NBN upload speed explained

When we’re talking about the NBN, the main thing we get caught up with is download speeds, but depending on how you use the internet at home – and what for – upload speed may be just as important to you. It’s easy to overlook upload speed given its smaller number compared with the huge double-digits of download speeds, which are often the main selling point of NBN plans. But your upload speed might be more important than you think. Let’s jump into it.

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What is NBN upload speed?

NBN upload speed is the speed at which you can upload data and content to the internet, and applies to the second number in your plan’s name or speed tier (for example, the 5 in NBN 25/5). Both of these numbers are measured in megabits per second, or Mbps. Typically, your NBN upload speed is not too important in the average household, and any upload speed should be fine for general browsing and casual use. However, your upload speed is something to consider if you’re a power user, content creator, or if you rely heavily on the internet for your business (say, if you do lots of video calls, webinars or live streaming).

Considering most Australian households use the internet for things that typically don’t require a huge upload speed, such as web browsing, social media and streaming services, upload speed shouldn’t be a huge concern for most people when shopping around for a plan. However, having a good upload speed certainly proves its worth when you need it, such as when you are video calling or playing online games and want to avoid lag.

What is a good upload speed?

A ‘good’ upload speed can reasonably be considered 5Mbps or higher for most homes, although this really depends on the NBN speed tier you’re paying for and what you need from the NBN. For a budget plan, 5Mbps is good, but if you are paying for a faster plan, you should be aiming for around 20Mbps or better.

You can test your upload speed, as well as download speeds, by running an internet speed test in your browser. Just Google ‘speed test’ and you’ll be in safe hands.

Good NBN upload speeds go hand-in-hand with good download speeds, in that if you’re paying for a good download speed, you’ll also be paying for a good upload speed. Unfortunately, you can’t separate your upload speed from your download speed and create a plan catering to your needs, although you can get plans that have higher than normal upload speeds on some speed tiers from some providers.

For example, premium NBN 100 plans now come with upload speeds of either 20Mbps or 40Mbps, depending on your choice of plan or provider. Both options feature downloads of up to 100Mbps, but plans with a slower upload speed of 20Mbps tend to be around $10 per month cheaper than their NBN 100/40 equivalents. If downloading and streaming is important to you, but you’re not regularly sending or uploading large files or data, you’re probably better off on an NBN 100/20 plan, rather than paying more for NBN 100/40.

If you’re interested in seeing what upload speeds look like on different speed tiers, here’s how long it would take to upload a five minute 1080p video (typically 100MBs) to the internet at different speeds:

NBN Speed Tier Maximum Upload Speed Est. 100MB upload time

NBN 12

1Mbps

14 minutes

NBN 25

5Mbps

3 minutes

NBN 50

20Mbps

41 seconds

NBN 100

20Mbps

41 seconds

NBN 100/40

40Mbps

20 seconds

NBN 250

25Mbps

33 seconds

NBN 1000

50Mbps

16 seconds

Keep in mind that your experience will likely be different and that these NBN upload speed estimates are measured at the maximum upload speed of each plan. Speeds will likely also vary depending on the website.

NBN plans with good upload speeds

You’ll find the best upload speeds come with more expensive plans, where you’ll also find the best download speeds. Below you’ll find a table of NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans, which offer top theoretical upload speeds of between 20Mbps and 40Mbps.

The following table shows a selection of published cheap Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) 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.

The following table shows a selection of published cheap Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) 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.

What is the best NBN upload speed?

The best NBN upload speed you can theoretically achieve is 50Mbps, although to get anywhere near this you will have to splash out on an NBN 1000 plan. Along with NBN 250, these speed tiers are not widely available to the general public and are only possible with certain NBN connection types. Though if these speeds are available to you, they’re certainly worth checking out.

NBN 250 Plans Compared

The following table shows selected published unlimited NBN 250 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from lowest to highest, then alphabetically. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period

elite mates Home Superfast BYO

  • Superfast 250/25 Evening Speed (NBN 250)
  • Special offer: $89 per month for the first 6 months, then $109 per month ongoing. Terms apply, offer available until withdrawn.

min. cost $109 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $109Advertised Cost^^/billing period
MyRepublic Logo

Unlimited NBN Superfast

  • NBN 250/25Mbps speed
  • Optional WiFi hub+ modem for $149 upfront plus $10 P&H
  • Special offer: $99 for the first six months, then $109 ongoing, plus one month free with promo code 1MONTHFREE. Terms apply.

min. cost $109 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $109Advertised Data^^/billing period
iPrimus Logo

NBN 250

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250)
  • $70 setup fee
  • Modem included ($15 P&H)
  • PAYG calls
  • Special offer: $90 per month for first 6 months, then $115 ongoing. Terms apply. Ends 31/08/21

min. cost $185 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $115Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Kogan Logo

