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.
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 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 get its binge on 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 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. We’ve ranked providers by their NBN 100 speeds.
Telstra is currently the best performer when it comes to evening speeds, ostensibly promising congestion free plans. The telco reports 1000Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 25Mbps on NBN 25 plans. That means customers shouldn’t ever encounter congestion, which could help soften the blow of Telstra’s premium pricing.
Telstra now also has NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans, but these speeds aren’t quite as exciting. It reports 215Mbps during busy periods on NBN 250 plans, and 250Mbps on NBN 100 plans. These speeds are in line with the majority of other providers on these speed tiers.
NBN 250 plans are only available to FTTP customers and 70 per cent of HFC customers. NBN 100 plans are only available to FTTP customers, and 7 per cent of HFC customers. NBN Co hopes that all HFC customers will be able to sign-up for an NBN 250 plan by June this year.
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, pitching itself as the “the telco that gives a ****”. That’s Aussie’s censorship, not mine.
Aussie Broadband recently increased its evening speed guidance across the majority of its plans, making it one of the fastest telcos around on almost every single speed tier. In addition, the telco says its customers rarely encounter congestion – even during peak times – and to prove it, publishes bandwidth (CVC) 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 99Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 25Mbps on NBN 25 plans. That puts it equal with Telstra on all plans other than NBN 100, where it’s just 1Mbps slower.
Aussie recently introduced a new speed NBN 75 speed tier, sitting between NBN 50 and NBN 100 in terms of price. It reports typical evening speeds of 65Mbps on NBN 75 plans.
Aussie Broadband is part of the providers offering speeds faster than NBN 100. It currently reports typical evening speeds of 248Mbps on its NBN 250 plan, which makes it the fastest option around in terms of typical evening speeds. Aussie doesn’t currently report typical evening speeds on NBN 1000 plans. While it has previously suggested 250Mbps as a ballpark, it hopes to provide more accurate data after more testing.
Again, NBN 250 plans are only available to FTTP customers and 70% of HFC customers. NBN 100 plans are only available to FTTP customers, and 7% of HFC customers.
TPG’s evening speeds have fluctuated a lot over the course of the last few years. Just recently it was only reporting typical evening speeds of 80Mbps on NBN 100 plans, but it now comes in at equal third place with a blistering 95Mbps.
TPG reports typical evening speeds of 48Mbps on NBN 50 plans, 22Mbps on NBN 25 plans, and 12Mbps on NBN 12 plans.
iiNet sits in equal third alongside stablemate TPG, reporting identical evening speeds across major speed tiers. This means you can expect 95Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 48Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 22Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
Unlike TPG, iiNet also has NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans. It reports typical evening speeds of 200Mbps on both.
Superloop used to be the top dog when it came to NBN 100 plan evening speeds, but recent changes mean it now sits a few rungs down. Of course, typical evening speeds of 90Mbps are still very respectable. Superloop’s plans haven’t gotten slower, other providers just got faster.
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.
Superloop is also one of the only providers to publish bandwidth (CVC) graphs. These show how much capacity it has in each area versus how much is being used. By looking at the historic performance for your area, these graphs can give you an idea on whether you should expect any congestion.
In addition, Superloop reports evening speeds of 44.4Mbps on NBN 50 plans and 22.2Mbps on NBN 25 plans. When it comes to plans faster than NBN 100, it reports typical evening speeds of 215Mbps on its NBN 250 plans, and 250Mbps on its NBN 1000 plans.
SpinTel has pumped its evening speed numbers hard recently, now matching the likes of Superloop on NBN 100 plans where it also reports 90Mbps. The telco advertises typical evening speeds of 45Mbps on NBN 50 plans and 21Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
Optus is another provider that’s shot up in terms of evening speeds, sitting in equal fourth along with Superloop and SpinTel. Customers can expect typical evening speeds of 90Mbps on NBN 100 plans and 45Mbps on NBN 50 plans.
Optus recently added NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans to its range, but the speeds are the standard fare: 215Mbps and 250Mbps, respectively.
Vodafone says NBN 100 customers will get typical evening speeds of 85Mbps, NBN 50 customers will get evening speeds of 46Mbps, 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 a 5% discount to your entire bill for every postpaid plan on your account after the first, up to a maximum of five plans.
Vodafone offers NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans, but these are not available online at this stage. To get one, you’ll need to call Vodafone.
Kogan Internet is quite literally Vodafone NBN by another name. You miss out on discount bundling and the optional 4G backup, but you’ll pay a little less per month.
Given the relationship with Vodafone, Kogan’s NBN evening speeds are identical. 85Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 46Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 23Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
Telco industry stalwart Internode reports respectable evening speeds across most speed tiers, but you should stay away from its NBN 25 plan. While customers can expect 85Mbps on NBN 100 plans and 45Mbps on NBN 50 plans, Internode only reports 16.4Mbps on its NBN 25 plan. That’s far below average. For the most part, you’d want at least 20Mbps on an NBN 25 plan.
Internode also has NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans where it reports typical evening speeds of 200Mbps on both.
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: 205Mbps on NBN 250 plans, 83Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 42Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 21Mbps on NBN 25 plans.
MATE is another reliable option, reporting evening speeds of 83Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 42Mbps on NBN 50 plans, 19Mbps on NBN 25 plans, and 10Mbps on NBN 12 plans.
MATE’s NBN plans are reasonably well priced, and you can save a further $10 per month by bundling them with a MATE SIM-only mobile plan. MATE’s mobile plans start at $20 per month for 5GB and are powered by the Telstra network. The $25 per month option with 18GB is definitely a better buy, however.
MyRepublic also does a pretty decent job when it comes to peak hour performance. The telco says customers experience typical evening speeds of 83Mbps on NBN 100 plans, and 43Mbps on NBN 50 plans. You’ll want to avoid its NBN 25 plans, however, which are advertised with typical evening speeds of just 15Mbps.
MyRepublic has an NBN 250 plan where it reports typical evening speeds of 150Mbps. These speeds are slower than most NBN 250 plans – which tend to achieve at least 200Mbps during busy periods – but its plan is also cheaper.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.