When it comes to the NBN, we know that plans and providers are not all equal. Despite standard speed tiers, in-home performance can vary a lot, especially during the evening peak times.
Every ISP is technically reselling access to the same network, but the way in which providers like Telstra and TPG buy capacity from NBN Co means there can be variance in the speeds you’ll get from one provider to another. This is most noticeable during busy periods, like at night when everyone is trying to binge Netflix at the same time.
If your entire neighbourhood wants to binge the new season of Queer Eye and there’s not enough bandwidth to go around, you end up with a digital traffic jam. Even if you’re paying for what may seem like the fastest NBN plan around.
Thanks to the ACCC, NBN providers are revealing what kind of speeds you can realistically expect to get during busy hours - not just the NBN speed tier your plan is based on. The good news is that some are doing a great job of delivering the speeds that their customers are paying for, and we'd like to call them out.
TPG's fastest NBN plans
TPG has managed to take the lead when it comes to peak hour NBN performance, claiming evening speeds of 88.1Mbps on NBN 100 plans. As it stands, that's the fastest speed any provider is disclosing right now. In addition, the ACCC has named TPG the fastest NBN provider in its Measuring Broadband report for four quarters in a row.
TPG also reports evening speeds of 42.6Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 11Mbps on NBN 12 plans.
Aussie Broadband's fastest NBN plans
If you're not familiar with Aussie Broadband, now is the time to check it out. Aussie Broadband is one of the few NBN providers that really seems to pride itself on doing a great job. This includes not offering NBN 12 plans, which we all know are the curse of Australian internet.
Aussie Broadband says its customers rarely encounter congestion - even during peak times - and to prove it, published bandwidth graphs that show how much capacity it has purchased on the network versus how much capacity its customers are using. Aussie Broadband is the only major telco to provide this much transparency around its NBN performance to date.
Aussie Broadband reports evening speeds of 86Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 43Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 22Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
Vodafone's fastest NBN plans
Vodafone is new to the NBN game, but already seems to be doing a great job at delivering on speed. The standout is its NBN 50 plan, for which the company reports typical evening speeds of 45Mbps. That's pretty much the fastest evening speed for an NBN 50 plan.
In addition, Vodafone says NBN 100 customers will get evening speeds of 83Mbps, and NBN 25 customers will get evening speeds of 23Mbps.
If you're an existing Vodafone mobile customer, you can save between 5% and 20% on a Vodafone NBN plan by bundling it with your existing service.
Tangerine Telecom's fastest NBN plans
Tangerine Telecom is a young NBN provider that's been making waves lately thanks to strong promotional offers and a 14-day risk free trial on its plans. Better yet, the company reports pretty decent evening speeds: 83Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 42Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 21Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
MyRepublic's fastest NBN plans
MyRepublic only sells NBN 100 plans right now, and they're not bad at all. The telco says customers experience typical evening speeds of 83Mbps.
Exetel's fastest NBN plans
Like Vodafone, Tangerine, and MyRepublic, Exetel reports its NBN 100 plans have a typical evening speed of 83Mbps. NBN 50 evening speeds are also pretty similar, coming in at 43Mbps.
Telstra's fastest NBN plans
Telstra reports fairly standard typical evening speeds - 80Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 40Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 20Mbps on NBN 25 plans - but that's not all there is to the Big T NBN story. In addition to typical speeds, Telstra also provides average evening speeds, based on the performance of 90% of its NBN customers.
While Telstra hasn't provided new measurements for a while, in April it said its NBN 100 customers were getting average evening speeds of 91.57Mbps, NBN 50 customers were getting 46.3Mbps, and NBN 25 customers were getting 23.44Mbps. These average speeds put Telstra ahead of the competition, which you'd hope to be the case given the company's premium pricing.
Telstra's average speed reports exclude Fixed Wireless NBN customers, and all fixed line customers with a limited maximum line speed thanks to shitty copper.
Optus' fastest NBN plans
Much like Telstra, Optus' evening speeds seem pretty no frills at first: 80Mbps on NBN 100 plans, and 40Mbps on NBN 50 plans. But just like Big T, Optus also provides average peak evening speed information too.
Optus' latest numbers come from June, claiming that NBN 100 customers were getting average evening speeds of 87.8Mbps and NBN 50 customers were getting 46.2Mbps. These speeds are calculated over a two-week period based on the experiences of a "representative" group of customers.
As with Telstra, these average speeds put Optus pretty close to the front of the pack, at least when compared to the typical speeds reported by the rest of the industry.
iiNet's fastest NBN plans
TPG stablemate iiNet's evening speeds aren't quite as fast on top NBN speed tiers, but they're still more than respectable across the board. iiNet reports evening speeds of 77.4Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 42.6Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 10.3Mbps on NBN 12 plans.
Internode's fastest NBN plans
Trusty old Internode. For the longest time, the name Internode has been synonymous with quality internet, and its average NBN evening speeds confirm that it is still an internet provider worthy of a closer look.
Internode reports the industry's second best NBN 50 evening speeds, coming in at 44.4Mbps. However, its NBN 100 evening speeds aren't quite up to scratch, coming in at 75.1Mbps.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.
Note: This article has been completely rewritten to reflect the most recent NBN plans.
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