Which NBN provider should you go with? We reviewed the speed of connection in homes around Australia and asked you to rate your satisfaction with your NBN provider. This feedback, and our test results, are used to determine the best NBN provider of 2021.
This year's Best NBN provider is Aussie Broadband with a score of 89%, ahead of Exetel (85%) and Telstra, and TPG (83%). Aussie Broadband scored well for average speed (90%) and overall satisfaction (88%). That said, it didn't quite take top spot in average speed, missing out by just 1%.
The Best Brand recommendation is given to companies with a clear lead over their competitors during the test period.
To find which specific services we recommend, click on the 'Recommended' box in the filters section of our broadband internet provider reviews.
Speed scores were high across the board, with one exception.
Telstra, Exetel, TPG and Optus took the top spot (91%), with Aussie Broadband (90%) hot on their heels. In fact, there was only a 1% difference from provider to provider, with the exception of Dodo and iPrimus, which scored 77% measured together (10% below the next lowest score).
Most providers had significantly lower upload scores compared to downloads. The one exception was Exetel, whose download and upload scores were comparable.
While downloads (receiving data from the internet) tend to be seen as more important, uploads are becoming crucial. This is in part because more people are working from home and often need to regularly upload data to centralised or cloud business servers, and because consumer technologies are demanding more data, among other factors.
Video chat services, social media (which now often includes transferring high resolution media), and some games can use quite a bit of upload bandwidth, to name a few uses.
If the upload capacity of an internet connection is maxed out, it affects the connectivity of an entire premises. So upload speeds should be a consideration when choosing a provider.
That said, all internet providers except for Dodo and iPrimus scored above 80% for upload speeds.
Aussie Broadband had the most satisfied NBN customers with a score of 88%, well ahead of runner-up Belong (80%).
Unfortunately, we didn't have enough data to report on real-world MBA speeds for Belong. As such, we can't give it a Best NBN Provider score.
For Best NBN Provider scoring, we combined our satisfaction survey data for Dodo and iPrimus, generating new scores for Overall NBN Satisfaction and NBN Speed Satisfaction we'd not previously reported. This is because the ACCC's speed monitoring program lumps the two together, so to give a Best NBN Provider score we had to follow suit with our satisfaction statistics.
See our full ISP Satisfaction Survey for more detailed results.
We found a discrepancy between how satisfied our survey respondents were with their NBN speed compared to the real-world performance data collected by the ACCC.
People appeared far less satisfied with their speed than connection data would suggest. Most of the telcos we had both speed and satisfaction data for scored 87% or above for real-world speed, with the exception of Dodo and iPrimus.
Yet the percentage of our survey respondents who rated their speeds as excellent or very good was generally in the 70s, except for Aussie Broadband (81%).
Even the top speed scorers show this gap, particularly Exetel with its 91% real-world speed score and 71% speed satisfaction score.
We have no data to indicate why this divide in perception versus performance data exists, but it's interesting to note.
We award Best NBN Provider scores based on two factors: speed and satisfaction. The average speed score and NBN satisfaction score are weighted equally to find a Best NBN Provider score.
NBN speed data
Data taken from the Measuring Broadband Australia (MBA) program of the ACCC. This program records real-world speeds of volunteers around Australia. The ACCC regularly releases this data in its raw form, which we take and apply a scoring system to so that you can more easily make sense of it. These scores are then uploaded to our online Broadband Performance Monitoring Program page. To create an overall real-world speed score for each telco, we used all the data we collected on each from the ACCC since September 2020.
NBN provider satisfaction
This is the overall NBN Satisfaction score for each provider from our ISP satisfaction survey. These NBN Satisfaction scores are only gathered from survey respondents who had an active NBN connection.
Who makes the cut?
If we don't have enough data on an NBN provider or product to supply relevant information on speed, satisfaction or both, we don't report on it.
The two scores rely on volunteers for feedback. If we have one but not the other, we can report on its performance in that area, but are unable to give it a Best NBN Provider score.
Examples of this include:
- Belong – we don't have enough speed data
- Superloop – we don't have enough NBN Satisfaction data
- MyRepublic – we don't have enough NBN Satisfaction data.
Why we've partnered with WhistleOut
We've partnered with search engine WhistleOut to help you find and buy the right plan for you. The 'Search Providers' button above will take you to their site. 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.