The best internet providers for Netflix

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There’s no denying the popularity of Netflix, with Australians signing up in their millions since the TV content streaming service was officially launched Down Under in March 2015. We obviously love to watch content on demand, with shows like Stranger Things, You, and Brooklyn Nine Nine dominating our TV screens in place of traditional, free-to-air television. But in order to watch your favourite shows and movies properly, you’ll need to have a fast and reliable internet connection.

Australia is not well-known for its state-of-the-art internet speeds. While the NBN is meant to be providing better speeds – and research suggests speeds are improving – our demand for high speeds are increasing with our insatiable appetite for streaming. So which broadband providers offer the best streaming performance, according to Netflix?

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Best Internet Providers for Netflix

Netflix has ranked the top internet providers for streaming in Australia, with figures correct as at March 2019. For the second month in a row, Telstra’s NBN speeds have taken out the top spot.

The Netflix ISP speed index lists the average prime time bit-rate for content streamed to Netflix subscribers each month. To compile the rankings, Netflix measure for all available end-user devices in Megabits per second (Mbps). You can then choose the country (in this case Australia) that you want to compare service providers for, and the website brings up the necessary information, with a few disclosures:

  • Netflix download speeds are likely to be slower during prime time hours (i.e. evenings from 7pm – 11pm). So the speeds cited above may actually be higher at certain points, like early morning and mid-afternoon, as fewer people are likely to be streaming.
  • The absolute minimum internet speed required watching Netflix is 0.5Mbps, but this will give a poor image quality. The higher your speed, the more consistently high-quality your stream will be.

On the whole, speeds have improved dramatically in less than a year. All major providers in Australia have improved speeds in the last three months, with Telstra, Aussie Broadband, Optus, iiNet, TPG and Exetel all now averaging over 4Mbps.

Below are some Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans from mentioned providers, in monthly price order. These include sponsored products.

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

NBN Standard Plus Unlimited (12 month contract)

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $20 upfront modem shipping fee

min. cost $739.88 over 12 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $59.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
TPG Logo

NBN50 SL

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $99.95 setup fee on no lock-in contracts

min. cost $199.94 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $69.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Dodo Logo

Unlimited Plan – Supercharged

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • Special offer: $5 monthly discount – was $75/mth
  • Fetch available for $15 per month

min. cost $1,680 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Data^^/billing period

Family

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • Optional modem $149 ($15 P&H)

min. cost $79 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
iiNet Logo

NBN50 Liimitless

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • Includes Fetch set top box
  • Optional included modem ($10 delivery fee)

min. cost $1,919.76 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Optus Logo

85 Bundle Plan

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $99 upfront fee
  • Includes Optus Sport
  • Includes phone line & unlimited national calls

min. cost $2,139 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Data^^/billing period
Telstra Logo

Unlimited

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $306 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
iPrimus Logo

Entertainment Supercharged

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $55 activation fee + $15 P&H
  • One month free

min. cost $2,230 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

How does Netflix speed indexing work?

Netflix periodically publishes its own speed index to measure and rank the performance of each of the biggest Australian internet service provider in terms of how well they stream its content. Netflix notes that this is a measure of ‘prime time’ Netflix streaming performance of the top six ISPs in Australia. This is not a measure of overall performance of a network, rather just how fast each service can download Netflix.

Some things to be aware of:

  • Your ISP may prioritise traffic differently.
  • Your particular exchange may have different contention ratios (the number of users sharing the same bandwidth) to those in other neighbourhoods.
  • Peak times are generally between 7pm and 11pm. Note that streaming outside of these hours may yield different results.

If you’re in the market for a broadband plan that will deliver the best Netflix-watching experience, we’ve taken a look at the top seven telcos below.

Netflix Streaming with Telstra

Telstra now sits at number one in regards to speed, and this is probably no surprise. The telco now features the NBN 50 speed tier on many of its plans as standard, and was among the first to be more realistic about the speeds customers can expect in peak times. In mid-2016, it was only rating in the mid-twos for Mbps, meaning that Telstra has probably put a lot of time and effort into improving its infrastructure.

