What’s a good NBN speed?

The right NBN speed depends on your household size and what you want to do online.

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When it comes to comparing NBN plans, you need the right speed for you and your household. There's no point paying for a plan that has everyone complaining about it not being fast enough.

You might hear terms like "NBN speed tier" and "typical evening speeds" being thrown around, but what do these actually mean? We're here to clear it up.

What are the different NBN speeds?

The NBN is split into six different speed tiers. While plan prices vary from provider to provider, as speed increases, so does price.

The NBN speed tiers are:

  • NBN 12 Basic I. 12Mbps download, 1Mbps upload.
  • NBN 25 Basic II. 25Mbps download, 5Mbps upload.
  • NBN 50 Standard. 50Mbps download, 20Mbps upload.
  • NBN 100 Fast. 100Mbps download, 40Mbps upload.
  • NBN 250 Superfast. 250Mbps download, 25Mbps upload.
  • NBN 1000 Ultrafast. 1000Mbps download, 50Mbps upload.

The figures up top include the default upload speeds; however, you can get different upload speeds on some speed tiers.

  • Example: You can get an NBN 100 plan with a maximum 20Mbps upload if you find you don't need 40Mbps. This plan will usually be cheaper since you're getting a lower upload speed.

Keep in mind that speed tiers only dictate the maximum speeds available, but won't actually be the most realistic measure of your NBN plan's speed.

This is where typical evening speeds come in.

What are typical evening speeds?

You'll see typical evening speeds a lot when comparing plans, rather than the speed tier (which will often be the name of the NBN plan).

They're called typical evening speeds because that's how fast your connection should be during the busiest time of the day on the Internet – between 7pm and 11pm. That's when most people are at home and online.

This can result in Internet congestion because there are too many people clogging the network like cars on a road, and can lead to slower speeds.

How do I know what a good speed is?

If you run an Internet speed test and find that your speed is slower than the typical evening speed advertised with your plan, this doesn't necessarily mean your plan is performing badly.

As a guideline, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) defines the minimum acceptable speed for some of the different tiers, as listed below:

  • Minimum 15Mbps for NBN 25 plans
  • Minimum 30Mbps for NBN 50 plans
  • Minimum 60Mbps for NBN 100 plans

Anything below these minimums is considered "poor" performance.

To make it easier for you, we've used these speeds in our table below so you can see whether your current speed is up to scratch.

NBN speed tierPoor speedsAverage speedsGood speeds
NBN Basic II (NBN 25)0-15 Mbps15-22 Mbps22-25 Mbps
NBN Standard (NBN 50)0-30 Mbps30-40 Mbps40-50 Mbps
NBN Fast (NBN 100)0-60 Mbps60-85 Mbps85-100 Mbps
NBN Superfast (NBN 250)0-110 Mbps110-150 Mbps150-250 Mbps
NBN Ultrafast (NBN 1000)0-250 Mbps250-500 Mbps500-1000 Mbps

If you find that your speed sits in the "poor speeds" category, it might be time for you to switch to a better plan that offers faster typical evening speeds.

If your speed seems to be going alright (either "average" or "good" speeds for your tier), but you're still not happy with your NBN speed, you may want to consider moving up a speed tier for even faster speeds.

Compare NBN plans now

What is a good NBN speed in Australia?

A good NBN speed in Australia is 25Mbps or faster, according to the Universal Service Guarantee (USG) announced on July 1, 2020. Under the Guarantee, NBN Co is obliged to provide at least 25Mbps speeds to Australians.

This doesn't mean that 25Mbps will be the best speed for everyone - it's just the minimum standard set by the guidelines. The right NBN speed for you will depend on a couple of factors.

Which NBN speed is right for me?

The right speed tier for you depends on how many people live in your household and what you're planning to do online.

To give you a better idea, we've listed the speed tiers below and what households and Internet activities it'd be best suited for.

NBN 12 (Basic I)

  • Household size: 1 person
  • Good for: Basic Internet use like emails, social media and web browsing

NBN 25 (Basic II)

  • Household size: 1-2 people
  • Good for: Light Internet use including standard video streaming (e.g. YouTube) and gaming

NBN 50 (Standard)

  • Household size: 2-3 people
  • Good for: Medium to heavy Internet use like HD video streaming, gaming or working from home

NBN 100 (Fast)

  • Household size: 4+ people
  • Good for: Lots of gaming, Ultra HD video streaming, and various online activities with everyone logged in at the same time

NBN 250 (Superfast)

  • Household size: 5+ people, or a small business
  • Good for: Multiple 4K streams at once, huge file downloads, large game updates, sharing your connection with multiple people online at the same time

NBN 1000 (Ultrafast)

  • Household size: Small to medium businesses
  • Good for: Can handle almost any amount of online traffic all at the same time, so go crazy with downloads, fancy streams, whatever you want. We wouldn't recommend this speed for personal Internet use as it'll usually be overkill for your needs

These recommendations should be used as a guideline as your personal circumstances may mean you need more or less speed.

Compare NBN plans below

You can compare plans using the table below to find one that suits your needs. The download speed filter sorts by typical evening speed.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    BillDecember 31, 2019

    We want to be able to use two PCs for word processing and watch movies on SBS and iView and maybe Netflix between 7pm and 11pm. How much data would we need?

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiJanuary 4, 2020

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for your comment and I hope you are doing well.

      If you’re watching a live stream, SBS On Demand may use as much as 1.2MB per hour. Serious streamers should opt for a plan with at least 500GB per month, but if you’re exclusively watching SBS On Demand, you could easily get away with a smaller allowance.ABC recommends a minimum Internet speed of 1.5Mbps for best results and provides the following guide for how much data iView typically uses: A 60-minute program will consume up to 300MB of data on-demand and 360MB when live streamed.

      For watching Netflix, you would need about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video. This means you would need around 17-20 MB per day. You can multiply that amount for how much you are watching TV for 30 days and you would know how much data you would need all in all.

      Hope this helps and feel free to reach out to us again for further assistance.


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