Typical evening NBN speeds explained

Understanding typical evening NBN speeds is vital to finding the right plan for your needs.

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Blurred highway

The National Broadband Network can be a tricky topic to understand. Terms like FTTN, nbn50 and RSP are thrown around, confusing everyone who isn't equipped with considerable technical knowledge. To make matters worse, the NBN landscape is constantly shifting, with the original plan to build an all-fibre network shafted in favour of a more complicated mixed-technology approach.

In an effort to simplify the language, the ACCC issued a series of guidelines back in 2017 around how telecommunications providers advertised the speeds of their NBN services. Where previously telcos sold their NBN plans based on the theoretical maximum speeds they could achieve, these new guidelines introduced the concept of "typical evening speeds", also known as typical peak-hour speeds.

Disclaimer: Typical evening speeds only apply to fixed line NBN services (those delivered with fibre and cable technologies). NBN fixed wireless is more prone to speed variability and external factors that affect connectivity.

What are typical evening NBN speeds?

To explain typical evening NBN speeds, we first need to look at Internet congestion.

When a telco decides to enter the NBN marketplace, it must purchase a set amount of bandwidth (also known as CVC) from nbnco – nbnco is the company that owns and operates the physical NBN infrastructure. That bandwidth represents how much Internet traffic the telco can support at any given time. A popular analogy is that of a highway, where bandwidth reflects the number of lanes on that highway and thus how many cars can travel side-by-side. The more bandwidth a telco purchases, the better-equipped it is to deliver the highest speeds possible for its customers.

If a telco purchases insufficient bandwidth, on the other hand, the situation becomes something like a peak-hour traffic jam. As the number of users accessing its NBN service at any one time exceeds its purchased bandwidth, Internet speeds slow for those customers. This is peak-hour congestion, and it's why you're more likely to encounter buffering videos or slow downloads during the evening than during the middle of a work day.

Typical evening speeds by NBN speed tier

Tier Typical evening download speed Typical evening upload speed
Basic 9Mbps 0.8Mbps
Standard 20Mbps 4Mbps
Standard Plus 40Mbps 15Mbps
Premium 80Mbps 30Mbps

Because congestion is based on the amount of bandwidth a telco purchases as well as how many customers it has, the impact of congestion can vary dramatically from telco to telco. That's why the ACCC issued its NBN advertising guidelines. To meet these guidelines, a telco cannot sell its NBN plans as capable of "up to 50Mbps" or "up to 100Mbps". Instead, it must indicate the typical speeds a customer is likely to receive during the busiest (and therefore most congested) period of the day: between the evening hours of 7pm and 11pm.

Which telcos offer the fastest typical evening speeds?

ProvidersBasicStandardStandard PlusPremium
Activ8me46.40 Mbps88.60 Mbps
10mates24.00 Mbps47.00 Mbps94.00 Mbps
Southern Phone10.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Aussie Broadband22.00 Mbps43.00 Mbps86.00 Mbps
Start Broadband23.00 Mbps45.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Kogan23.00 Mbps45.00 Mbps83.00 Mbps
Vodafone23.00 Mbps45.00 Mbps83.00 Mbps
Foxtel Broadband45.40 Mbps
Internode10.80 Mbps Mbps Mbps
Superloop44.40 Mbps90.00 Mbps
Inspired Broadband20.40 Mbps40.90 Mbps81.80 Mbps
Tomi Broadband20.91 Mbps43.60 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Flip10.00 Mbps43.00 Mbps
Exetel40.00 Mbps77.00 Mbps
TPG11.10 Mbps43.70 Mbps78.20 Mbps
iiNet20.80 Mbps43.70 Mbps83.30 Mbps
Harbour ISP42.20 Mbps82.70 Mbps
Tangerine21.00 Mbps42.00 Mbps83.00 Mbps
Dodo19.10 Mbps38.20 Mbps
Optus40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Telstra20.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
SpinTel21.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Australia Broadband10.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Bendigo Telco10.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps
Belong40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
iPrimus38.20 Mbps
Barefoot Telecom10.00 Mbps42.00 Mbps83.00 Mbps
Mate Communicate10.00 Mbps42.00 Mbps83.00 Mbps
Clear Broadband8.00 Mbps17.00 Mbps35.00 Mbps70.00 Mbps
MyRepublic43.00 Mbps Mbps

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