out on top regarding Netflix streaming on NBN 50 plans.
Okay but how much do they cost and what do I get?
Aussie Broadband has the cheapest out of these thanks to a new promo. You’ll pay $69 per month for your first six months, and $79 per month thereafter. You’ll need to use the promo code SAVE10MONTH to get this one. The plan is contract-free, so you can always leave after the discount runs out.
TPG is up next with a $69.99 per month plan. You’ll need to sign a six-month contract for this one, but you’ll get a modem included. iiNet follows at $74.99 per month with a no-contract plan.
Optus is a hair more expensive at $75 per month for its NBN 50 offering. Just be aware you’ll also need to pay a $99 setup fee. And if you leave within your first 36 months, you’ll also pay a modem fee. This is equivalent to $7 multiplied by the number of months left in your three-year term.
The plan also includes 4G backup and an Optus Sport subscription.
Telstra is the most expensive at $90 per month. While the plan is contract-free, you’ll be hit with a modem fee if you bail within your first 24 months. This is equivalent to $9 multiplied by the number of months left in your two-year term. While the plan also includes 4G backup and a three-month free subscription to Binge.
The best NBN 100 plans and providers for streaming 4K Netflix
|2 streams||3 streams||4 streams|
When you move to the NBN 100 speed tier, the majority of providers didn’t have any issue reliably streaming four simultaneous 4K Netflix streams during peak hours.
Vodafone is the only exception, and the only provider to fall under 100 per cent for the number of services able to reliably view two or three simultaneous 4K streams. However, Vodafone’s sample size was only based on 27 whiteboxes, so the ACCC says this data should only be taken as indicative.
The data excludes underperforming and impaired services, as well as those with a low sample size.
Here are the NBN 100 plans available from these providers:
Again, how much do they cost and what do I get?
Superloop is your cheapest option here at $74.95 per month for your first six months and $89.95 per month thereafter. If you’re lucky enough to have an FTTP or HFC NBN connection, Superloop will also bump you up to NBN 250 at no extra cost for your first three months. The plan is contract-free, so you can leave whenever.
TPG has the second cheapest plan here, thanks to a promotional discount. You’ll pay $79.99 per month for your first six months, and $89.99 per month thereafter.
That’s pretty much the same price as Superloop once your discount expires. However, you will have to commit to a six-month contract that ends alongside your discount. TPG will also include a modem with the plan.
All Telstra and Optus NBN 100 services were also able to achieve four simultaneous 4K Netflix streams, but unsurprisingly, they’re the most expensive providers outside of the bunch.
You’ll pay $90 per month for a Telstra NBN 100 plan and $110 per month thereafter. Just be aware that you will pay a modem fee if you leave within your first 24 months. This is equivalent to $9 multiplied by the number of months left in your two-year term.
While the plan is more expensive, it also includes 4G backup and a three-month free subscription to Binge.
Optus’ NBN 100 plan will set you back $95 per month. You’ll pay a $99 setup fee, and if you leave within your first 36 months, you’ll pay a modem fee. This is equivalent to $7 multiplied by the number of months left in your three-year term. The plan also includes 4G backup and an Optus Sport subscription.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.