No one wants slow internet, but getting a fast connection isn’t always straightforward. Differences in technology and location can greatly limit your options sometimes. At the same time, we’re all after the best deal – or in some cases, the least worst – so whether you're currently getting online through the NBN, ADSL, or mobile broadband, we’ve picked out some plans worth taking a look at.
The fastest NBN plans
Thanks to the ACCC, NBN providers are now revealing the speeds you can reasonably expect to get if you sign up with them, not just the speed tier you're connecting on. Some providers are merely publishing the minimum spec as laid out by the ACCC, while others are giving out seemingly accurate speed data for each tier.
To help you find an NBN plan that's actually fast - all of the time - we've put together a list of the fastest NBN 100 and NBN 50 plans based on the evening speeds providers have disclosed. If you want to avoid 7pm slowdown, these plans are a great place to start.
The NBN providers with the fastest advertised typical evening speeds for NBN 100 plans are:
- Telstra: Typical evening speed of 92.27Mbps
- Aussie Broadband: Typical evening speed of 90Mbps
- Exetel: Typical evening speed of 83Mbps
- iiNet: Typical evening speed of 80.4Mbps
- Optus: Typical evening speed of 80.4Mbps
- Southern Phone: Typical evening speed of 80Mbps
- TPG: Typical evening speed of 78.8Mbps
- Internode: Typical evening speed of 77.1Mbps
And here's the pricing for their unlimited plans:
Telstra doesn't technically sell NBN 100 plans, so its plan is in a separate table. If you want NBN 100 speeds with Big T, you'll want to sign up for an NBN 50 plan an pay an extra $30 per month for a speed boost.
The NBN providers with the fastest advertised typical evening speeds for NBN 50 plans are:
- Dodo: Typical evening speed of 47Mbps
- Telstra: Typical evening speed of 46.29Mbps
- Southern Phone: Typical evening speed of 46Mbps
- Optus: Typical evening speed of 45.4Mbps
- Aussie Broadband: Typical evening speed of 45Mbps
- iiNet: Typical evening speed of 44.5Mbps
- TPG: Typical evening speed of 44.5Mbps
- Internode: Typical evening speed of 44.1Mbps
And here's their pricing for unlimited plans:
The fastest ADSL plans
Unfortunately, there's really no such thing as universally fast ADSL. Your ADSL speeds are determined by your distance from your local exchange, rather than your provider. If you're with a kilometre of your exchange, you can potentially get speeds as fast as 20Mbps, depending on the condition of your copper, but this degrades the further you get.
The good news is most of us still on ADSL should have NBN within the next two years. If you're itching to change provider now, you can always switch to an ISP currently offering high NBN speeds and then stick with them when NBN comes to your area.
This table shows unlimited data ADSL plans from providers promising the fastest NBN speeds:
The fastest Mobile Broadband plans
If you're after a speedy mobile broadband connection, you'll want to avoid fixed home wireless plans. These are also powered by 4G, are sometimes also referred to as mobile broadband, and tend to have larger data allowances than a standard mobile broadband plan, but are limited to 12Mbps.
12Mbps might be faster than some ADSL connections, but it's not great when you consider metro 4G connections can typically get speeds above 50Mbps. Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone all like to argue over who has the fastest network, but your actual 4G speeds will be determined by coverage in your location. If you're happy with the speeds you're getting on your current mobile network, the same provider could be a safe bet when it comes to mobile broadband.
The below table has 4G mobile broadband plans with at least 80GB from Telstra, Optus, Vodafone, and a couple of smaller providers. If you've got good Optus coverage and are happy to sign a 12-month contract, their $60 per month 200GB deal is a doozy.
Alex Choros is Associate Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website. He's now had far too many phone plan related dreams.