When it comes to the NBN, we know that plans and providers are not all equal. While every internet service provider is technically reselling access to the same network, their individual performances can vary a lot, especially during the evening peak times.
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 provider doesn’t have enough bandwidth to go around, you can expect a digital traffic jam. It can be a real drag if you’re paying for an expensive NBN plan, only for it to slow down to a snail’s pace because everyone in your neighbourhood wants to get their stream on.
Thanks to the ACCC, NBN providers reveal what kind of typical speeds you can realistically expect to get during those 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.
If you feel the need for speed and are sick of waiting for your streaming services to finish buffering mid-movie, we’ve ranked providers by their NBN 100 speeds.
Before we start, here’s a snapshot of the providers with the fastest NBN 100 plans around:
Telstra is one of the best performers on every speed tier, ostensibly promising congestion-free plans. The telco reports typical evening speeds of 100Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 25Mbps on NBN 25 plans. That means customers shouldn’t ever encounter any slowdown.
Telstra is also one of the fastest providers around when it comes to NBN 250, reporting typical evening speeds of 250Mbps.
NBN 250 plans are only available to FTTP and HFC customers. NBN 100 plans are only available to FTTP customers, and over 90% of HFC customers.
Like Telstra, Optus is reporting top-tier evening speeds on NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans. Customers can expect typical evening speeds of 100Mbps on NBN 100 plans and 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans.
Optus also has NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans, but the speeds are fairly standard for their tiers: 240Mbps and 300Mbps, respectively.
SpinTel is also part of the congestion-free club, advertising typical evening speeds of 100Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 25Mbps on NBN 25 plans. SpinTel doesn’t currently offer plans faster than NBN 100.
Pennytel is a fairly recent player in the NBN space and has hit the ground running with congestion-free plans on the four main speed tiers. This means you can expect typical evening speeds of 12Mbps on NBN 12 plans, 25Mbps on NBN 25, 50Mbps on NBN 50, and 100Mbps on NBN 100.
Since being acquired by Superloop earlier in the year, Exetel has upped its evening speeds and introduced faster plan tiers. It reports 12Mbps on NBN 12 plans, 25Mbps on NBN 25, 48Mbps on NBN 50, 97Mbps on NBN 100, 225Mbps on NBN 250, and 245Mbps on NBN 1000.
Aussie Broadband is now the fifth-largest NBN provider and one of the few that seems to pride itself on great service, pitching itself as the “the telco that gives a ****”. That’s Aussie’s censorship, not mine.
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 97Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 48Mbps on NBN 50 plans, and 24Mbps on NBN 25 plans. Aussie also has a rather unusual NBN 75 speed tier, sitting between NBN 50 and NBN 100 in terms of price. It reports typical evening speeds of 73Mbps on NBN 75 plans.
You can also get NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans on Aussie Broadband. It reports 243Mbps on NBN 250 plans, and 600 on NBN 1000 plans. This puts it just behind Telstra on both speed tiers.