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. These changes are typically for the best. For example, many NBN 50 providers now report typical evening speeds of 50Mbps, meaning you shouldn’t see congestion on that speed tier. NBN 100 plans have gotten faster too.
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
Four providers are currently reporting typical evening speeds of 100Mbps on NBN 100 plans: Telstra, Optus, SpinTel, and Superloop. That’s as close to congestion-free as you can get, with the pair ostensibly promising no slowdown, no matter the time of day.
When it comes to these four, Telstra and Optus are on the pricier side. Unsurprisingly, Telstra is the most expensive major NBN provider around; you’ll pay $100 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 you’ll need to 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 bit cheaper at $89 per month for your first six months and $99 per month thereafter. As with Telstra, you’ll also be up for a modem fee if you leave with your first three years. This is equivalent to $7 per month for each month remaining in your 36-month term.
This Optus NBN plan also includes a modem with 4G backup and an Optus Sport subscription.
SpinTel is your cheapest option for a congestion-free NBN 100 plan, charging $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, so you’re always free to leave when the discount runs out.
Aussie Broadband is a hair behind, reporting typical evening speeds of 99Mbps. Aussie is also on the pricier side, with its plans billed at $99 per month. You can however score your first month free by using the promo code FASTMONTH. The plan is contract-free, so you’re always able to leave after the free month if you change your mind.
The fastest NBN 50 plans
Speed isn’t really a deciding factor when it comes to NBN 50 plans anymore: the vast majority of providers are now all reporting typical evening speeds of 50Mbps. As such, performance on a pricier provider shouldn’t be any different to performance on a cheaper provider – you should be getting the maximum speeds your connection is possible all of the time.
Tangerine is one of your cheapest options, charging $54.90 for your first six months and $69.90 per month thereafter. In addition to being contract-free, the plan also had a 14-day risk-free guarantee. If you’re not happy in your first fortnight, you can get a full refund of plan fees.
SpinTel is a bit more expensive during your first six months, but a bit cheaper in the long run. You’ll pay $59 per month for your first six months, and then $64.95 per month thereafter. This makes it the cheapest full-price NBN 50 plan from any major provider.
Dodo is a hair cheaper initially, at $58 per month for your first six months. The plan then jumps up to $75 per month thereafter, however. You’ll also be up for a $60 modem fee. If you’re in NSW or Victoria and you’re happy to swap to Dodo for gas and energy, you can save a further $10 per month from your Dodo NBN bill.
Aussie Broadband is on the more expensive side for NBN 50 plans at $79 per month, but it is currently offering a free month offer. Use the promo code FASTMONTH to get this deal.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.