The best NBN 50 plans

These plans offer enough speed without breaking the bank.

February 10, 2022
4 min read

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It doesn’t feel like so long ago that NBN Standard was a whole lot slower. Well, that’s because it was. Rewind the clock a bit, and NBN 25 was called NBN Standard, but now that NBN Co has changed the naming conventions, relegating cheaper NBN 25 to NBN Basic II (ouch), there’s a new NBN Standard in town. And that new NBN Standard is NBN 50—up to double the download and four times the upload speed—which is a fitting name given it’s the most popular NBN speed tier around.

Do you need NBN 50 (Standard) speed?

According to NBN Co, you need NBN 50 if you’re in a home with three or four people who tend to be online at the same time. The NBN 50 speed tier is built for abodes looking to have multiple 1080p streams (plus a 4K stream or two), play online games, work from home (with tasks like videoconferencing) and for downloading files at a reasonable clip. Those who don’t care for 4K television or online gaming can comfortably settle with a cheaper NBN 12 or NBN 25 plan, but if you’re serious about streaming, you are going to need NBN 50, at the least.

Streaming Netflix in 4K/UHD requires, at a minimum, 25Mbps. For Stan, it’s 15Mbps. Kayo Sports is capped at 1080p HD and only requires a minimum of 7.5Mbps. That said, one of the app’s most unique features offers HD picture-in-picture streaming, which means you multiply 7.5Mbps by the number of pictures you’re streaming. Four, for instance, equates to a 30Mbps requirement. Then there are upload speeds to consider. If you plan on kicking off a lucrative career as a Twitch streamer, you will need, at minimum, 4.5Mbps upload speeds for 1080p HD broadcasting at 30 frames per second (fps) or 6Mbps for 1080p at 60fps.

Note that these are minimum download and upload requirements, which means your best bet is to aim to have above the minimum to keep streaming and the like seamless. NBN plans are advertised in terms of typical evening download speeds, which is when most people are online and speeds tend to slow down.

As you can see from the speed requirements above, the max 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload of NBN 50 comfortably meets all of these which, coupled with competitive pricing, helps to make sense of why it’s so popular in Australia.

Best NBN 50 Plan

Tangerine XL Speed Boost Unlimited

We tend to stick with Tangerine as the winner of this category for some key reasons. For starters, Tangerine consistently offers promotional pricing for the first six months. New sign-ups pay $54.90 a month instead of the very reasonable typical $69.90 fee. That price gets you 50Mbps self-reported typical evening download speeds and unlimited data, with no contracts to worry about. Uncertain? Try before you buy with a 14-day zero-risk trial, plus we like that Tangerine offers seven-day technical support and other great perks, including optional Google Nest WiFi and home phone plan.

Compare this with other popular NBN 50 plans in the daily updating list below:

Cheapest NBN 50 plan

SpinTel Unlimited NBN Plus

The brawl for the cheapest NBN 50 plan tends to happen between Tangerine, Spintel and Superloop. All three providers offer unlimited-data plans with no contracts, plus they compete around similar price points with long-running six-month discounts.

Spintel’s NBN Unlimited Plus is a consistent winner in our best NBN plans picks, though, in big part because it has the best pricing, regardless of whether it’s promo or the typical ongoing monthly fee. This Spintel winner also matches Tangerine for speed (50Mbps apiece) and beats Superloop’s 48Mbps.

For comparison, check out the daily updating list of cheap NBN 50 plans from our database:

If you're not fussed about long-term savings or top speeds and simply want what's cheapest right now, take a look at the cheapest NBN 50 plans below.

ACCC NBN 50 speed results

Since 2018, the ACCC has been monitoring real-world broadband performance data from Australian ISPs. The performance outlined below is the result of the ACCC's Measuring Broadband Australia (MBA) program. The MBA program records real-world evening download and upload speeds via a "Whitebox" installed in the homes of volunteers.

The percentages displayed in the table below represent how close on average each NBN provider gets to delivering the full speed of its retail NBN plans. The data in this table is accurate as of the date we published this article, but it’s likely to change regularly. It’s also important to note that not every NBN provider’s performance is tracked by the ACCC, including our two top NBN 50 picks from Tangerine and Spintel. Note that the speeds in the table below are based on the max speeds achievable for an NBN 50 plan: 50Mbps download and 20Mbps upload.

NBN provider
Download (busy hours)
Download (busiest hour)
Upload (busy hours)
Netflix ISP Speed Index
Aussie Broadband95.4% (47.7Mbps)93.1% (46.55Mbps)82.4% (16.48Mbps)3.6Mbps
Dodo & iPrimus97.1% (48.55Mbps)95.3% (47.65Mbps)85% (17Mbps)3.6Mbps
Exetel101% (50.5Mbps)96.9% (48.45Mbps)91% (18.2Mbps)3.6Mbps
iiNet94.7% (47.35Mbps)93.4% (46.7Mbps)83.4% (16.68Mbps)3.6Mbps
MyRepublic98.1% (49.05Mbps)93.2% (46.6Mbps)86.3% (17.26Mbps)3Mbps
Optus101.6% (50.8Mbps)99% (49.5Mbps)87.5% (17.5Mbps)3.8Mbps
Superloop94.4% (47.2Mbps)88.4% (44.2Mbps)86% (17.2Mbps)Not tracked
Telstra98.9% (49.45Mbps)96.6% (48.3Mbps)85.5% (17.1Mbps)3.8Mbps
TPG96.8% (48.4Mbps)94.9% (47.45Mbps)84% (16.8Mbps)3.6Mbps
Vodafone93.9% (46.95Mbps)90.8% (45.4Mbps)85.4% (17.08Mbps)3.6Mbps

Is NBN 50 fast enough?

NBN 50 is fast enough for most Australian homes, which explains its popularity. The average number of occupants per home from the last round of available Census data is 2.6; the NBN Co recommendation that NBN 50 plans are for three to four people is comfortably above this. Assuming your home can hit max 50Mbps download speeds, that’s enough for two simultaneous 4K streams or around 10 HD streams.

For the gamers in an NBN 50 home, there won’t be any issue playing games online (even for multiple in-home gamers). Still, downloading a 100GB game will take around 4.5 hours at full speed, which may be a bottleneck. Bear in mind that accessing those full speed means other devices in the home will have to not be downloading at the same time. Similarly, those working from home—particularly those working with large file transfers—may consider the 20Mbps upload limit to be restrictive. This will also impact how long it takes to back up smartphone photos and videos, particularly if everyone is doing it at the same time.

Still, we’d comfortably recommend NBN 50 for most homes with average internet needs. If it’s not enough for your home’s internet needs, most Australian homes can sign up to NBN 100 plans, too, which offer up to double the download and upload speed (though most NBN 100 plans have 20Mbps upload limits). With an NBN 100 plan, you’d be able to watch four simultaneous 4K streams or roughly 20 HD streams, and that 100GB game would download in half the time.

Check out the daily updating list of plans below to see if a popular list of NBN 100 plans from our database:

Still not enough speed? You may want to consider an NBN 250 plan. Note that NBN 250 plans are only available to Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) and select Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) homes. If you’re in one of those homes, the daily updating list below showcases cheap NBN 250 plans from our comparison engine.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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