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Typical evening NBN speeds explained

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

The National Broadband Network can be a tricky topic to understand. Terms like FTTN, nbn50 and RSP are thrown around with wild abandon, muddying the waters for anyone 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 one of the more opaque elements of the NBN, 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.


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.

Knowing these speeds not only gives Aussies a clearer indication of the service they can expect to receive from a particular telco, it makes comparing different NBN plans significantly easier. The higher the typical evening speed, the faster and more consistent your Internet service will be.

When comparing NBN providers, you'll want to look for typical evening speeds that are close to the theoretical maximum speeds of the relevant NBN tier. For Basic NBN plans, this is 12Mbps; for Standard, it's 25Mbps; for Standard Plus it's 50Mbps; and for Premium it's 100Mbps. A Standard Plus NBN plan boasting typical evening speeds of 47Mbps, then, is quite attractive. One that advertises typical evening speeds of 30Mbps, on the other hand, is far more likely to suffer from slowdown and choppy Internet performance.

Which telcos offer the fastest typical evening speeds?

ProvidersBasicStandardStandard PlusPremium
iPrimus11.00 Mbps47.00 Mbps
Dodo11.00 Mbps24.00 Mbps47.00 Mbps
TPG10.00 Mbps42.70 Mbps71.40 Mbps
iiNet9.90 Mbps42.70 Mbps78.50 Mbps
Southern Phone9.00 Mbps46.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Foxtel Broadband44.50 Mbps
Aussie Broadband23.00 Mbps45.00 Mbps90.00 Mbps
Infinity42.00 Mbps60.00 Mbps
Start Broadband23.00 Mbps45.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Internode10.00 Mbps43.60 Mbps72.70 Mbps
Tomi Broadband20.91 Mbps43.60 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Flip10.48 Mbps21.92 Mbps43.27 Mbps
MyRepublic43.00 Mbps83.00 Mbps
Exetel11.00 Mbps43.00 Mbps83.00 Mbps
Tangerine10.00 Mbps42.00 Mbps
Inspired Broadband10.30 Mbps19.90 Mbps44.00 Mbps82.70 Mbps
NuSkope10.20 Mbps41.80 Mbps78.30 Mbps
Kogan23.00 Mbps45.00 Mbps83.00 Mbps
Optus9.00 Mbps20.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Telstra20.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps
Vodafone20.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
SpinTel9.60 Mbps40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
SkyMesh9.00 Mbps20.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Harbour ISP42.20 Mbps82.70 Mbps
Australia Broadband11.00 Mbps42.00 Mbps68.00 Mbps
Bendigo Telco10.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps
Clear Broadband8.00 Mbps17.00 Mbps35.00 Mbps70.00 Mbps
MyNetFone7.00 Mbps15.00 Mbps45.00 Mbps60.00 Mbps
Teleron6.00 Mbps15.00 Mbps40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Belong40.00 Mbps80.00 Mbps
Mint Telecom5.00 Mbps15.00 Mbps30.00 Mbps60.00 Mbps
Hello Broadband12.00 Mbps25.00 Mbps

Matt Sayer

Matt is a writer covering the latest tech, telco and video game news at finder.com.au. In his downtime from helping Aussies make informed decisions on their broadband, mobile phone, and streaming video plans, he likes exploring rich video game worlds and kicking back with a good book.

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