2018 – NBN Providers
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Canstar Blue’s annual review of NBN providers compares Internode, Dodo, iiNet, iPrimus, MyRepublic, TPG, Belong, Optus and Telstra based on their internet speed, customer service, contract clarity, ease of activation, bill clarity, value for money and overall customer satisfaction.
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Canstar Blue research finalised in April 2018, published in June 2018.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Internode tops the ratings for NBN providers
When the National Broadband Network (NBN) arrives in your area, your door will be opened to more than 130 different service providers. They include all the big names you’ve already heard of, as well as dozens of others you probably haven’t. Your challenge as an NBN customer is to find the provider and plan that best meets your new-found superfast internet needs. It’s no easy task.
Our mission as a review and comparison website is to help you along the way. We do this by surveying thousands of households across the country that are already connected to the NBN. The feedback we receive is reflected by the star ratings table you see above. If you’re wondering why we haven’t rated all 130 NBN providers, it’s because we have strict minimum sample requirements to be included. If a small NBN provider only has 10 customers, we don’t include them.
Our ratings do, however, include some of the biggest and best NBN providers out there, giving you lots to think about when the time comes to make the switch, or you’re just sick of your current provider and fancy a change. They have been compared on factors including internet speed, customer service, ease of activation and value for money. So, which NBN provider is rated best by the people who know best?
Best-Rated NBN Providers
The nine major NBN providers in our latest comparison have been ranked in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
- 1st Internode
- 2nd MyRepublic
- 3rd TPG
- 4th iPrimus
- 5th iiNet
- 6th Dodo
- 7th Belong
- 8th Telstra
- 9th Optus
Internode replaces iiNet as the top-rated NBN provider from last year.
- Internode was rated highest overall, scoring five stars across all research categories.
- Dodo, iiNet, iPrimus, MyRepublic and TPG all received four stars for overall satisfaction.
- MyRepublic was notably the only provider other than Internode to achieve five stars in a particular area – in this case, value for money.
- Belong, Optus and Telstra were rated three stars for overall satisfaction
If you’re only interested in the cheapest NBN plans on offer, then this will be a fairly short review. However, if you’re more interested in finding the best value, our ratings above provide a helpful guide, and keep reading as we compare NBN providers big and small to help you find the right deal.
NBN Plans on our Database
Here is a selection of plans from our database where we link directly to a provider’s website. Plans are on the Standard Plus 50/20 speed tier, listed in order of price. These are sponsored products:
Internode NBN Plans
Last year iiNet took top spot, but this year is Internode’s time to shine. Internode’s plans are somewhat similar to iiNet, but evidently Internode customers are generally more satisfied when it comes to factors like service, speed and bill clarity.
Plans start at under $50, but for unlimited data you’ll spend closer to $70, with speed boosts an extra $10-$20. Unlimited data on NBN 50 costs about $80 a month.
Internode’s top-flight NBN 100 plan with unlimited data costs $99.99 per month. While it’s not the cheapest provider out there, Internode customers are evidently very happy with the service and value for money. Internode scored five stars overall, and for every other research category – an impressive feat in a hugely competitive space.
MyRepublic NBN Plans
You’ve probably heard of MyRepublic as the disruptive internet service, challenging the big guys. When it launched back in 2016, it was the cheapest to offer top tier NBN, and although things have changed a little, MyRepublic is still a competitive challenger brand. All plans come with unlimited data as standard, and the choice of either a 12 month contract or no lock-in plan on NBN 100 speeds, with optional modems.
MyRepublic customers rated their provider four stars overall, yet gave the telco five stars for value for money. It was the only NBN provider other than Internode to register a five-star rating for anything in this year’s ratings.
TPG NBN Plans
They may be part of the same telco group, but there are many differences between TPG, Internode and iiNet. TPG’s NBN plans start off at less than $30 a month, but you receive a very modest 10GB in return. Prices then increase gradually as you either increase your speed, data allowance or call inclusions.
All plans are available with no lock-in contract, or over 18 months. However, the monthly option means you’ll need to pay a $99.95 set-up fee. Unlimited data starts at only $59.99 per month, with the NBN 12 speed as standard, with the option to boost to either NBN 50 or 100.
TPG topped our NBN ratings in 2016, but this year scored four stars for overall satisfaction, in addition to every other category except for bill clarity where it achieved three stars.
iiNet NBN Plans
Acquired by TPG Telecom a few years ago, it seems iiNet has lost none of the characteristics that made the Perth-based internet service provider such a hit with customers in the first place. iiNet earned four stars for overall satisfaction and for every other research category this year.