One of Telstra’s main selling points is that it has huge contracts with various entertainment companies to provide users with entertainment bundles. You can bundle your service with Foxtel, Foxtel Now or Kayo, or include Telstra TV in your plan. Telstra has also recently launched unlimited data internet plans which takes some of the concern out of consistent Netflix streaming. However, for this you’ll be paying $90 each month. If you want a cheaper deal, the next step down is a relatively low 100GB for $70 a month.

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

Essential

  • Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25)
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $286 for first month

100GB Max Data**/billing period $70Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Telstra Logo

Unlimited

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $216 modem (free when you stay connected for 24 months)
  • Special offer: $99 connection fee waived (online only)
  • Unlimited local, national & mobile calls included

min. cost $306 for first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Netflix Streaming with Exetel

Exetel continues to improve, now offering an average speed of over 4Mbps during prime-time hours. Exetel not only provides cheap mobile phone plans and some of the cheapest NBN plans out there, it also provides cheap unlimited DSL data too. NBN plans start at $59.99 for Standard Plus Evening Speed.

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

NBN Standard Plus Unlimited (12 month contract)

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $20 upfront modem shipping fee

min. cost $739.88 over 12 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $59.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
Exetel

NBN Premium Unlimited (12 month contract)

  • Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100)
  • $20 upfront modem shipping fee

min. cost $1099.88 over 12 month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $89.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Netflix Streaming with iiNet

Way back  in June 2015, iiNet was the number one ranked ISP on this list, but this does not mean iiNet has slipped – rather, the others have just caught up. Here, iiNet’s cheapest unlimited plan is $69.99 a month, with voice packs a from an additional $10. This price on the NBN includes NBN 12 speeds, while speed boosts start at $10 a month extra.

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

NBN 12 Limiitless

  • Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12)
  • Fetch included
  • Optional included modem ($10 delivery fee)

min. cost $1,679.76 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $69.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
iiNet Logo

NBN 50 Liimitless

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • Fetch included
  • Optional included modem ($10 delivery fee)

min. cost $1,919.76 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
iiNet Logo

NBN 100 Liimitless

  • Premium Evening Speed (NBN 1000
  • Fetch included
  • Optional included modem ($10 delivery fee)

min. cost $2,399.76 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $99.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Netflix Streaming with TPG

TPG tends to be pretty steady in this middle position, but still generally performs quite well. The telco remains one of the more popular ISPs in Australia, despite it still being seen as an underdog compared to Telstra and Optus. TPG offers unlimited internet from $59.99 per month (on NBN 12), with included unlimited calls available for an extra $10 per month.

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

NBN12 SL

  • Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12)
  • $99.95 setup fee on no lock-in contracts
  • 3 months free TPG Mobile on 18 month contracts

min. cost $1,109.82 over 18 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $59.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
TPG Logo

NBN50 SL

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $99.95 setup fee on no lock-in contracts
  • 3 months free TPG Mobile on 18 month contracts

min. cost $1,289.82 over 18 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $69.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
TPG Logo

NBN100 SL

  • Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100)
  • $99.95 setup fee on no lock-in contracts
  • 3 months free TPG Mobile on 18 month contracts

min. cost $1,649.82 over 18 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $89.99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Netflix Streaming with Aussie Broadband

Aussie Broadband frequently tops speed tests for its fast, industry-leading NBN. Its premium NBN 100 plan lists a typical evening speed of 90Mbps; currently, this is faster than typical evening speeds cited by Telstra (80Mbps), so it’s no surprise that the telco consistently ranks high in Netflix’s speed listing. Unlimited data from Aussie Broadband starts at $69 per month (NBN 25), with premium speeds available for $99 monthly.

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

Everyday

  • Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25)
  • Optional modem $149 ($15 P&H)

min. cost $69 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $69Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site

Family

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • Optional modem $149 ($15 P&H)

min. cost $79 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $79Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site

Power User

  • Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100)
  • Optional modem $149 ($15 P&H)

min. cost $99 over first month

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $99Advertised Data^^/billing period Go To Site
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Netflix Streaming with Dodo/iPrimus

Dodo and iPrimus – as part of the Vocus Communications group – have slipped to seventh place overall, with non-NBN connections from Telstra and Optus both offering slightly faster average speeds. On the plus side though, both Dodo and Primus both tend to offer some of the cheaper and simpler unlimited plans out there, with Dodo offering unlimited data from $70 per month. If cost is more of a concern than flat-out speed for Netflix, Dodo and Primus may be more suited to you.

