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.

Exetel
Exetel NBN
3 out of 5 stars
3
Starts at
$53.95
/mo
Download speeds
1st place
Upload speeds
2nd place
Latency
1st place
Optus
Optus NBN
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$79
/mo
Download speeds
2nd place
Upload speeds
1st place
Latency
6th place
Telstra
Telstra NBN
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$80
/mo
Download speeds
3rd place (busiest hour)
Upload speeds
6th place
Latency
7th place
Dodo
Dodo NBN
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$53.90
/mo
Download speeds
6th place
Upload speeds
4th place
Latency
4th place
Iprimus
iPrimus NBN
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starts at
$75
/mo
Download speeds
6th place
Upload speeds
4th place
Latency
4th place
Brodie Fogg
Editorial Lead
Read More
July 18, 2022
5 min read

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There’s nothing quite as frustrating as some poorly-timed buffering right as the action is about to kick off with your streaming service of choice. The NBN (National Broadband Network) 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.

Still, some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are better for streaming than others. It’s near-impossible to say with certainty what your experience will be like with any given provider, but using the data supplied in the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) Broadband performance report, we can at least steer you in the right direction.

But first, here's a quick view of the plans offered by the best NBN providers for streaming in Australia. 

The figures quoted in this article are accurate as of the June 2022 ACCC Broadband performance report.

Best internet provider for streaming

pro
Pros
pro 1st place for typical download speeds during busy and busiest hours
pro 1st place for low latency (on average)
pro 2nd place for typical download speeds during busy hours
con
Cons
con Not the cheapest NBN provider

Exetel was one of the first NBN providers in Australia to benefit from the ACCC's reporting, scoring top marks early on (and subsequently making it a primary focus of its marketing campaigns). Exetel's early glory faded soon after when it's results began to take a plunge but in 2022, Exetel is back on top. In the June 2022 ACCC broadband performance report, Exetel scored first place for download speeds and average latency and second place for upload speeds. Exetel's plans aren't quite as competitive as other providers any more but it still offers a decent range of limited-time promotional deals. 

Next best NBN provider for streaming

pro
Pros
pro 2nd place for typical download speeds during busy and busiest hours
pro 1st place for typical upload speeds
con
Cons
con 6th place for average latency
con Not competitively priced

Optus needs no introduction but while you might know it for its pricier plans, there are a few reasons why it charges a premium. Firstly, there’s performance, as evidenced by its download and upload speeds. Not only did Optus score second place for download speeds during busy (and busiest) hours but it also had the most consistent upload speeds on average according to the ACCC's June 2022 report. 

However, one score Optus continues to struggle to improve is its average latency. In the latest report, Optus placed sixth for latency. If you stuggle with ping and latency on Optus, you might be better off with Exetel, Superloop or Aussie Broadband (the top three performers for low latency). 

3. Telstra

Tied for third best

pro
Pros
pro 3rd place for download speeds during busiest hour
pro 4th place for download speeds during busy hours
con
Cons
con 6th place for typical upload speeds
con 7th place for average latency

Tied for third place in the ACCC's report for download speeds, upload speeds and latency, we have Telstra, Dodo and iPrimus. Each ended up with the same overall score but demonstrated different strengths and weaknesses. 

For Telstra, you're getting more consistent typical download speeds during busy hours but less promising upload speeds and latency. You're also paying that classic Telstra premium which is something worth considering when signing up for any NBN plan. 

Tied for third place

pro
Pros
pro 4th place for typical upload speeds
pro 4th place for average latency
con
Cons
con 6th place for download speeds during busy hours
con 6th place for download speeds during busiest hour

Matched with Telstra for third-place, Dodo and iPrimus scored the exact same result because the ACCC counts them as a single provider. Both Dodo and iPrimus are part of the Vocus Group and effectively deliver the same service, just with different pricing. 

Dodo and iPrimus both scored fourth place for typical upload speeads and average latency but only sixth place for typical download speeds. 

We recommend Dodo over iPrimus for the simple fact that its plans are currently cheaper, and that it allows you to bundle your internet with electricity and gas if you're already a Dodo customer.  

Tied for third place

pro
Pros
pro 4th place for typical upload speeds
pro 4th place for average latency
con
Cons
con 6th place for download speeds during busy hours
con 6th place for download speeds during busiest hour

While we recommend Dodo over iPrimus for overall value, there are some benefits to being an iPrimus customer too. It offers a bonus modem on 12-month plans, flexible speed tier options and bundles for Fetch TV. Those benefits aside, iPrimus also offers a good number of support options (that, in our experience, have been genuinely helpful). 

What is the best streaming device in Australia?

Chromecast plugged into TV

Chromecast with Google TV services all your streaming needs for just $99.

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. That said, we do have some recommendations on the best streaming devices available in Australia.

For example, do you regularly use a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X? 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 streaming device/smart TV) then your best bet for our money is the Chromecast with Google TV. This dongle plugs straight into your television’s HDMI port and is operated entirely from the pack-in remote or your smartphone or tablet. It’s also capable of 4K streaming and one of the cheapest streaming media devices on the market, regularly retailing at around $99.

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

Then there are broadband 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. If Telstra’s not your preference, there are a few broadband providers, including Optus, that offer Fetch TV bundles.

Photo of Smartphone using Twitch - Best Internet For Streaming

Streaming Twitch can use up to 1.75GB per hour

Commonly asked questions about streaming

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about internet requirements for streaming in Australia.

Twitch recommends upload speeds between 3Mbps and 6Mbps 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 Fast NBN (100/40) connection where possible, and a Standard NBN (50/20) connection where possible.

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 of SVOD providers currently available in Australia:

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

When it comes to upload speeds, higher is always better for live-streaming. We’d recommend Fast NBN (100/40) connection where possible, and a Standard NBN (50/20) connection where possible.

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 to start with.

Live-streaming on Twitch can use anywhere between 0.22GB 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 per day, you will need to account for up to 48GB more (per month) than usual.

On average, Netflix uses about 1GB of data per hour for Standard Definition (SD) streaming, up to 3GB per hour for 1080p High Definition (HD) streaming and around 7GB per hour for 4K streaming. Pretty straightforward.

YouTube’s data usage is a little more complicated. It ranges 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 is used streaming a movie depends on the runtime, 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 examples, Okja and Roma.

Okja comes in at a modest 105 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 135 minutes. Streaming Roma in SD will use roughly 2.25GB, around 6.75GB in HD and up to 15.75GB in 4K.

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

Internet speed requirements for streaming

Service
Minimum Speed
Standard Definition
High Definition 1080p
Ultra 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
Brodie Fogg
Written by
Brodie Fogg
Brodie Fogg is the Australian editorial lead at Reviews.org. He has covered consumer tech, telecommunications, video games, streaming and entertainment for over five years at websites like WhistleOut and Finder and can be found sharing streaming recommendations at 7NEWS every month.

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