Australia is a huge country geographically, with not a whole lot of people in it. Even though we are one of the most urbanised countries in the world, building the National Broadband Network (NBN) and providing ‘fast’ internet in general has been no mean feat. In fact, it has been somewhat of a struggle, with providers having to compensate customers for slow speeds, and a whole range of customers ditching the NBN altogether and moving to alternative networks.
But for many households, the NBN will still be the source of the fastest internet plans you are likely to find. However, finding a fast plan and reliable provider is a massive challenge. Read on to find out who the fastest NBN providers in Australia are, and how to pick the right super-fast broadband plan for your needs.
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What is the fastest internet in Australia?
Generally speaking, the fastest household internet speeds that you can expect in Australia are around 100 megabits per second (Mbps) downloading, and 40Mbps uploading. 100Mbps means you can download around 12.5 megabytes of content per second.
While there are undoubtedly some households sporadically achieving above this mark, 100Mbps is pretty much the benchmark for fast internet in Australia, while geographically smaller nations like Singapore and even New Zealand are getting access to much faster speeds of up to 1Gbps (gigabit per second). This is up to ten times faster than the fastest internet available here in Australia.
It’s all well and good for telcos to advertise potential 100Mbps speeds, but what are you actually going to get in the real world? In August 2019, the ACCC released its fourth report on the state of telco services and the speeds of their NBN plans. The ACCC found that in peak periods (7pm to 11pm):
- TPG performed at 86.7% of its maximum plan speed
- Optus performed at 85.5% of its maximum plan speed
- Aussie Broadband performed at 85.3% of its maximum plan speed
- MyRepublic performed at 84.8% of its maximum plan speed
- iiNet performed at 84.2% of its maximum plan speed
- Telstra performed at 83.1% of its maximum plan speed
- Exetel performed at 82.8% of its maximum plan speed
- Dodo & Primus performed at 80.4% of its maximum plan speed
This in effect means that out of the biggest Australian providers, TPG was technically rated ‘the best’, as its plans were more likely to achieve their maximum speeds. While the ACCC report is a helpful guide to which telcos might deliver the fastest speeds, keep in mind that there are still many variables that will impact what happens at your place.
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 a referral partner. This list is not an endorsement of the speeds, which can be impacted by numerous variables.
I’ve experienced faster speeds than 100Mbps: What gives?
While there are certainly instances of home broadband speeds faster than 100Mbps downloading, chances are if you’ve done a speed test at a university or large business, you have experienced speeds much faster than 100Mbps. Wireless speeds of 400Mbps or more at a university are not uncommon!
This is because they frequently have more advanced infrastructure and different plans to what’s available to the average home user. Residents of new apartment buildings may also get access to faster speeds than average, probably because of fibre internet being fed straight through the building – speeds of over 100Mbps for both downloading and uploading are often achieved.
How can I get fast internet in my home?
There are a number of things you can do to improve your internet speed without changing your plan per se, but Australians are generally experiencing faster internet speeds than ever before, with big potential for the future. However, pretty much the most foolproof way is to get an NBN plan on the fastest speed tier – that being Tier 4.
Premium Evening Speed/NBN 100 – 100Mbps Internet Plans
NBN 100, also known as Premium Evening Speed, represents the pinnacle of NBN top speeds in Australia – with 100Mbps downloads and 40Mbps uploads. NBN Co. (the company responsible for the rollout of NBN across the country) says that these speeds are good for 4K video streaming, ‘super responsive’ online gaming, and uploading and downloading large files.
Optus claims that maximum Premium speeds are enough to download a 200 megabyte TV show (about a 42 minute long show in high definition) in just 16 seconds. However, these plans can cost a pretty penny – often $80 a month or more for unlimited data.
How much does Premium Evening Speed/NBN 100 cost?
For unlimited data, the least you can expect to pay is about $70 a month, with most plans around $90 a month or more. For these prices, you usually only get straight broadband and not much in the way of home phone call packs, or any other perks included.
At the cheapest end of the scale, keep an eye out for service providers like MyRepublic, SpinTel, Barefoot Telecom and Mate Communicate. With the larger providers, such as Optus and Telstra, you’ll usually need to pay around $90-$130 a month for unlimited data. However, where the bigger providers shine is with their inclusions of extra stuff – expect entertainment packages and other goodies to come bundled in.
What if I don’t have fibre NBN?
While fibre NBN customers typically have the best chance to get superfast internet, other users shouldn’t be completely dismayed.
- NBN Fixed Wireless customers can still get up to 50Mbps download speeds.
- SkyMuster customers can still achieve download speeds of around 25Mbps.
- ADSL2+ customers can get speeds download speeds up to 24Mbps.
- Cable customers can get anywhere from up to 30Mbps, all the way up to 100Mbps.
While it doesn’t seem so long ago that Australians were used to hearing the beeps and boops of dial-up internet, it’s evident we’ve come a long way in regards to internet speeds. Remember: 1 megabit is equal to about 0.125 megabytes, so multiply your theoretical top speed by that amount and that is feasibly how much you could download in one second.
However, keep in mind is that these listed top speeds are a maximum only. Many users report that their internet is much slower than the advertised speed, and as mentioned earlier, there are several factors that can be at fault here. While it makes sense to optimise your internet speed where possible, at the end of the day there are things like congestion that are out of your control that can affect speeds.
The issue of advertised speeds falling short of expectations has become a serious issue, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigating service providers to ensure the most accurate performance information is reported before customers sign up to new plans. Some fixed wireless and SkyMuster NBN plans can be found below, for an indication on price:
What’s the best internet for streaming?
Netflix regularly rates how fast popular Australian broadband providers perform in its streaming speed tests. Optus frequently ranks as the best provider for Netflix out of the six main providers tested, usually ahead of iiNet, while Telstra has improved in recent times.
- Netflix recommends a minimum speed of 0.5Mbps for standard streaming and much faster for HD streaming.
- HD streaming requires much more bandwidth and a higher download speed.
Luckily, most broadband connections in Australia can feasibly cover this requirement. However, congestion and other factors can easily wreak havoc on your Netflix enjoyment.
Should I get faster internet?
Fast internet relies on countless factors to achieve optimum speeds, so taking a stab in the dark and changing providers on the same connection may not result in the improved performance you crave. However, if your current plan has been rather lackluster for a long time – and at all times of the day – then it could make sense to test the waters and switch providers.
- Arguably the best and easiest way to get faster internet will be to wait until the NBN comes to your house, and upgrade to the fastest Typical Evening Speed option available at your location.
- If you’re already on the NBN, you might be surprised to know that a faster speed tier may not be all that much more expensive – or that your current plan may not be delivering the speeds you expected.
The NBN is Australia’s best hope for reliable, wide-reaching and ‘fast’ internet, but until it’s rolled out across the country, it can pay to make the best of what you currently have and shop around for a better deal.