The NBN is a complex beast. Buying a fast plan should be simple, but there are so many variables that can affect the speeds you actually get. Fortunately, there are some very fast options out there - if you know where to look.
Every ISP is technically reselling access to the same network, but the way in which providers like Telstra and Optus buy capacity from NBN Co means there can be variance in the speeds you’ll get from one provider to another. This is especially true during busy periods, like at night when everyone is trying to binge Netflix at the same time.
If your entire neighbourhood wants to stream the new season of Stranger Things 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 the plan is based on.
To help you find an NBN plan that consistently delivers the speeds you’re paying for, we've done the leg-work and put together a list of the fastest NBN 100 and NBN 50 plans, based on the evening speeds providers have disclosed.
Fastest NBN 100 plans
The providers with some of fastest advertised evening speeds for their NBN 100 plans are as follows:
- Telstra: Typical evening speed of 91.57Mbps
- TPG: Typical evening speeds of 88.1Mbps
- Optus: Typical evening speed of 87.9Mbps
- Aussie Broadband: Typical evening speed of 86Mbps
- Vodafone: Typical evening speed of 83Mbps
- Kogan: Typical evening speed of 83Mbps
- Exetel: Typical evening speed of 83Mbps
- MyRepublic: Typical evening speed of 83Mbps
- Tangerine: Typical evening speeds of 83Mbps
And here's what you’ll pay for an unlimited data NBN 100 plan from one of these providers:
Telstra doesn't have an NBN 100 plan in its standard range, so we’ve included a separate table with its NBN 50 option instead. To get NBN 100 speeds on Telstra, you’ll need to sign-up for an NBN 50 plan and bolt on a speed boost for an extra $30 per month.
Vodafone is currently your cheapest option for high evening speed NBN 100 plans. If you sign up before July 31, you can get a Vodafone NBN 100 plan with unlimited data for just $69 per month for your first six months. That’s one of the cheapest NBN 100 plans around right now, but you will pay $89 per month thereafter.
While this Vodafone plan is technically contract-free, you’ll need to pay out the remainder of a modem fee if you leave within your first three years. This is equivalent to $5 multiplied by the number of months you’ve got left in that three-year period.
Kogan, Tangerine, and MyRepublic are all also running discounts on their NBN 100 plans. You’ll pay:
- $75.90 per month on Kogan for the first nine months, and $85.90 per month thereafter.
- $79.90 per month on Tangerine for the first six months, and $89.90 per month thereafter.
- $79.95 per month on MyRepublic for the first year, and $89.95 per month thereafter.
All of these plans are genuinely contract free, so you can leave whenever you want without being slugged with fees.
In terms of bang-for-buck, TPG offers some of the best advertised evening speeds around on NBN 100 plans but is about $30 per month cheaper than Telstra. If you’re after this plan, you’ve got the choice of committing to an 18-month contract or paying a $99.95 setup fee.
Fastest NBN 50 plans
The NBN providers with some of the fastest advertised evening speeds for their NBN 50 plans are as follows:
- Telstra: Typical evening speed of 46.30Mbps
- Optus: Typical evening speed of 45.7Mbps
- Vodafone: Typical evening speed of 45Mbps
- Kogan: Typical evening speed of 45Mbps
- Internode: Typical evening speed of 44.4Mbps
- Aussie Broadband: Typical evening speed of 43Mbps
- Exetel: Typical evening speed of 43Mbps
And here's what you’ll pay for an unlimited data NBN 50 plan from one of these providers:
Exetel is presently the cheapest option for an NBN 50 plan with fast evening speeds. You’ll pay $59.99 per month for a plan with unlimited data, but will need to sign a 12-month contract. Alternatively, you can pay $10 per month to get the same plan with no-contract.
If you’d prefer a different contract-free option, Kogan has a $65.90 per month NBN 50 offer with no contract and no setup fees. If you stay for a full month, you’ll get your modem free.
As always, it's important to note that "typical evening speeds" disclosed by NBN providers are just an indication of the speeds you can reasonably expect during peak hours. There are plenty of other factors that could affect the speeds you get. These include the technology you're using to connect to the NBN, the hardware in your home, and abnormally high usage in your area.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.