NBN upload speeds

Find out if your upload speed is actually “good” and what you can do to improve it.

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Upload speeds are talked about way less than download speeds, but they're still important for a range of online activities. Things like conferencing, video uploads and more are often part of our daily lives.

Whether you're looking for a fix for your slow connection or simply want to know if your upload speed is up to scratch, we'll explain what a good upload speed is and what you can do to improve yours.

What is upload speed?

Upload speed is how quickly you can send files or information to another server or device on the Internet, measured in Mbps. It is usually much lower than your download speed, where you're downloading information from the Internet, instead.

How to check your upload speed

The easiest way to check your upload speed is by running an Internet speed test. It works by selecting a server that's close to you, then determining how quickly your connection can send and receive data from that server.

What do I do with my result?

You can use the upload speed number from the test to get a sense of how well your Internet connection is performing, as we'll explain in the next section.

Sick of slow upload speeds? Get an Internet plan on a faster speed tier today

What is a good upload speed?

What counts as a good upload speed will depend on what you're trying to do with your connection, as well as how many people are online. Each NBN speed tier has a maximum upload speed, but your actual upload speed will be a little lower than that.

Here's how each speed tier would go uploading a 1GB file at max speed:

Speed tierMaximum upload speedTime to upload a 1GB file
Basic I (NBN12)1Mbps2 hrs 13 mins
Basic II (NBN25)5Mbps26 mins 40 secs
Standard (NBN50)20Mbps6 mins 40 secs
Premium (NBN100)40Mbps3 mins 20 secs
Superfast (NBN250)25Mbps*5 mins 20 secs
Ultrafast (NBN1000)50Mbps*2 mins 40 secs

*The upload speeds listed for Superfast and Ultrafast are the default speeds available, but faster upload speeds are available on these speed tiers.

If you know what speed tier your NBN plan is on, then great! Simply compare the upload speed you go in our speed test to the maximum speed in the table above, and see how big the difference is. For example, if you're on an NBN 50 plan, your upload speed should hopefully be around 15-20Mbps. This would mean your connection is actually delivering the promised speeds (remember, the speeds in the tables are maximums, so speeds a little lower are to be expected).

If you're not sure what speed tier your NBN plan is on, you can either check your most recent Internet bill where your speed tier should be stated, or you can guess your speed tier based on your download speed and whether it's close to 25Mbps (you'd likely be on NBN 25), 50Mbps (NBN 50) and so on. Obviously, we'd recommend you using the first method to check as it's more accurate.

What upload speed is right for me?

If you're like most people, your biggest upload demands will be things like videos for social media, video conferencing, or perhaps uploading files for work or to share with friends. It may surprise you, but an upload speed of 5Mbps should be plenty for all of these activities, so an NBN25 plan should suit you fine.

There are a few cases where you might consider a beefier speed tier like NBN50 or even NBN100, such as:

  • Larger households where many people might be conferencing or uploading at once
  • YouTubers or video content makers who frequently upload big videos to various platforms
  • Streamers who need high upload speeds to stream in high definition
  • People who hate waiting 5-10 minutes for a big file to upload, or need to upload really quickly for work or other reasons

Why is my upload speed so slow?

There are plenty of reasons why your upload speed might be slow. Here are the major ones:

Network congestion
The more people using the network at once, the slower it runs for everyone. If you're using the Internet at a busy time, both your downloads and uploads may slow down significantly. Australia's busiest time is 7pm-11pm.

Connection Type
The type of NBN connection you have will affect your maximum upload speeds. The more copper cable there is in your connection, the worse it will be. Fibre to the Node is usually unreliable, while Fibre to the Premises is the best you can get. You won't get faster than NBN25 speeds on Fixed Wireless or Satellite.

Provider and plan
Not all providers offer the same quality of connection. While providers don't have typical evening benchmarks for upload speeds like they do for downloads, you'll find that good uploads usually go hand-in-hand with good download performance.

Wi-Fi and hardware
A poor or unstable Wi-Fi connection can slow down your connection significantly. Old or outdated hardware may be unable to process signals properly.

ADSL2+ and cable upload speed

These connection types rely upon older technology and are limited to about 2Mbps maximum upload speed. There really is no way to fix this, as it's a limit of the technology itself.

Your best option for improving your upload speed would be to switch to an NBN plan should it become available, or invest in mobile broadband or home wireless, which may deliver a better upload speed.

How to improve upload speed

If you're experiencing slow upload speeds and want some in-depth advice, you can check out our guide to fixing slow NBN speeds. These are some quick tips for you to try:

settings icon

Equipment fixes

network icon

Reduce network congestion

speed test icon

Wi-Fi fixes

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Switch providers

Compare Internet plans for faster upload speeds

Providers usually publish their plans' typical evening speeds for downloads, but they don't do the same for uploads.

The best way to approach this is to know what speed tier you want (one higher if you think your tier is too low) or selecting a provider with faster evening speeds. Remember your results from the speed test above? Check out what your download speed clocked in at - that's the evening speed you'd want to beat. Good download performance usually translates into good upload performance, too.

Frequently asked questions about NBN upload speeds

How important is upload speed?

Upload speed is only really important for a few activities. All but the most demanding won't require particularly high upload speeds, but you may find that you need them for:
  • Uploading large videos or other files
  • Online gaming
  • Live streaming
  • Video conferencing with large groups

What upload speed do you need to stream?

Upload speeds for streaming depend upon your video quality and your streaming platform. Remember that the below numbers are general guides, and consistency is important – you may want to invest in higher average upload speeds to make sure your stream is stable.
  • Facebook Live:
    • 3-4Mbps for 720p video
    • 6-7Mbps for 1,080p
  • Twitch:
    • 3.2-5Mbps for 720p video at 30 frames per second, or 4.4-6.2Mbps at 60 frames per second
    • 5.6-7.4Mbps for 1,080p video at 60 frames per second
  • YouTube:
    • 2-5Mbps for 720p video at 30 frames per second, or 2.9-7.4Mbps at 60 frames per second
    • 5.6-11Mbps for 1,080p at 60 frames per second
    • 11-21.8Mbps for 1,440p at 60 frames per second

Does upload speed matter for video conferencing?

It does, but you need much less than you'd think. Basic video conferencing with a single person needs less than 1Mbps, while high-quality 1,080p group conferencing will need around 3Mbps.

What happens if my upload speed is slow?

You can try our slow NBN speed fixes to see if that improves your connection. Otherwise, it might be a fault with your Internet service provider or the network. You can contact your provider's technical support for more assistance.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    MHCSYDAugust 19, 2020

    What ISP or solution can I approach in order to gain the highest and consistent upload performance. Our business is NBN ready but we are prepared to look at other options if NBN is limited, which it seems that it is?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ChrisAugust 25, 2020Staff

      Hi Mal,

      It’s hard to say as it depends on your location and how much bandwidth the ISPs that service that area have bought from NBN with respect to the number of customers they have.

      There are a few ISPs, like Aussie Broadband, that are transparent with this information and provide real-time data of demand vs bandwidth in your area. Perhaps you should start by taking a look through those first to see if it gives you the confidence you need to make a purchase.



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