The best performing NBN providers of 2021 according to ACCC data
Every quarter, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) releases a report as part of its Measuring Broadband Australia program. This ACCC NBN report includes data for 10 Australian providers (11 if you separate Dodo and iPrimus, which the ACCC records together), primarily offering insights into how providers perform in terms of download and speeds during the internet’s nightly busy hours.
The report also breaks down daily outages, average download speeds, as well as more granular details such as webpage loading times, latency and even packet loss. In 2021, the ACCC also started tracking Fixed Wireless information as well. The breakdown of information below is intended to help inform the best NBN providers, the best NBN plans and the best Fixed Wireless NBN plans.
ACCC NBN providers
Not so long ago, the ACCC was tracking nine providers but Superloop was added to the comparison to round at out at 10, with the ACCC recording Dodo and iPrimus data together. Below is the full list of providers currently tracked by the ACCC as part of its reporting (and links to corresponding plans reviews):
Below is a daily updating list of the most popular NBN plans from the providers tracked as part of the ACCC’s quarterly reports.
ACCC broadband speed guidance
The ACCC providers guidance for how providers are allowed to advertise speeds for fixed-line NBN plans. Fixed-line NBN plans are mainly found in metro areas and include Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC), Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC), Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) and Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN). You can find out which NBN technology is available at your home by inputting your address on the NBN website.
In terms of the ACCC NBN speed guidelines, fixed-line providers can only self-report typical evening download speeds, which are the download speeds you can expect to reach between 7:00pm and 11:00pm every night. This offers a fairer representation of download speeds, as these are the hours that most people tend to be online—it’s called the internet’s busy period for a reason—and you can usually expect download speeds to improve outside of these times.
For homes connected to the NBN via FTTB or FTTN technologies, you can also request that your provider explains the maximum attainable download speed. Every metro home using fixed-line NBN can also expect a speedy rectification of speed problems once flagged with a provider.
Though the plan names haven’t been updated to reflect the new NBN Co terminology for corresponding plans, the ACCC outlines minimum speed expectations for common speed tiers as follows (set at 60% of max potential download speeds):
- Less than 15Mbps for basic needs (NBN 12 plans)
- Minimum 15Mbps for NBN 25 plans
- Minimum 30Mbps for NBN 50 plans
- Minimum 60Mbps for NBN 100 plans
For context, we’ve put these speed minimums next to the average self-reported typical evening download speeds for the providers we track in our comparison engine.
|NBN plan||ACCC minimum evening speeds (60% of max)||Average provider evening speeds||Percentage of max download speed|
|NBN 12||Less than 15Mbps||11.6Mbps||~97%|
|NBN 1000||N/A||350Mbps||~36% (950Mbps max download)|
ACCC NBN plan speeds during busy hours
The table below is a breakdown of the information available on the ACCC broadband performance data webpage, which offers a percentage breakdown of download speeds for the busy hours, busiest hour as well as upload speeds during the busy hours. Note that the third column highlights what the download speed percentages is like if you don’t include homes that are unable to achieve maximum plan speeds (like FTTN homes). The percentage changes, down or up, are relative to the Q1 March 2021 results.
