Best Internet providers for streaming

Ready to lock in a plan for your binge-watching or uploading needs? Here’s a look at our top picks based on the latest ACCC report and more.

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There's nothing worse than buffering Internet when you're in the middle of streaming your favourite show on Netflix, Stan or Binge. The same goes for Twitch streamers – you don't want to be halfway through uploading your video and have the Internet slow down to a snail's pace.

If you're in the market for a reliable NBN provider to suit your streaming habits, then you've come to the right place.

Finding the best Internet provider for streaming

There is no single best Internet provider as it will depend on what you're looking for, whether you're more focused on price or performance. Always compare your options to find the best plan for your needs.

Who are the best providers for streaming?

We've used the ACCC broadband performance report from June 2021 plus pros and cons for each provider to inform our top picks below.

  1. Best Internet provider for streaming: Optus
  2. Next best provider for streaming: Exetel
  3. Best provider for download speeds: Optus
  4. Best for upload speeds: Exetel
  5. Best provider for low latency: Exetel
  6. Best Internet providers for Netflix: Optus, Telstra, TPG

1. Optus is the best provider for streaming

Optus once again claims the top spot for overall performance out of 10 providers tracked during the ACCC's real-live testing. It came:

  • 1st for highest download speeds during the busiest hour
  • 1st for download speeds during busy hours (7pm to 11pm)
  • 8th for upload speeds during busy hours
  • 3rd for latency

We combined all 4 ratings to come to our conclusion. To elaborate, the best combo you can get is to have a high-speed Internet with low latency.

While Optus did come 8th for upload speeds, most people won't notice the difference unless you're transferring big files and carrying out more than just standard game play.

Here are the plans you can choose from Optus:

2. Exetel is the next best provider for streaming

You might want to consider the next best option especially if you're after more options. Exetel came:

  • 4th for highest download speeds during the busiest hour
  • 2nd for download speeds during busy hours
  • 1st for upload speeds during busy hours
  • 2nd for latency

While Exetel's 4th spot for download speeds during the busiest hour may not seem convincing, it's only 0.6% and 2.1% behind its competition in the 2nd and 3rd position.

Strong upload speeds and latency will be a big plus if you're a gamer or Twitch/YouTube live-streaming enthusiast.

Here are the plans from Exetel:

3. Optus takes top spot for best download speeds

Optus took it home for average download speeds during busy hours (7pm-11pm) as revealed in the ACCC's latest report. That's why we've voted for it twice, both for overall performance and best download speeds.

Click here to compare Optus's plans

4. Exetel does well for upload speeds

Exetel not only took the top spot for upload speeds, it's done well as an all-rounder on most metrics to be a contender for your Internet streaming needs.

It should also be noted that Exetel has come first in upload speeds in the past reports, so it's got a pretty solid reputation for delivering consistent upload speeds.

Click here to compare Exetel's plans

5. Exetel is the best for low latency

Exetel is definitely giving providers a run for their money this month by coming out on top in another one of our categories.

While MyRepublic does dominate in latency, its poor showing in download speeds doesn't make it a stronger contender.

Instead, second-best Exetel came out a worthy winner for latency instead.

6. Optus, Telstra and TPG are the best providers for Netflix

Optus, Telstra and TPG tied first for speed in Netflix's streaming performance report, which was last updated in May 2021.

Optus requires you to pay a $99 set-up fee and the remaining cost of the modem if you exit before 36 months. But, you get Optus Sport and OS Fitness as freebies.

There is no set-up fee with Telstra but you will have to pay off the remaining cost of your modem if you exit before 24 months. You also get access to free Wi-Fi across various spots through Telstra Air, and Telstra Plus members can earn points that can be put towards rewards.

TPG's advantage is that you can BYO modem, avoid being locked into a contract and pay no set-up fee. If you don't have a compatible modem, you do have the option of getting one at no cost by signing on to a 6-month contract.

In a battle between the 3 providers, we think Telstra and TPG are good options here for streaming Netflix thanks to no lock-in contracts and no set-up fees being involved.

How to find the best streaming plan

To find the best plan for your streaming needs, consider how many people or devices will be sharing the connection. The table below shows the recommended NBN speed tier based on different use cases.

Number of devicesBest forNBN speed tier
1-2Web surfing, email, social, networking, moderate videoNBN 25
3-5Online multiplayer gaming, 4K streamingNBN 50 or NBN 100
More than 5All of the above plus sharing large files and live streaming videoNBN 100 or faster

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