To get unlimited data on a fixed-line NBN plan, you’ll pay at least $69.99 per month, with three speed tiers available – NBN 12, NBN 50, and NBN 100. iiNet also offers SkyMuster NBN, starting from just $44.99 a month.
It’s probably fair to say that iiNet is the not the cheapest NBN provider, focusing on a quality service rather than low prices. NBN plans are available on either a no contract or 24-month basis, with the flexible option resulting in an activation fee. You can also throw in streaming service Fetch to any plan from $0 extra per month.
Belong NBN Plans
A subsidiary of Telstra, Belong offers a dead-simple approach to the NBN. On its website you’re presented with a plan builder: simply choose your speed, then choose your contract term.
Unlimited data starts at $55 per month, and users can opt for a no contract or 12-month plan. The 12-month option saves you $120 in total, offering a $5 monthly discount and waiving the $60 WiFi modem cost. Users can choose Starter (NBN 50, capped at 30Mbps), Standard Plus (NBN 50) or Premium speeds (NBN 100).
Belong was rated three stars overall this time out, but did get four stars in some areas. These included value for money, customer service, contract clarity, ease of activation and bill clarity.
Telstra NBN Plans
Like with Optus, the value in Telstra’s NBN plans comes in the form of its extra features. Telstra internet plans come with the option of adding a Foxtel subscription as well as Telstra TV, which delivers access to streaming services like Netflix and Stan.
Basic broadband packages are also on offer, with prices starting from $70 a month for 100GB of data. Telstra also offers unlimited data, but be prepared to pay $90 a month.
If you decide on a Telstra bundle, prices range from $70 up to $130+, depending on the data allowance, speed tier and entertainment add-ons. While Telstra does offer month-to-month plans, extra set-up fees apply. Telstra was rated three stars for overall satisfaction and for every other research category this year.
iPrimus NBN Plans
A stablemate of Dodo under the Vocus Communications umbrella, iPrimus has an interesting array of NBN plans. These start at $80 a month for unlimited data, or $90 if you wish to add Fetch TV. Plans come bundled with the NBN 50 speed tier as standard.
With a relatively high basement price, iPrimus’ value is arguably found in its more expensive plans, which include quite a bit for your NBN dollar. iPrimus was rated four stars overall, and for every other research category this year.
Dodo NBN Plans
With unlimited NBN plans starting from just $70 a month, Dodo is one of the cheapest providers out there. Be sure to check the specific details of what you’ll be getting for your money though, as the cheapest NBN deals come with very modest data allowances (101GB). If you want to bump up your data to unlimited on the fastest speed tier that Dodo offers – NBN 50 – expect to pay $70 per month.
Dodo certainly gives you the chance to connect to the NBN on the cheap, which seems to have gone down well as customers rated the telco four stars overall and on value for money. In fact, it rated well overall, with four stars in almost every other research category, except for contract clarity and bill clarity, where it rated three stars.
Optus NBN Plans
Optus has a more concise range of NBN plans than you might expect from a big telco. You may also be surprised at its prices. Customers can get connected with Optus NBN from $85 per month, but if it’s those extra entertainment packages you want, you’ll need to pay $90, for which you’ll receive both Optus Sport and a Fetch TV bundle.
Customers get the Standard Plus speed tier on all base plans, with Premium NBN 100 speeds available for $30 per month extra. Plans are available monthly or over 24 months; the flexible option means you’ll need to pay a significant $200 up-front, but if you commit for the long haul on a two-year plan, this price drops to $99.
All Optus NBN plans come with unlimited data. Optus was rated just three stars for overall satisfaction, and in every other research category.
When is the NBN due to be complete?
The NBN is due for completion in 2021. There may be more than 130 NBN providers in Australia, but the majority of households are still connected with one of these bigger telcos featured above. Is that a good move? Maybe. We’ll come to that shortly. Here are some links to useful resources if you’re keen to learn more about how the NBN works and what you need to consider when picking a plan:
How to pick an NBN provider
As you will have gathered, picking the right NBN provider for your specific needs can be a real challenge, which will help explain why a majority of Aussie households stick with one of the big guys as a seemingly ‘safe bet’. While this is perfectly understandable, try to keep an open mind and judge each provider on its own merits. Try not to be sucked in by funny marketing campaigns or other gimmicks, rather focusing on the products and service being offered.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions about customer service (such as call centre opening times) and what you will need to do in the event of any problems.