|Provider||Download speeds (busy hours, all)||Download speeds (busy hours, selective)||Download speeds (busiest hour)||Upload speeds (busy hours)|
|Aussie Broadband||96% (down 0.3%)||98.90%||93.2% (down 0.8%)||81.7% (down 0.2%)|
|Dodo & iPrimus||86.8% (up 1.8%)||89.80%||81.8% (up 1.2%)||84.5% (down 1.5%)|
|Exetel||98.7% (up 8.8%)||100.90%||94% (up 6%)||89.1% (down 1%)|
|iiNet||94.7% (down 1%)||98.80%||93.6% (down 0.3%)||81.4% (down 1.9%)|
|MyRepublic||94.3% (down 1.4%)||98.70%||87.2% (down 1.1%)||86.5% (down 0.2%)|
|Optus||99.1% (up 0.4%)||102.10%||97.9% (up 0.7%)||82.7% (down 1.2%)|
|Superloop||92.7% (down 2.6%)||94.10%||88.2% (up 1.3%)||84.2% (down 2.2%)|
|Telstra||97.6% (up 0.5%)||102.20%||96.1% (up 2.1%)||84.2% (up 0.8%)|
|TPG||96.8% (down 1.9%)||100.70%||94.6% (down 2.3%)||85.7% (down 0.6%)|
|Vodafone||90.9% (down 2.8%)||96.70%||86.6% (down 3.1%)||86.6% (down 0.1%)|
For download speeds, Optus is the clear winner of the last quarter, taking the pole position for busy hours and busiest hour. It’s second to Telstra for selective download speeds, but it’s only behind by 0.6%. Unfortunately for Dodo and iPrimus, their percentages are the lowest for all three download speed percentages. While around half of the providers had slower download speeds compared to last quarter, Exetel was the most improved, up by 8.8% during the busy hours and 6% for the busiest hour.
- First: Optus
- Second: Exetel
- Third: Telstra
Upload speeds are seemingly less important to providers as none of them cracked 90% during busy hours. Exetel came out on top with the highest percentage, but even it was down 1% compared to the last quarter. iiNet came in last with 81.4%, which was a 1.9% drop from the last quarter.
- First: Exetel
- Second: Vodafone
- Third: MyRepublic
ACCC NBN provider daily outages
The table below shows the average number of daily outages that lasted longer than 30 seconds, not including any outages that occurred between midnight and 6:00am (which is when maintenance and upgrades tend to happen). Average outages are separated into all from the tracked providers as well as selective (discounting services not able to achieve max plan speeds), then compared to the same metrics from the quarter ending March 2021. Lower numbers are better.
|Provider||Average daily outages Q2 (all)||Average daily outages Q2 (selective)||Average daily outages Q1 (all)||Average daily outages Q1 (selective)|
|Dodo & iPrimus||0.3||0.28||0.17||0.17|
While none of these average daily outage numbers are particularly high, they have increased by around 14% compared to the first quarter of 2021. MyRepublic jumped from fourth position to take out the top spot for inclusive and selective daily outages in quarter two, while Optus and Superloop have the most reported daily outages when factoring in all connections.
- First: MyRepublic
- Second: iiNet
- Third: Aussie Broadband
ACCC NBN plan speeds by NBN technology and plan type
The ACCC also tracks plan speeds delivered during the busy nightly hours in terms of four fixed-line technology types: FTTP, FTTN, HFC and FTTC. These figures show not a whole lot has changed between quarters, with a slight increase to FTTP and FTTN speeds and a 1% drop for FTTC.
|NBN technology||All services Q2||Max speed services Q2||All services Q1||Max speed services Q1|
Meanwhile, the table below tracks the average NBN download speeds during the nightly busy hours in terms of NBN 25, NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans. While NBN 50 average speeds have remained identical, NBN 25 speeds are up by 0.4Mbps while NBN 100 speeds are down by 0.7Mbps.
|NBN technology||Q2 2021||Q1 2021|
ACCC NBN Ultrafast speeds
The ACCC also tracks speeds for those homes that have signed up to NBN 1000 plans, which have a download speed range of between 500Mbps and 990Mbps as well as max upload speeds of 50Mbps. This is the first quarter that these particular figures have been tracked, and you can see the averages in the table below. There’s not a massive difference to upload speed throughout the day (0.2Mbps) but download speed averages drop by close to 30Mbps.
|NBN Ultrafast||NBN Ultrafast speeds|
|Download speeds (all hours)||670.1Mbps|
|Download speeds (busy hours)||640Mbps|
|Upload speeds (all hours)||44.9Mbps|
|Upload speeds (busy hours)||44.7Mbps|
ACCC NBN latency and webpage loading times
While download speeds are a critical measurement for determining the value of an NBN plan, there are other factors that aren’t typically advertised by providers. The ACCC tracks average webpage loading times, and the table below shows how the tracked providers rank (shorter times are better). Webpage loading times have improved across the board, but Telstra still has the fastest webpage loading times.
