Canstar Blue’s 2021 NBN ratings: Australia’s fave provider revealed

With more Australians working and studying from home — and spending nights on the couch streaming, gaming, or simply scrolling social media — a good internet connection has never been more important. Finding a plan that balances both your budget and your household broadband needs is vital, but wading through close to 200 NBN providers to find the best deal can be a tough ask. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

Canstar Blue’s 2021 NBN Providers ratings are official — and with over 6,200* customer responses tallied, there’s one telco that’s head and shoulders above the competition. Our ratings ask respondents to score their current NBN provider on multiple factors, including speed and reliability, value for money, customer service, ease of setup, bill and cost clarity and overall satisfaction. Each of this year’s 18 included providers received a score out of five stars for each category, but only one brand earned a full five-star rating for overall customer satisfaction.

MATE is 2021’s best-rated NBN provider

Our best-rated NBN provider of 2021 is MATE, who outpaced bigger-name competitors to take home a full five stars overall, plus five-star ratings across most of our survey categories. The Australian-owned telco scored five stars for speed and reliability, bill and cost clarity, customer service, and for ease of setup, and received four stars for value for money. It’s a stellar result for MATE, and even more impressive as this year is the first time the telco has qualified for our NBN ratings.

“MATE is excited to win this award as it quantifies our strategy, which is all about creating a ‘customer happiness’ business that happens to sell telco products,” Mark Fazio, MATE’s General Manager said.

“MATE was founded with a clear purpose – to deliver services to consumers that have the foundation of excellent customer service to support them.”

Rounding out 2021’s top three telcos are SpinTel and last year’s winner Aussie Broadband, with the industry’s most dominant players Optus and Telstra in 14th and 17th place respectively. The success of smaller, value and service-focused telcos in our ratings shows that while the big names can offer perks and extras, it’s the challenger brands that are keeping customers happy.

2021 winner MATE offers a range of NBN plan options across five speed tiers, with no lock-in contracts or setup costs. Price-wise, plans fall on the more affordable end of scale, and it’s Sydney-based support team is available Monday to Saturday.

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited MATE NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Best-Rated NBN Providers

MATE was rated number-one for overall customer satisfaction in Canstar Blue’s 2021 ratings, but how did other NBN providers do? Our full 2021 NBN providers ratings are now live, but the full list is below:

  1. MATE
  2. SpinTel
  3. Aussie Broadband
  4. Internode
  5. Tangerine
  6. Vodafone
  7. iiNet
  8. TPG
  9. Dodo
  10. Belong
  11. Westnet
  12. AGL
  13. MyRepublic
  14. Optus
  15. iPrimus
  16. Foxtel
  17. Telstra
  18. Exetel

 

NBN in Australia: are we happy with our internet?

It’s been a trying 18 months for the NBN, with the initial rollout finally complete after nation-wide lockdowns and an increased demand for bandwidth. Although initiatives from NBN Co helped increase capacity last year and avoid congestion during the busiest traffic times, many Australians are still unsatisfied with their NBN service, particularly in terms of pricing.

31% of respondents in our 2021 survey say that they now pay more for their NBN plan than they did for their previous broadband connection, and 21% would recommend others stick to their old cable or ADSL connection for as long as possible. Around one in ten Aussies are frustrated enough to dump their connection entirely, with 11% of respondents considering switching to an NBN alternative such as home wireless.

Despite close to a third of survey participants paying more for NBN, only 15% said they would like to switch their NBN provider. And while many in that remaining 85% are happy with their current plan, these figures indicate that a huge percentage of Aussies may be missing out on a better deal by not checking out the competition.

Woman using laptop with ginger cat on lap

 

When it comes to what we’re looking for in an NBN plan, Canstar Blue’s research found that monthly pricing is our top priority, alongside data allowance. As unlimited data is standard across most NBN plans, getting enough gigabytes is less of an issue now — but the price you’re paying can vary greatly across providers.

Survey respondents told us that download speeds are their third biggest factor in picking a plan, and 44% upgraded to what they thought would be a faster plan when NBN arrived in their area. Speed remains one of our biggest priorities when comparing NBN performance: but with six main residential speed tiers now available to NBN customers, it’s a confusing topic. 30% of respondents said they don’t know which NBN speed tier they’re currently on, and only 11% said they were on plans capable of achieving speeds of 100Mbps or faster.

While it’s easy to assume that the biggest providers offer the best speeds — or that pricier plans will get you the quickest downloads — our 2021 research indicated that smaller telcos are delivering a faster performance. Aussie Broadband scored five stars for speed and reliability, and MATE, SpinTel, Internode, Tangerine, Vodafone and MyRepublic all achieved four stars. In comparison, Telstra, Optus, TPG, Dodo and iiNet were each rated three stars for speeds in our 2021 survey.

So overall, while there’s many factors influencing your plan speed, picking the pricier provider may not be the best solution to performance problems. Researching the NBN speed tiers available to your address, and comparing NBN plans and prices, is your best bet for finding a broadband plan that’s right for your home and budget.

Compare NBN Plans

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

*Canstar Blue surveyed 6,285 consumers across all Australian states and territories about their satisfaction with their NBN plan provider, based on their satisfaction with their service’s speed and reliability, bill and cost clarity, customer service, ease of set-up, value for money and overall satisfaction. The 18 NBN plan providers nominated by a minimum of 30 consumers were included in Canstar Blue’s star rating ranking. Canstar Blue’s ratings methodology is publicly available.

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