The NBN can be rather complicated. Buying a fast plan should be simple, but there are plenty of variables that can affect the speeds you get in practice.
Every ISP is technically reselling access to the same network, but the way in which providers like Telstra, TPG, and Aussie Broadband 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.
To help you choose, NBN providers disclose the typical speeds you can realistically expect to get during peak hours – not just the NBN speed tier the plan is based on. Naturally, some do a better job than others.
Evening speeds can and do change however, and a few telcos have recently published new metrics on plan performance. For the most part, these changes have been for the best. For example, Optus jumped from reporting typical evening speeds of 90Mbps on NBN 100 plans to reporting a full 100Mbps during peak hours.
So, to help you pick a provider that consistently delivers the speeds you’re after, we’ve rounded up some of the fastest plans around, based on the most recent evening speed data major ISPs have released.
Before we start, it’s important to be aware that typical evening speeds disclosed by NBN providers are just an indication of the speeds you can reasonably expect during peak hours. There are other factors that can impact the speeds you get at home. These can include the technology you’re using to connect to the NBN, the hardware in your home, and any abnormally high usage in your area.
The fastest NBN 100 plans
Optus and Telstra come in at equal first when it comes to fast NBN 100 plans, both reporting typical evening speeds of 100Mbps. That’s as close to congestion-free as you can get, with the pair ostensibly promising no slowdown, no matter the time of day.
Both Optus and Telstra are naturally on the more expensive side, however.
To start, Telstra is the most expensive major NBN provider around; you’ll pay $90 per month for your six months, and then $110 per month thereafter. Telstra NBN plans also include 4G back-up and a three-month free subscription to Binge.
Telstra NBN plans are contract-free, but be aware that you’ll pay out a modem fee if you leave within your first two years. This is equivalent to $9 multiplied by the number of months you’ve got left in your term.
Optus is a little cheaper at a flat $95 per month, but you’ll be up for a $99 setup fee, and a modem fee if you leave within your first three years. This is equivalent to $7 per month for each month remaining in your 36-month term.
This Optus NBN plan 4G backup and an Optus Sport subscription.
Aussie Broadband is a hair behind, reporting typical evening speeds of 99Mbps. You’ll pay $89 per month for your first six months, and $99 per month thereafter. You’ll need to use the promo code FAST10 to get this plan. If you’d prefer an NBN 100 / 40 plan with faster upload, you can pay $89 per month for your first six months, and $109 per month thereafter. To get this deal, use the promo code FAST20. Both plans are contract-free so you can leave whenever.
Superloop and SpinTel sit in equal third, with typical evening speeds of 90Mbps, and both have promotional discounts.
SpinTel is the cheaper option, both before and after the discount runs out. You’ll pay $74 per month for your first six months, and $84.95 per month thereafter. With Superloop, you’ll pay $74.95 per month for your first six months, and then $89.95 per month thereafter. Both plans are contract-free.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option without a promotional discount, you could consider MATE. MATE’s NBN 100 plan will set you back a flat $79 per month with typical evening speeds of 83Mbps. If you want to save further, you can bundle in one of its SIM-only mobile plans for a $10 per month discount. MATE’s mobile plans start at $20 per month with 8GB and are powered by the Telstra network.
The fastest NBN 50 plans
Telstra, Optus, and Aussie Broadband all tie for first place when it comes to NBN 50 plans, reporting typical evening speeds of 50Mbps.
On Telstra, you’ll pay $90 per month for its plan – just be aware that you’ll need to pay a modem fee if you leave within your first 24 months. This is equivalent to $9 multiplied by the number of months you’ve got left in your term.
On Optus, you’re looking at $75 per month. Once again, there’s a $99 setup fee and a modem fee if you leave within your first 36 months. It’s equivalent to $7 multiplied by the number of months left in your term.
On Aussie, you’re up for $69 per month for your first six months and $79 per month thereafter. To get this deal, use the promo code SAVE10MONTH. Aussie Broadband’s plan is completely contract-free.
iiNet and TPG are right behind, both reporting typical evening speeds of 48Mbps. TPG is $5 per month cheaper, but you’ll need to sign a six-month contract. iiNet’s plan is contract-free.
If you’re after something cheaper, SpinTel is reporting typical evening speeds of 45Mbps on its NBN 50 plan. You’ll pay $59 per month for your first six months, and $64.95 per month thereafter. Once again, this plan is contract-free.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.