When it comes to the NBN, we know that plans and providers are not all equal. Despite standard speed tiers, performance can vary a lot, especially during the evening peak times.
Note: This article has been completely rewritten to reflect the most recent NBN plans.
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 discrepancies 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 BoJack and your provider doesn’t have enough bandwidth, you end up with a digital traffic jam. Even if you’re paying for what you think is a fast NBN plan.
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 there are now plenty of providers who do a great job of delivering the speeds that their customers are paying for, and we'd like to call them out.
Superloop is one of the newest NBN providers on the block, but is already making waves thanks to its high-speed plans. The telco reports evening speeds of 90Mbps on its NBN 100 plans, making it one of the fastest providers around.
While it’s easy to think of Superloop as just another NBN provider, it stands out from the crowd thanks to its own robust infrastructure. It’s one of the few telcos with a physical connection to every NBN Point of Interconnect, and it has a whole lot of subsea cable capacity and domestic fibre. Other providers often need to outsource this. Essentially, Superloop has far greater control over its network than most providers, which helps with faster speeds as well as troubleshooting.
In addition, Superloop reports evening speeds of 44.4Mbps on NBN 50 plans, which is also up there with the best of the best.
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.
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 reports evening speeds of 86Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 43Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 22Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
Telstra comes in on the higher side of the evening speed spectrum, which you’d hope for given the premium pricing. The telco reports 85Mbps on NBN 100 plan, 43Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 20Mbps on NBN 25 plans
There’s more to the Big T NBN story, however. In addition to typical speeds, Telstra also provides average evening speeds, based on the performance of 90% of its NBN customers.
Telstra’s most recent data comes from November, where it says it says its NBN 100 customers were getting average evening speeds of 91.97Mbps, NBN 50 customers were getting 46.16Mbps, and NBN 25 customers were getting 22.55Mbps.
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.
Vodafone is comparatively 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. Vodafone will add on a 5% discount to your entire bill for every plan on your account after the first, up to a maximum of five plans.
Kogan Internet is quite literally Vodafone NBN by another name. You miss out on discount bundling and 4G backup, but you’ll pay a little less per month.
Given the relationship with Vodafone, Kogan’s NBN evening speeds are identical. 83Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 45Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 23Mbps on NBN 25 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.
iiNet's peak hour performance has gotten a bit faster lately, with the telco now reporting evening speeds of 83.3Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 43.7Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 20.8Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
MyRepublic plans can be a little priciey, but they’re up there in terms of speeds. The telco says customers experience typical evening speeds of 83Mbps on NBN 100 plans, and 43Mbps on NBN 50 plans.
Optus' evening speeds seem pretty no frills at first: 80Mbps on NBN 100 plans, and 40Mbps on NBN 50 plans. But just like Telstra, Optus also provides average peak evening speed information too.
Optus' latest numbers come from November, claiming that NBN 100 customers were getting average evening speeds of 88Mbps and NBN 50 customers were getting 46.7Mbps. 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 a little closer to the front of the pack, at least when compared to the typical speeds reported by the rest of the industry.
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 some of the industry’s best NBN 50 evening speeds, coming in at 44.4Mbps. However, its NBN 100 evening speeds aren't quite as high, coming in at 78.6Mbps.
While TPG was once at the head of the pack when it came to peak hour NBN performance, it now reports fairly average speeds, at least when it comes to NBN 100 plans. TPG says customers can expect typical evening speeds of 78.2Mbps, down from close to 90Mbps earlier last year.
TPG also reports evening speeds of 43.7Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 11Mbps on NBN 12 plans.
Exetel’s evening speeds are pretty standard: 77Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 40Mbps on NBN 50, and 20 on NBN 25.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia's phone and internet comparison website.
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