Over the last 18 months or so, telcos have become a lot more ambitious with typical evening speed claims on their NBN plans. Providers like Telstra, Optus, and SpinTel are now advertising NBN plans with typical evening speeds that match the speed tier. 100Mbps on NBN 100 plans and 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans, for example. This means these plans shouldn’t see any slowdown, no matter what time of day. They’re ostensibly congestion-free.
Before we look at which providers are part of the congestion-free club, and what their plans look like, it is important to note that individual circumstances can prevent you from achieving the typical evening speeds advertised.
Factors like in-home wiring and your equipment can all impact your download speeds, as can abnormally high usage in your area. It’s also worth noting that FTTN connections need to be within 400m of a node to even have a shot of achieving NBN 100 speeds. Unfortunately, some FTTN connections can’t even get full NBN 50 speeds.
Congestion-free NBN 50 plans
Most NBN providers offer NBN 50 plans with typical evening speeds of 50Mbps. That means you should be able to get a congestion-free plan no matter how little you want to spend.
SpinTel is the cheapest option from this lot: you’ll pay $54 per month for your first six months and $64.95 per month thereafter. Even at full price, that’s cheaper than some discounted plans.
Tangerine is a hair more expensive initially at $54.90 per month for your first six months, and $69.90 per month thereafter. In addition to being contract-free, Tangerine plans also have a 14-day risk-free trial period. If you change your mind during the first fortnight with the telco, you can get a complete refund of your plan fees.
Exetel is almost identical in price to Tangerine, but five cents more a month.
Congestion-free NBN 100 plans
If you’re after an NBN 100 plan with typical evening speeds of 100Mbps, you’ve got fewer options to pick from. The five providers currently reporting maximum speeds of the NBN 100 speed tier are SpinTel, Exetel, Pennytel, Optus, and Telstra.
SpinTel has by far the cheapest NBN 100 plan in this elusive category. You’ll pay $69 per month for your first six months and $84.95 per month thereafter. Most other NBN 100 plans tend to cost at least $89 per month when you exclude timed discounts, but you’re always free to leave if you find a better deal.
Exetel is up next at $69.95 per month for your first six months, and $89.95 per month thereafter.
Optus is currently charging $79 per month for your first six months for its NBN 100 plan, and $99 per month thereafter. This offer only runs until June 30. Just note you’ll get hit with a modem fee if you leave within your first three years. The modem fee is equivalent to $7 per month left in your term.
Telstra is a bit more expensive again, where you’ll pay $95 per month for your first six months, and $110 per month thereafter. If you leave in your first two year, you’ll need to send back your modem or pay a $200 non-return fee.
Pennytel will set you back a flat $99 per month. It currently isn’t running any promos.
Congestion-free NBN 250 plans
At present, Telstra is the only provider advertising NBN 250 plans with typical evening speeds of 250Mbps. Its NBN 250 plan will set you back $125 per month for your first six month and $140 per month thereafter.
As with its other NBN plans, the same modem caveats apply: you’ll need to return your modem or pay a $200 non-return fee if you leave in your first two years.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
This article has been updated since it was first published.