- Find out as much as you can about the provider itself and the plan on offer, by reading the critical information summary. This holds all of the details relating to the plan, including the contract terms and any charges you may need to pay.
Also seek out customer reviews to give you an idea of what you can expect if you sign up. All in all, with so many NBN providers out there, it can be hard to disseminate which provider is right for you.
You may also be interested in:
How much can you expect to pay on the NBN?
Our research shows that households connected to the NBN are paying an average of just over $80 a month for their new service. This compares to an average of about $73 for those who have an ADSL connection, suggesting an upgrade to the NBN is resulting in higher costs for many. But it doesn’t have to be the case. While the opportunity to upgrade your service is tempting, be sure to consider exactly what you need in terms of speed levels and data allowance.
- Many providers only offer unlimited data, but this could mean you are paying for something you don’t need.
- Switching to the NBN will not necessarily deliver an upgrade to your internet service in terms of performance, especially if you subscribe to a plan with the slowest download speeds, which are comparable to those experienced with an ADSL2+ connection.
NBN speeds remain a major political issue, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigating service providers to ensure that advertised speeds are realistically being met by the end user. It is worth remembering that all download/upload speeds reported are the maximum speeds that can be achieved with a particular plan.
- A number of providers have had to compensate customers over slow NBN speeds.
- The NBN is improving, however, with the ACCC reporting ‘better than expected’ results since its crackdown on NBN speeds.
While it’s tempting to go for a cheap NBN plan, keep in mind that doing so will likely mean that you are sacrificing either speed or data allowance. You might find there is better value in paying a little extra but think carefully about what you’re getting if your new NBN plan is more expensive than your old service. The last thing you’ll want is to end up paying more for a service that is no better than your old one!
When it comes to picking an NBN provider or plan, the most important message is to keep your options open – you certainly have plenty of them!
List of NBN Providers
While only a handful of NBN providers dominate the market, the wholesale nature of the National Broadband Network means it is relatively easy for smaller telcos to start up and compete for customers. In fact, there are more than 200 NBN providers recognised by NBN Co. Here is a complete list of registered NBN providers available to residential customers in Australia:
- Accord with Officeworks
- ACE Internet
- AConnect Phone & Internet
- Adam Internet
- Alpha Dot Net
- ASB Communications
- Aussie Broadband
- Aussie Web & IT Solutions
- Australia Broadband
- Australia Online
- Barefoot Telecom
- Beagle Internet
- Bendigo Telco
- Best Telecom Australia
- BlissTel Communications
- Boom Broadband
- Broadband Solutions
- Business Technology Centre
- Candour Communications
- Carbon Comms
- Carrier1 Telecom
- Central Coast Internet
- Central Connect
- Clear Networks
- Click Broadband
- Connected Telecom
- CyberTel Telecom
- EHW Technology
- Exceed Connect
- Falcon Internet
- Future Broadband
- Gippsland Broadband
- Green Tree Frog
- Harbour ISP
- Hello Broadband
- If Telecom
- Infinite Networks
- Infinity Broadband
- Inspired Broadband
- Internet On
- Key Internet
- Lightspeed Internet
- Lizzy Internet
- ManageMy Group
- Mate Communicate
- McPherson Media
- Mid North Coast Internet
- Mint Telecom
- Montimedia Internet
- My Telco Mate
- Nelson Bay Online
- New Sprout
- Next Business Telecom
- Node1 Internet
- North Queensland Telecom
- Oncue Telecom
- Origin Broadband
- Peak Connect
- Planet OZI
- Planet Tel
- Powercom Pacific
- Prime Telecom
- Queensland Computers
- Real World Technology Solutions
- Sorted Services
- Southern Phone
- Speed Telecom
- Start Broadband
- Steele Technology
- Supercheap Telco
- Switched on Australia
- Tablelands Communications
- Tangerine Telecom
- Telco Hut
- Telco Chat
- Tele Byte
- Telecom West
- The George Baini Group
- The Internet Provider
- Thorn Broadband
- TIG Telecom
- Trinity Telecom
- Uniscope Communications
- URL Networks
- V4 Telecom
- Voice Talk
- Vonex Telecom
- Waterfront Networks
- WiFi Hub
- X Integration
- Your Call Telecom
- Your Hub
- Zetta Net
Frequently Asked Questions
Canstar Blue surveyed 6,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who currently have an NBN plan in their name and they pay the bills – in this case, 1,688 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.