Platinum Unlimited

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Modem available for $69 upfront

min. cost $119.90 for first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $119.90Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Superloop logo

Unlimited Superfast 250/25

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Special offer: $99.95 for the first six months, then $119.95 ongoing. Offer expires 31/10/21, terms apply.

min. cost $119.95 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $119.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site

Power User

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)
  • Special offer: First month free when you use code ‘FASTMONTH‘ at checkout. Terms apply.

min. cost $129 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Internode

NBN250 Unlimited

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Special offer: $99.99 for the first six months, then $129.99 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $129.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period
iiNet Logo

NBN250 Liimitless

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Special offer: $99.99 for the first six months, then $129.99 ongoing. Terms apply.

min. cost $129.99 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129.99Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Superfast NBN

  • Superfast Speed (NBN 250)
  • Typical evening speed: 215Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: Get 3 months BINGE standard subscription, terms apply. Offer available until withdrawn.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $3,459 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $140Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Aussie Broadband Unlimited Superfast (NBN 250) and Ultrafast (NBN 1000) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Aussie Broadband NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. 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.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period

Power User

  • Home Superfast Speed (NBN 250/25)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)

min. cost $129 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site

Power House

  • Home Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000/50)
  • Optional modem from $149 ($15 P&H)

min. cost $149 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $149Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Superloop Superfast (NBN 250) and Ultrafast (NBN 1000) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Superloop NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. 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.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Superloop logo

Unlimited Superfast 250/25

  • Superfast 250/25 Evening Speed (NBN 250)

min. cost $119.95 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $119.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Superloop logo

Ultrafast 1000/50

  • Ultrafast 1000/50 Evening Speed (NBN 1000)

min. cost $139.95 over one month

3TBMax Data**/billing period $139.95Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Superloop logo

Unlimited Fast 200/200

  • Fast 200/200 Evening Speed (NBN 250)

min. cost $209 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $209Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Superloop logo

Unlimited Superfast Plus 250/100

  • Superfast Plus 250/100 Evening Speed (NBN 250)

min. cost $209 over one month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $209Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Telstra Superfast (NBN 250) & Ultrafast (NBN 1000) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published Telstra NBN 250 and NBN 1000 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of their standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. 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.

Brand Features Max Data**/billing period Advertised Cost^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Superfast NBN

  • Superfast Speed (NBN 250)
  • Typical evening speed: 215Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: Get 3 months BINGE standard subscription, terms apply. Offer available until withdrawn.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $3,459 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $140Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Ultrafast NBN

  • Ultrafast Speed (NBN 1000)
  • Typical evening speed: 250Mbps
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Special offer: Get 3 months BINGE standard subscription, terms apply. Offer available until withdrawn.
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $4,419 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $180Advertised Cost^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

NBN upload speeds compared

The ACCC releases quarterly reports on internet performance data about download and upload speeds. As of July 2021, the fastest performing provider for NBN upload speeds is Exetel, sitting at an average of 89.1% of optimal performance during peak hours (7pm to 11pm). You can find providers and their performance in the latest findings below.

Provider Average upload speed performance

Exetel

89.1%

TPG

85.7%

Optus

82.7%

iiNet

81.4%

MyRepublic

86.5%

Aussie Broadband

81.7%

Telstra

84.2%

Dodo & iPrimus

84.5%

Vodafone

86.6%

Superloop

84.2%

Source: ACCC NBN speed report, July 2021.

Is my NBN upload speed important?

Having a super-fast upload speed is obviously great, but it’s not essential, especially if you don’t do lots of uploading. Anything that involves actively inputting data onto the internet through file uploads, messages or interactions technically requires an upload speed, but there’s no need to have a super fast one, unless you need it for your business (or you just take fast internet speeds very seriously)!

Is my NBN upload speed too slow?

If you run a speed test, and your NBN upload speed is underperforming compared to what the plan offers, you might have issues with your home internet. It might be worth investigating why your internet is slow, or it could be worth changing your NBN provider.

Usually for NBN upload speeds, it’s fair to expect your speed to be within 5Mbps of the top possible speed on the plan – for example, an upload speed of 17Mbps on an NBN 50 plan (which offers upload speeds of 20Mbps) is usually about right. If your upload speed is well below the top speed, it’s worth finding out why:

  • Devices connected to your home internet could be uploading without your knowledge, and causing slower speeds for other devices – try to disconnect devices to narrow down the culprit.
  • Your router or modem-router could be faulty or not capable of providing faster upload speeds.
  • Network congestion could be causing slower speeds – try uploading content outside of busy network periods (the busiest time is usually 7pm to 11pm).
  • Your NBN connection type could be too slow for your uploading needs.

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