The Best Internet for Streaming in Australia

When it comes to streaming Netflix, YouTube or live streaming on Twitch, Australian broadband can be your worst enemy.
  • Best overall

    Telstra NBN

    #1 in Netflix and YouTube rankings
  • Best download speeds


    #1 in ACCC download speed report
  • Best upload speeds

    Exetel NBN

    #1 in ACCC upload speed report
  • Lowest latency

    Telstra NBN

    Lowest latency according to ACCC

TPG takes the cake for downloads, Exetel for uploads and Telstra comes out on top as the best provider for streaming overall.

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as some poorly-timed buffering right as the action is about to kick off. We found this out the hard way during the final season of Game of Thrones. The NBN might have improved things somewhat for the percentage of Australians who have access to it but we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Many Australians still have trouble managing a reliable HD 1080p stream, let alone a solid 4K stream, and live streaming on Twitch or YouTube is simply out of the question for many.

Thankfully, there are a handful of transparent speed tracking initiatives that are taking Australian telcos to task and keeping them honest. These providers offer the best internet for streaming in Australia, according to results pulled from ACCC, Netflix and YouTube.

To calculate these results, we scored each provider based on its ranking on the Netflix ISP Leaderboard, Google’s Video Quality report and the ACCC’s latest broadband performance data for download speed, upload speed and latency. We also gave bonus points to providers that offer some kind of bundled TV streaming service.

The best internet providers for streaming

Overall, Telstra came out on top as the best provider for streaming in Australia. It came in first place for Netflix and YouTube streaming and the ACCC reports Telstra as the ISP that delivers the lowest latency (11.4ms) on average (an important metric for gamers and streamers).

TPG has the most consistent download speeds during busy hours, according to the ACCC. In addition to nabbing the highest rating for download speed, TPG also comes third place for upload speeds, second place for latency and second place in Google’s Video Quality report. TPG shares second place in our overall ranking with Optus NBN.

Exetel scored the highest for upload speeds in the ACCC’s latest report and just so happens to be one of the most generously priced NBN providers on the market, with some super competitive NBN 50 plans. It also ranked third for download speeds and latency, making Exetel an obvious choice for the budget-minded. Overall, Exetel shares third place with Aussie Broadband in our ISP streaming ranking.

What is a good upload speed for live streaming?

Twitch recommends upload speeds between 3 and 6 Mbps for live streaming. But that number doesn’t take any other bandwidth or devices into account. If you average around 3Mbps upload when you’re home alone, you won’t see the same with 2 or more people on the same WiFi network.

When it comes to upload speeds, higher is always better for live streaming. We’d recommend a 50/20 Mbps NBN plan at minimum and a 100/40 plan where possible.

What is a good download speed for streaming video?

There’s a variety of video quality and compression technologies delivered by SVOD (streaming video-on-demand) services available in Australia, so the requirements differ between providers. Here’s a quick run-down of the minimum requirements and recommended speeds for a selection SVOD providers currently available in Australia:

Note: Speeds quoted for SD, HD and UHD are a recommended speed for a stable stream, not minimum speeds.

Minimum SpeedStandard DefinitionHigh Definition 1080pUltra High Definition (4K)
Netflix0.5 Mbps3.0 Mbps5.0 Mbps25 Mbps
Stan0.6 Mbps3.0 Mbps7.5 Mbps15 Mbps
Foxtel NowN/A3.0 Mbps7.0 MbpsN/A
YouTube0.5 Mbps1.1 Mbps5 Mbps20 Mbps
Kayo Sports1.5 Mbps2.5 Mbps7.5 MbpsN/A

What is the best internet streaming device?

Just about anything with a connection to the internet can be described as a streaming media device these days so it really depends on what you already own, what’s most convenient, which services you are subscribed to and which ISP you pay for your broadband and mobile plan.

For example, do you regularly use a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One? Well, both devices make for very capable streaming devices, with compatible apps for Netflix, Stan, Prime Video, Foxtel Now and many more.

If you don’t have either of those (or any other internet streaming device/smart TV) then your best bet for our money is the Google Chromecast Ultra. This sleek dongle plugs straight into your television’s HDMI port and is operated entirely from your smartphone. It’s also capable of 4K streaming and one of the cheapest streaming media devices on the market, regularly retailing at around $99 (or $59 for the non-4K version).

If you’re a diehard Apple fan, you might swing towards the company’s 4K Apple TV.

Then there are internet bundles to consider. A selection of Telstra’s broadband plans include Telstra TV 3 (a rebadged Roku box) at no extra cost. It’s a decent little device with plenty of compatible apps, 4K streaming and an included remote control for those who don’t dig smartphone controls.

Foxtel also has its own streaming media device, the Foxtel Now Box. The less said about that, the better. While Optus will also bundle you a Fetch TV with its broadband plans, and Vodafone will sling you its Vodafone TV. If that sort of thing floats your boat, head over to our comprehensive guide to the best broadband bundles available.

How much data does live streaming on Twitch use?

Planning on kicking off a streaming career and bringing in those fat stacks of Twitch affiliate cash? You’re probably going to want a broadband plan with unlimited data.

Live streaming on Twitch can use anywhere between 0.22 and 1.57GB per hour, depending on the quality you stream in. Treated alone, that’s not so bad but it’s in addition to your regular data usage habits. If you live stream in 1080p once a day, you will need to account for up to 48GB more (per month) than usual.

How much data does streaming Netflix and YouTube use?

On average, Netflix uses about 1GB of data per hour for standard definition streaming, up to 3GB per hour for 1080p high definition streaming and around 7GB per hour for 4K/UHD streaming. Pretty straightforward. YouTube’s data usage gets a little more complicated. Ranging from 225MB per hour for low-quality 240p streaming to 15.98GB per hour for 2160p 4K streaming at 60FPS (frames per second).

Most will be streaming YouTube in 720p or 1080p, which can use up to 1.86GB and 3.04GB per hour, respectively

How much data does streaming a movie use?

How much data is used to stream a movie depends on the runtime of the movie, the quality you are streaming in, and the provider you are streaming it through. For the sake of this article, let’s say you mainline Netflix. To give you an idea of how much data that will use, we’ll use two example movies: Okja and Roma.

Okja comes in at a modest 1 hour and 45 minutes. If you’re watching Okja in SD, you will use roughly 1.75GB all up. Around 5.25GB in HD and up to 12.25GB for 4K.

Roma, on the other hand, is a little longer at 2 hours and 15 minutes. Roma will use roughly 2.25GB in SD, around 6.75GB in HD and up to 15.75GB in 4K.

Things can escalate quite quickly in 4K. As shown above, 30 minutes difference can result in an additional 3.5GB of data usage.

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