|Provider||Webpage loading time Q2||Webpage loading time Q1|
|Aussie Broadband||3.7 seconds||4.2 seconds|
|Dodo & iPrimus||3.9 seconds||4.3 seconds|
|Exetel||3.7 seconds||4.2 seconds|
|iiNet||3.7 seconds||4.2 seconds|
|MyRepublic||4 seconds||4.4 seconds|
|Optus||3.9 seconds||4.2 seconds|
|Superloop||3.8 seconds||4.3 seconds|
|Telstra||3.5 seconds||3.9 seconds|
|TPG||3.9 seconds||4.2 seconds|
|Vodafone||4.1 seconds||4.4 seconds|
- First: Telstra
- Second: iiNet
- Third: Superloop
Admittedly, there’s not much difference in those webpage loading times to warrant a distinct advantage, but latency is very important for those gamers seeking a competitive edge online. The table below charts the average latency time (in milliseconds) for the tracked providers (lower numbers are better). In fairness, these latencies all range from amazing to good—even if half of the providers had their latency go up—with the main outlier being MyRepublic’s 20ms-plus latency. Superloop continues to edge out the other providers.
|Provider||Latency Q2||Latency Q1|
|Dodo & iPrimus||10.1ms||11ms|
- First: Superloop
- Second: Vodafone
- Third: Aussie Broadband
The ACCC also tracks packet loss, which you definitely don’t want as it has the potential to impact real-time online tasks such as videoconferencing, online gaming and media streaming. Thankfully, the 0% frequency of packet loss is quite high, even if it is down from last quarter (88.3% for Q2 and 89.2% for Q1). Both of these are a noticeable improvement over the 80.1% value from Q4 2020.
ACCC NBN Fixed Wireless performance data
The ACCC notes that Fixed Wireless NBN is closer to mobile broadband than fixed-line internet, and the nature of the technology makes it more prone to slower speeds due to distance, line of sight, weather conditions and network congestion.
For its tracking, the ACCC uses regular Fixed Wireless (NBN 25) and Fixed Wireless Plus, which is an NBN 50-like plan type that can burst above 50Mbps and reach speeds of up to 75Mbps (the ACCC treats it as a plan capable of 50Mbps download speeds). While not provider-specific, the table below breaks down the percentage of maximum plan speeds for Fixed Wireless NBN.
|2021 quarter||Q2 2021 (all)||Q1 2021||Percentage change|
|Download percentage (all hours)||81%||79%||2.53% improvement|
|Download percentage (busy hours)||71%||68%||4.22% improvement|
|Upload percentage (all hours)||55%||58%||5.45% decrease|
|Upload percentage (busy hours)||48%||52%||7.69% decrease|
It’s interesting to note that while Fixed Wireless NBN average download speeds have marginally improved throughout the day, including the busy hours, upload speeds have slightly decreased between quarters. Like the decrease in upload speeds, average daily outages over 30 seconds have increased from 0.09 in the March 2021 quarter to 0.15 at the end of June (40% decrease).
ACCC NBN June 2021 Q2 provider scores
Taking the relevant metrics into account for the providers that the ACCC track, then allocating points based on first (three points), second (two points) or third place (one point) ranking for the relevant categories, we get to see which providers come out on top in the Q2 report.
Exetel is in first place with five points, care of a second place for download speeds and first place for upload speeds. Telstra, Vodafone, MyRepublic, iiNet and Superloop all share four points, with top-three rankings across downloads, uploads, low outages, webpage loading time and latency. Optus has three points for its download-speed win, while Aussie Broadband collected two points for the third-fewest outages and third-best latency. Neither Dodo & iPrimus nor TPG scored any top-three accolades.
If you take all scores into account, ranging from first placement to last placement, here’s how the ACCC NBN provider ranking fares:
- Aussie Broadband
- iiNet and Optus (equal fifth)
- Dodo & iPrimus