We rank fixed-line fibre to the node (FTTN), fibre to the premises (FTTP) and cable (HFC) NBN plans on whether they're meeting their claimed speed based on the ACCC's broadband monitoring results.
These are the best scorers from our most recent results. We leave out any scores lower than 70%. Any tied results for each month are represented by identical numbers in the first column.
FIBRE TO THE NODE (FTTN)
FIBRE TO THE PREMISES (FTTP)
*Telstra requires you to first sign up to a Tier 50 NBN plan so that your line speed can be tested. After you've signed up to Tier 50 you can upgrade to Tier 100, but only if Telstra finds your connection speed sufficient.
**Telstra no longer offers 100 speed plans to FTTN and other copper-based technologies.
Why we've partnered with WhistleOut
We've partnered with search engine WhistleOut to help you find and buy the right plan for you. While we make money if you buy through WhistleOut, this doesn't influence our rankings. 100% of the money we make goes straight back into our nonprofit mission.
Have NBN speeds been affected by COVID-19?
We found little difference overall between February and March results in 2020. While there is a much higher demand on the NBN due to COVID-19 restrictions and social isolation, NBN Co's decision to increase the bandwidth it provides to temporarily internet service providers appears to have been effective.
While some providers saw a slight dip in average speed (about 4% at worst), others are actually doing a bit better than the previous month.
However, our program at the time measured average speeds across the course of a day. It likely didn't pick up on problems such as short term lag spikes or temporary connection drop-outs that last a few minutes or seconds.
If you aren't sure what technology you have, you can contact your provider or enter your street address into our WhistleOut-powered search engine above (or visit choice.whistleout.com.au/broadband) to find out what connection type is available in your area.
But here are a few quick pointers if that's all you need. The points below describe most NBN connections for these technologies.
Fibre to the node (FTTN)
- Outside your premises Fibre to a street cabinet, then pre-existing copper lines to your house.
- Inside your premises Looks similar to an ADSL modem inside your house.
- Socket Uses your home's pre-existing phone wall sockets.
Fibre to the premises (FTTP)
- Outside your premises Fibre cable to a street cabinet, then more fibre to your house.
- Inside your premises One box installed on the outside of your house, two side-by-side wall-mounted boxes inside.
- Socket Doesn't use the old phone wall sockets in your house.
- Outside your premises Looks like a Telstra or Foxtel cable internet or cable TV connection.
- Inside your premises Needs a pre-existing cable (for the above) in your house or a new installation if necessary.
- Socket The inside box is not wall mounted and doesn't connect to old phone wall sockets.
We'll add fibre to the curb and satellite plans to this list as we gather more data from our testing program.
We report on three main speed tiers for NBN plans: 25/5 (or NBN standard), 50/20 (NBN standard plus) and 100/40 (NBN premium). While a lot of people are still on 25/5 plans, most major providers and many smaller providers have stopped offering them, now using the 50/20 speed as their most popular option.
The numbers indicate the speeds of both the maximum download (e.g. streaming video) and upload rate (e.g. saving something to the cloud) a plan can achieve.
- 25/5 = 25 megabits per second download, and 5 megabits per second upload (many providers no longer offer 25/5 plans).
- 50/20 = 50 megabits per second download, and 20 megabits per second upload.
- 100/40 = 100 megabits per second download, and 40 megabits per second upload.
To get an idea of how much speed you need, think of how many devices in your house use the internet at the same time. If it's just one or two screens streaming Netflix, then you could get by with a 50/20 plan.
If you have multiple users, such as households with large families or share houses, you may need a 100/40 plan.
CHOICE tip: It's usually easier to increase your plan's speed than decrease it once you've signed up, so it might be a good idea to start low and go up if you need it. Check with a service representative before you sign up if you'll incur additional fees for this.
You'll also need to decide how much data you need each month. Your current provider should offer a way to check your monthly usage online. Go over the last few months to get an idea of your maximum data usage per month.
CHOICE tip: Go with something a little higher than your current usage, as it may fluctuate or increase over time, but you don't necessarily need a 500GB or unlimited plan.
I'm not on a contract
If you're not on a contract, changing providers should be as easy as contacting your new provider and signing up to a new NBN plan. You can do this online, by phone or sometimes in-store, depending on what provider you're signing up to.
Your new NBN provider will contact your old one and make the switch. Your old plan will be cancelled at the end of your current billing month and your new plan will start around the same time. There may be some overlap in billing periods between the two providers, but you should be notified of the date your new billing period will start. There are often additional charges when signing up to a new provider, such as an activation fee or hardware costs.
I'm on a contract
If you're still within the term of a broadband contract, you'll need to ask your current provider what the cancellation process is. You may have to pay out all or part of your current contract and you may need to pay a termination fee.