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By Australian standards, 100 Mbps is fast. According to Speedtest.net's global rankings, Australian fixed-line connections receive average download speeds of 43Mbps. On a national scale, 100Mbps is fast, but when compared with countries with more advanced broadband networks, such as Singapore (197Mbps) and Hong Kong (168Mbps), our fastest available NBN speeds aren't even close.
What does Mbps mean?
Mbps stands for megabits per second, which is a measurement of speed used for both download and upload speeds.
If your internet plan advertises 100Mbps, you can handle most things the internet throws at you while avoiding lag or buffering issues.
In Australia, 100Mbps is the maximum potential speed for most fixed line NBN connections on a Premium speed tier (aka NBN 100). However, the real-world average evening speed for NBN 100 customers isn't quite that fast.
The ACCC's real-world broadband speed test program reports that, on average, Australians paying for NBN 100 get evening speeds closer to 84Mbps. That's still fast, just not as fast as you might expect. NBN customers typically have the choice of Basic (12Mbps potential), Standard (25Mbps potential), Standard Plus (50Mbps potential), and Premium (100Mbps potential), and the faster you go, the more expensive your plan will likely be.
Here's a selection of the most popular NBN 100 plans this week to give you an idea of what to pay for Premium.
100Mbps* NBN Plans
*Maximum potential speeds
How fast is 100Mbps internet speed?
So what do those speeds allow you to do?
To put it in perspective, the minimum requirements for 4K/UHD streaming on services like Netflix and Disney Plus usually recommend at least 25 Mbps, which is equivalent to NBN Standard's potential, but not what you're likely to get. That's why we often recommend NBN 50 (average evening speeds of 42.4Mbps) or NBN 100 (84.9Mbps) for stable streaming.
4K streaming is at the top end of bandwidth-intensive activities but 100Mbps also gives you faster file downloads in general. That's one of the main benefits of faster internet we've personally found. It's the instant gratification of purchasing/renting a digital movie or game and not having to wait overnight for it to download.
Lastly, we recommend 100Mbps to larger households that regularly have multiple data-hungry devices operating on the same schedule. An NBN 100 plan doesn't just get you faster download speeds, it also opens up more bandwidth on your home network. That means one person can be playing Minecraft, while another live streams Fortnite, and another binges the latest Chef's Table in crisp 4K with no interruptions. That's the idea, at least. Your building type and NBN modem will also play a factor in the speeds you get.
To confuse things even further, Mbps does not directly correlate with mb per second. Megabits per second (Mbps) aren't an equivalent to MB per second (megabytes). It's easiest to think of Mbps as the transfer rate, a measure of speed and not how much you can data you can download per second and MB as the actual portion of a file you are downloading. Speeds of 1Mbps is equivalent to downloading 0.125MB per second. With some quick math, we can estimate that speeds of 100Mbps will allow you to download 12.5MB per second. That's 750MB per minute, or 45GB per hour. That's fast enough to download most AAA video games in less than hour.
Is your internet fast enough?
We've already gone into detail about the type of speeds you will need for specific tasks but another concern you might have is whether you are getting the internet speeds you pay for. We've got a comprehensive guide to NBN speeds to give you an idea of what to expect but, in short, it's best to test.
Find out which NBN speed tier you are paying for (if you're eligible for NBN), then use the tool below to test your NBN internet speed.
It's unlikely you will be getting the maximum potential speeds on your NBN speed tier but at the very least you should be somewhere in the ball park. NBN providers are also required to provide realistic expectations of their NBN speeds before signing up a customer. You can find those speeds in the table below.