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

101GB Plan

  • NBN Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25)

min. cost $1,440 over 24 months

101GBMax Data**/billing period $60Advertised Data^^/billing period
Dodo Logo

Unlimited Plan – Supercharged

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • Special offer: $5 monthly discount – was $75/mth

min. cost $1,680 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $70Advertised Data^^/billing period
iPrimus Logo

Unlimited Supercharged

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $60 modem on 12 month plan
  • One month free
  • Bonus 2000 international minutes or unlimited calls to AU numbers on 24 month contracts

min. cost $1,920 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $80Advertised Data^^/billing period
iPrimus Logo

Entertainment Supercharged

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $55 activation fee + $15 P&H

min. cost $2,230 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $90Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

Netflix Streaming with Optus

After a long reign at the top, Optus has slipped down to third place. However, don’t be alarmed – it’s only a little off the mark of Aussie Broadband Telstra, and could very well take top spot again next time.  Optus’ unlimited plans start at $85 per month for NBN 50 speeds, with the $99 plan including Fetch TV set top box, a premium channel pack, and Optus Sport.

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

85 Bundle Plan

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $99 upfront fee
  • Includes Optus Sport
  • Includes phone line & unlimited national calls

min. cost $2,139 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $85Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

99 Bundle Plan

  • Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50)
  • $99 upfront fee
  • Includes Fetch TV + channel pack and Optus Sport
  • Includes phone line & unlimited national calls

min. cost $2,475 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $99Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

85 Bundle Plan + speed boost

  • Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100)
  • $99 upfront fee
  • Includes Optus Sport
  • Includes phone line & unlimited national calls

min. cost $2,859 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $115Advertised Data^^/billing period
Optus Logo

99 Bundle Plan + speed boost

  • Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100)
  • $99 upfront fee
  • Includes Fetch TV + channel pack and Optus Sport
  • Includes phone line & unlimited national calls

min. cost $3,195 over 24 months

UnlimitedMax Data**/billing period $129Advertised Data^^/billing period
View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue

How does Australian internet compare globally?

To put it frankly, Australian internet in terms of Netflix speeds has, until recently, been lacklustre. Even compared to internet providers in New Zealand –  thanks to the country’s fibre infrastructure that spans most of the nation – Australia appeared to be falling behind. However, in spite of recent challenges – such as the requirement for NBN providers to pay CVC costs – Australia’s average Netflix speeds are steadily increasing.

To see how Australia ranks worldwide, we’ve listed the top February speeds for other countries below. Keep in mind that this list isn’t a measure of general broadband speed, just a measurement of the prime time Netflix performance of included ISPs.

  • USA: 4.56Mbps
  • UK: 4.48Mbps
  • Japan: 4.46Mbps
  • Romania: 4.39Mbps
  • Germany:  4.30Mbps
  • Netherlands: 4.28Mbps
  • Singapore: 4.25Mbps
  • New Zealand: 4.24Mbps
  • Canada: 4.20Mbps
  • France: 4.11Mbps

Although Asian and European countries traditionally do quite well in speed rankings, Australia is beginning to catch up. Our major providers are averaging peak time Netflix speeds of 4Mbps and up, on par with other leading Western countries (and finally faster than Romania’s monthly average). While Australia on a global scale has a bit of work to do, speeds are definitely improving.

Is it worth upgrading my internet for Netflix?

Spending money to save money is almost never an instant process. Say you’ve already found a great, cheap plan with adequate data that suits your budget: it likely makes little sense to upgrade to a more expensive plan just for the sake of getting unmetered Netflix. However, if you’re reaching the end of the month pulling your hair out trying to conserve gigabytes, or tired of frequent buffering and low-quality streams, you might find it worth your money to upgrade to a faster unlimited data plan.

The best option is to find a plan that is similar in price to your current one. The lure of Telstra with both Telstra TV and the best Netflix speeds is undeniable, but there’s also plenty of providers that offer more affordable plans, depending on your choice of NBN speed tier. Generally, most Netflix watchers will get a great experience from Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans, but if you’re in a multi-user household, you may benefit from a bump to Standard Plus (NBN 50); you can read more about NBN evening speeds here.

Overall, broadband plans and prices in Australia are improving – so if Netflix is your main entertainment option, there’s plenty of great NBN and ADSL plans and deals out there to keep your streaming stress-free.

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