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 plethora of factors that can affect just how fast your connection is.
How NBN Speeds Differ with providers
Telcos try to give you an idea of how fast their NBN plans are by reporting typical evening speeds. That is, the kind of speeds you can expect during the busiest hours of the day – between 7pm and 11pm. The faster a provider’s evening speeds, the more reliable your connection will be during the times you use it most.
Evening speeds can change, however, and more than a few telcos have recently published new data on how fast their plans are. Some of these changes have been positive. Aussie Broadband recently increased its NBN 100 speeds to 99Mbps. Others not so much. While TPG and iiNet recently reported typical evening speeds of 95Mbps on NBN 100 plans, they both now report 85Mbps.
To help you pick a provider that delivers the speeds you’re after, we’ve rounded up some of the fastest plans around, based on the most recent evening speed data major ISPs have released.
Now it’s worth noting that NBN 1000 is also available in Australia. But it’s not available on the majority of connections. At the present time its only available on FTTP and some HFC connections.
The fastest NBN 250 plans
If you’ve got the need for speed and the right kind of connection, you may want to consider an NBN 250 plan. Aussie Broadband currently reports the highest NBN 250 speeds around, measuring in at 248Mbps during peak hours.
Aussie Broadband’s plans are completely contract-free and are currently $129 per month.
Superloop is up next with typical evening speeds of 240Mbps, and plan pricing of $99.95 per month for your first six months and $119.95 per month thereafter.
Next is Telstra, which has typical evening speeds of 230Mbps, and plan pricing of $125 per month for your first six months and $140 per month thereafter. While Telstra’s plan is contract-free, you’ll pay a prorated modem fee if you leave in your first two years. This is equivalent to $9 multiplied by the number of months left in your term.
In fourth place is Optus‘ Everyday Home Superfast plan, which has typical evening speeds of 215Mbps. This provider is offering an introductory plan of $104 per month for your first six months, and $134 per month thereafter.
Optus’ NBN plans have no start-up fee, and its NBN 250 plan also includes an Ultra WiFi Modem. However, there is an early exit fee. If you leave within your first 36 months, you’ll pay a prorated modem fee of $7 for each month left in your three-year term. You’ll also be up for a $99 setup fee.
One of your cheapest options for NBN 250 comes from MATE, where you’ll pay $99 per month. You can also save a further $10 per month by bundling in a MATE SIM-only mobile plan, powered by the Telstra network. MATE reports typical evening speeds of 208Mbps.
Be aware that you can only get an NBN 250 plan if you have a FTTP or HFC NBN connection. At present, almost every HFC customer should be able to get an NBN 250 plan, and those that can’t should be able to by the end of the month.
The fastest NBN 100 plans
Four NBN providers are now reporting typical evening speeds of 100Mbps of their NBN 100 plans: SpinTel, Superloop, Optus, and Telstra. This means you should never encounter congestion, no matter what the time.
SpinTel is the cheapest out of the bunch, charging $69 per month for your first six months, and $84.95 per month thereafter. Even at full price, that’s one of the cheapest NBN 100 plans around. Superloop follows at $69.95 per month for your first six months, and then $89.95 per month thereafter.
Optus is next at $89 per month for your first six months and $99 per month thereafter. Just be aware that you’ll also have to deal with a modem fee if you leave within your first 36 months. This works out to be $7 per month for each month remaining in your three-year term.
Finally, Telstra is the priciest out of the four, charging $95 per month for your first six months and $110 per month thereafter. The provider is currently waiving its $99 connection free and will also throw in three months of a standard Binge subscription.
While Telstra NBN plans are contract-free, you’ll pay out a prorated modem fee if you bail within your first 24 months. This is equivalent to $9 multiplied by the number of months left in your term.
Aussie Broadband sits in second place with typical evening speeds of 99Mbps, but at just 1Mbps less than the aforementioned providers, it’s unlikely to make any significant difference.
Aussie Broadband charges $99 per month for its NBN 100 plan, but you can get your first month for free with the promo code FASTMONTH. Aussie Broadband NBN plans are contract-free, so you can always leave if you decide it’s not for you.
In third, we’ve got Exetel and iPrimus, who both report typical evening speeds of 95Mbps. iPrimus is the cheaper out of the two at $75 per month for your first six months and $90 per month thereafter. You will have to pay a $70 modem fee, however. On the other hand, Exetel charges $99 per month, but you can currently get your first two months for free.
The fastest NBN 50 plans
Evening speeds barely matter anymore when it comes to NBN 50 plans, with many providers now all reporting 50Mbps during peak hours.
Aussie Broadband is worth a shout out thanks to its first month free promo when you use the code FASTMONTH. You’ll normally pay $79 per month for Aussie’s NBN 50 plan.
Vodafone also charges $80 per month for its NBN 50 plan, but you can save $15 per month if you have a Vodafone postpaid mobile plan.
SpinTel is one of your cheapest options at $54 per month for your first six months, and $64.95 per month thereafter. At full price, that’s cheaper than the vast majority of non-discounted NBN 50 plans.
There’s also Superloop, which is offering a discounted price of $59.95 per month for the firt six months, and then $69.95 per month.
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.