You may not have noticed it, the information can be hard to find, but more NBN RSPs now publish average evening speed data on their websites, so we can finally see the difference in performance between the cheap plans and the expensive ones.
The pattern that's emerging is that both the budget and premium providers report average speeds of about 80-percent of the maximum for each speed tier. So, 80Mbps for NBN Premium services, 40Mbps for Standard Plus, and so on. The performance-focused outliers, like Aussie Broadband and MATE, regularly deliver speeds of about 90-percent of the tier maximum.
So if a Telstra NBN plan is likely to offer the same speed as a cheaper provider like TPG or Dodo, then it’s time to check out the plans and save some money.
Cheapest NBN Standard Plus Plans
The 50Mbps NBN speed tier is the fastest growing, according to NBN, as it's arguable the best value for money. You'll pay about $10 more compared with a comparable NBN Basic (12Mbps) plan, and you get speeds at least four-times faster.
Exetel has the cheapest option for $50 per month with 100GB, but if you need more data you can jump up to 500GB for $54.95 or unlimited data for $59.95. You'll also avoid costly setup fees.
MyRepublic also offers a low setup fee option, charging just $1 on a 12-month contract. There also a 10-percent discount going at the moment, and the plan includes a VoiP phone service which is something you usually miss out on with plans at this end of the pricing spectrum.
Cheapest NBN Premium Plans
The step up to Premium speed NBN will add another $10 to your monthly bill, at least, but it's still an affordable option if you choose the right provider. It can also be a costly add-on if you choose the wrong one.
Click Broadband is the cheapest option with unlimited data, thanks to a current promotion that discounts the monthly fee for the first six-months.
Vodafone is also a good option here, with a 30-day service guarantee, a modem with 4G data backup, and a $10 per month discount for Vodafone post-paid mobile customers. Even just on price alone, Vodafone isn't too far off the pace.
The cheapest of the cheap NBN plans
If you're looking for the bottom of the NBN bargain bin, you can find plans for as little as $30 per month, but as you can see, you don't get a lot for your money. It would be a very specific type of user who could make use of an NBN Basic with just 10GB per month. In fact, we'd only recommend this plan to someone who needs a VoiP phone line and doesn't plan to use the internet at all.
If anything, a glance at this table reinforces how you might as well step up to NBN Standard Plus speeds, even if you are looking to save money.
Joe Hanlon is Publisher at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website. He’s been writing about phones and plans for far too long.
As Lifehacker editors we write about stuff we like and think you'll like too. Lifehacker often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.