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Here’s how fast Australia’s top NBN providers really are

Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

  • The ACCC has found that TPG offers Australians the fastest average NBN speeds during peak hour.
  • Speed test results show premium-priced plans do not necessarily deliver higher speeds.
  • However, once poor quality connections are removed from the speed test, Optus, Telstra and TPG all come out on top by a small margin.

The ACCC recently released the results of its fourth real-world speed test of Australian NBN connections and found that customers, on average, are receiving close the speeds they’re paying for.

The ACCC found that the nine providers surveyed achieved an average of 78.9% – 86.1% of max possible speeds for their customers during the peak hours of 7pm – 11pm.

Here’s how each provider performed:

  • TPG – 86.1%
  • Aussie Broadband – 84.8%
  • Optus – 83%
  • Telstra – 82.7%
  • MyRepublic – 82%
  • Exetel – 81.7%
  • iiNet – 79.8%
  • Dodo & iPrimus – 78.9%

It would be easy to assume that Telstra, Australia’s most expensive NBN provider, would deliver the fastest NBN speeds to its customers. However, the ACCC speed test results tell a different story. In fact, some of the fastest providers are also delivering the best value NBN plans.

Here’s how unlimited data Premium speed NBN plans compare across all nine providers:

And here’s how they compare on unlimited data Standard Plus plans:

While ACCC speed test results look like a clear win for TPG, the ACCC did note that once it eliminated homes connected via poor NBN infrastructure from its testing sample, Optus rose to the top speed spot with customers receiving an average of 89.9% of their plan’s maximum speed during peak hours. Telstra and TPG came in a hair behind with 89.8% and 89.5% respectively.

Here’s the average speed of each provider after poor connections were removed:

  • Optus – 89.9%
  • Telstra – 89.8%
  • TPG – 89.5%
  • Aussie Broadband – 89%
  • MyRepublic – 88.9%
  • Exetel – 84.8%
  • Dodo & iPrimus – 84.6%
  • iiNet – 83.3%

Variation in the speed of NBN connections across providers can occur for a multitude of reasons. However, the main cause is usually the amount of NBN capacity purchased by each provider to service its customers. The more capacity a provider buys on the NBN, the faster its speeds tend to be, particularly during peak hours when more people are online competing for bandwidth.

The ACCC testing was conducted over 30 days during November 2018 across 980 households receiving service from 15 providers. Connections were a mix of NBN and ADSL services. While we have been unable to ascertain how many connections were NBN, based on past speed test samples we’re guessing it would be about 800 homes.

The speed test results are generally good news for Australians shopping for a new NBN plan. While some providers definitely performed better than others, all results are well above the ACCC’s minimum benchmark of 60% of max possible speeds during peak hour, and it’s likely most Australians would find any of the above results more than satisfactory.

Jacqui Dent is the Associate Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.

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