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 March 2021 plus pros and cons for each provider to inform our top picks below.

  1. Best Internet provider for streaming: TPG
  2. Next best provider for streaming: Optus
  3. Best provider for download speeds: TPG
  4. Best for upload speeds: Vodafone
  5. Best provider for low latency: Aussie Broadband
  6. Best Internet provider for Netflix: Optus

1. TPG is the best provider for streaming

TPG claims the top spot for overall performance out of 10 providers tracked during the ACCC’s real-live testing. It came:

  • Joint-first for highest download speeds during the busiest hour.
  • 1st for download speeds during busy hours (7pm to 11pm).
  • 4th for upload speeds during busy hours.
  • 5th for latency.

We combined all four 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 TPG comes fifth for latency, the difference between it and top-spot holder Superloop is just a minor millisecond.

Here are the plans you can choose from TPG:

As a final look, we've rounded some pros and cons for TPG below:

  • It won Finder's Best High Speed NBN Plan Award in 2020.
  • It's one of the few providers to offer phone bundles.
  • There's a $99.95 set-up fee if you don't sign up for a 6 month contract.

2. Optus comes in next for best streaming provider

You might want to consider the next best option especially if it's a hard-hitter like Optus with almost identical download speeds as TPG. It came:

  • Joint-first for highest download speeds during the busiest hour.
  • 2nd for download speeds during busy hours.
  • 8th for upload speeds during busy hours.
  • 7th for latency.

However, low upload speeds and a slightly poor showing in latency may rule it out if you're a gamer or Twitch/YouTube live-streaming enthusiast. Instead, check out our Internet plans for gamers to sort you out.

Here are the plans from Optus:

Here's a final look at the pros and cons of signing up with Optus:

  • Top-tier speeds
  • Bonus Optus Sport subscription and Fetch bundles
  • Expensive plans if you add on the perks

3. TPG takes top spot for best download speeds

It was a close call between TPG and Optus but alas, TPG took it home with a 0.2% lead in download speeds during busy hours as revealed in the ACCC's latest report. It's why we've voted for it twice – both for overall performance and best download speeds.

Compare TPG's NBN plans now

4. Vodafone does well for upload speeds

This was a tough pick. While Exetel took the top spot for best upload speeds, we weren't convinced by it's poor showing in download speeds during busy hours.

While upload speeds are important for live-streamers, we still think the best plan should have a decent download speed so you can enjoy Netflix as well.

Instead, we went with Vodafone for coming second for upload speeds and faring better in other areas. It clocked in:

  • 6th for highest download speeds during the busiest hour.
  • 8th for download speeds during busy hours.
  • 2nd for upload speeds during busy hours.
  • 4th for latency.

Here are the plans from Vodafone:

Here's a quick review of what Vodafone offers:

  • Bundling discounts if you buy several Vodafone services.
  • 4G back-up mobile Internet with Vodafone's modem.
  • Performance and speed could be better for the price you're paying.

5. Aussie Broadband is the best for low latency

Aussie Broadband came a close second for low latency after Superloop (0.1ms difference), but we went with Aussie for exceeding in ranks for download speeds. These are important for any user keen to experience seamless streaming.

Aussie clocked in:

  • Joint 4th for download speeds during the busiest hours (Superloop came 9th)
  • 5th for download speeds during busy hours (Superloop came 7th)
  • 10th for upload speeds
  • 2nd for low latency

Here are the plans from Aussie:

Here's a final look at the pros and cons of signing up with Aussie Broadband:

  • 100% Australian customer support
  • Customisable data limits and upload speeds
  • Not the cheapest plans on the market

6. Optus is the best provider for Netflix

Optus grabbed the top spot for speed in Netflix's streaming performance report, which was last updated in April 2021.

This doesn't come as a surprise since Optus also topped the list for most reliable speeds in the ACCC report in the same month.

However, be prepared to pay a $99 setup fee and the remaining cost of the modem if you exit before 36 months. This is on top of its already premium-priced plans.

Compare Optus's NBN plans now

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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