If you’re looking for the best NBN experience, you’ll want to look for a ‘congestion-free’ plan. These are plans with typical evening speeds that match the speed tier and shouldn’t see any slowdown, no matter what time of day– eg. you’ll maintain 100Mbps on NBN 100 plans and 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans.
Before we look at which providers offer these plans, it’s important to point out that there are still factors that can prevent you from achieving these speeds. In-home wiring and your equipment can all adversely impact your download speeds, as can abnormally high usage in your area. Some FTTN connections can’t even get full NBN 50 speeds. We’ve also seen providers that have advertised congestion-free typical evening speeds, but then reduced speed guidance at a later date.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.
Congestion-free NBN 50 plans
Many NBN providers now offer NBN 50 plans with typical evening speeds of 50Mbps. It’s easy to find an NBN 50 plan that shouldn’t slow down during peak hours, even if you don’t want to spend top dollar.
Dodo is currently one of your cheapest options: you’ll pay $53.80 per month for your first six months. This jumps to $75 per month thereafter. If you’re in NSW or Victoria, you can cut $10 from your bill if you also get your gas and electricity from Dodo ($5 per connection).
Exetel has a similar offer where you’ll pay $53.99 per month for your first six months and $74.99 per month thereafter. Exetel’s NBN 50 plan gives you five free speed boosts to NBN 100 per month. Each speed boost lasts a single day. Speed boosts are only available to those on HFC, FTTP, and FTTN connections, however.
Despite being a slither more expensive initially, SpinTel is arguably the best pick from this lot. You’ll pay $54 per month for your first six months and $64.95 per month thereafter. Even at full price, that’s cheaper than some discounted NBN 50 plans.
Congestion-free NBN 100 plans
We’ve seen a substantial increase in internet providers that offer congestion-free NBN 100 plans over the past couple of months. These NBN plans are all reporting typical evening speeds of 100Mbps. It’s also worth noting that FTTN connections need to be within 400m of a node to even have a shot of achieving NBN 100 speeds.
Southern Phone is your cheapest option currently. You’ll pay $69 per month for your first 12 months, and $85 per month thereafter.
Exetel is up next and you’re looking at $68.99 per month for your first six months and $84.99 per month thereafter. As with its NBN 50 plan, Exetel will also give you five free speed boosts to NBN 250 per month. However, you’ll have to be on an FTTP or HFC connection to take advantage of these.
If you don’t plan on changing providers every six months, SpinTel is a great set-and-forget choice. You’ll pay $69 per month for your first six months and $79.95 per month thereafter. It’s one of the cheapest full-price NBN 100 plans around.
Congestion-free NBN 250 plans
Previously, Telstra was the only game in town when it came to congestion-free NBN 250 plans, but that’s changed too. When it comes to NBN plans that are reporting typical evening speeds of 250MBps, you’ve got a few options now: Swoop, Southern Phone, Telstra, Aussie Broadband and Origin.
The cheapest plan belongs to Swoop, which is a new internet service provider. You can pick up its NBN 250 connection for $94 per month for the first six months of your plan before it increases to $129 per month.
Southern Phone is up next, with an introductory offer that’ll last for the first 12 months of your connection. Southern Phone will set you back $95 per month during your first year, and then $115 per month, which also makes it the cheapest full-price congestion-free plan here.
Telstra‘s NBN 250 plan will set you back $120 per month for your first six months and $140 per month thereafter. As with its NBN 100 plan, you’ll need to return your modem if you leave within your first two years. You’ll also get the same streaming bonuses: a year of Kayo Basic, two months of Binge, three months of Apple TV Plus, and four months of Spotify Premium.
Meanwhile, Aussie Broadband is offering its NBN 250 plan for a flat rate of $129 per month. Considering Telstra‘s NBN 250 plan is contract-free, once the discount period ends you can save yourself a few bucks off your monthly internet bill by jumping to Aussie’s plan.
Origin is offering a small discount for new customers, so you’ll pay $129 per month for the first six months, down from $134 per month. However, if you bundle an Origin NBN plan with one of its energy plans, you can save an extra $10 per month. Origin will also chuck in a year of Paramount+ for free as well.
More NBN plans
If you need a faster internet connection, here are Lifehacker Australia’s guides for each NBN speed tier in Australia:
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.
The Cheapest NBN50 Plans
Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.