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Which NBN provider has the least outages?

Sometimes, an NBN provider's ability to provide high-speed internet isn't as big a deal as whether it can do so consistently.

Fergus Halliday
Aug 18, 2023
Icon Time To Read2 min read

Even the best NBN providers have a bad day, but given how important having a reliable internet connection is nowadays, there’s no excuse for sticking with one that slips a little too often. The stakes are too high to waste your time and money on a bad internet connection. 

Typical evening speeds are the go-to metric for NBN plan performance for a good reason. They give you a good idea of what to expect from a given provider in terms of download speeds during peak use periods. 

While the NBN was built with the masses in mind, when enough people are using the network it can degrade its performance. When the available bandwidth capacity is being split so many ways, you can end up with lower-than-usual speeds. It’s not unlike how a power grid works, though the stakes aren’t necessarily as dire. 

Typically, NBN providers with higher typical evening speeds generally have more Connectivity Virtual Circuits (CVC) to go around. CVC is the currency of the realm when it comes to the NBN wholesale network. The more of it that a provider has, the faster speed they are able to guarantee for customers. 

Unfortunately, typical evening speeds or additional bandwidth aren't always synonymous or indicative of a given provider's reliability. 

That’s where the ACCC comes in. As part of the regulator’s regular Measuring Broadband Australia report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is keeping score when it comes to NBN performance on a provider-per-provider basis. Part of this analysis does involve connection speeds, but factors like outages are also something that the regulator is keeping tabs on. 

Specifically, the ACCC  tracks of daily outages that last for more than 30 seconds from each provider. Each report provides a snapshot of how each provider rates for reliability across the quarter, so we’ve averaged out the last four to get a better idea of how things fare over a longer period of time.

This snapshot covers 12 providers: Aussie Broadband, Dodo, Exetel, iiNet, iPrimus, Launtel, MyRepublic, Optus, Superloop, Telstra, TPG, and Vodafone.

The table below shows how each provider rated when it came to average outages per day over the last five quarters.

Provider
Average daily outages Q1 2023 (all)
Average daily outages Q4 2022 (all)
Average daily outages Q3 2022 (all)
Average daily outages Q2 2022 (all)
Average daily outages (last 12 months)
Aussie Broadband0.35 (up by 0.02)0.33 (up by 0.10)0.23 (down by 0.19)0.42 (up by 0.07)0.33
Dodo & iPrimus0.31 (down by 0.07)0.39 (up by 0.17)0.22 (down by 0.42)0.64 (up by 0.25)0.39
Exetel0.27 (up by 0.06)0.21 (down by 0.15)0.36 (up by 0.16)0.2 (no change)0.26
iiNet0.11 (down by 0.08)0.19 (up by 0.03)0.16 (no change)0.16 (down by 0.05)0.15
Launtel0.55 (up by 0.02)0.53 (up by 0.22)0.31 (down by 0.19)0.5 (down by 0.11)0.47
MyRepublicN/A0.35 (up by 0.06)0.29 (down by 0.14)0.43 (up by 0.08)0.35
Optus0.15 (down by 0.04)0.19 (up by 0.05)0.14 (down by 0.22)0.36 (up by 0.04)0.21
Superloop0.24 (down by 0.15)0.38 (up by 0.02)0.36 (down by 0.27)0.63 (up by 0.29)0.40
Telstra0.23 (down by 0.16)0.39 (up by 0.15)0.24 (up by 0.02)0.22 (down by 0.01)0.27
TPG0.33 (down by 0.07)0.40 (up by 0.01)0.39 (up by 0.21)0.18 (down by 0.22)0.32
Vodafone0.20 (down by 0.09)0.29 (down by 0.24)0.53 (up by 0.08)0.45 (up by 0.03)0.36

As you can see from the table above, Optus & iiNet had the least number of average outages per day, followed by Exetel and Telstra. Launtel was the worst-performing.

  • First: iiNet (0.15 all daily outages)
  • Second: Optus (0.21 all daily outages)
  • Third: Exetel (0.26 all daily outages)

Here's a selection of NBN 50 plans from providers featured in the report:

If you want a little more speed, feel free to take a look at this selection of NBN 100 plans from those same providers instead.

How accurate is this report? Well, the ACCC itself reports a 95% confidence level in its results. The regulator's Measuring Broadband Australia report sample accounts for around 1,200 connections over each month-long testing period.

Even if all of these connections aren't made up from the 12 providers in the report, most of them are. The data sample here isn't all-encompassing, but it is fairly comprehensive. For that reason, it holds up as a valuable indication of how any one internet provider performs relative to another.

How long do NBN outages last?

The length of an NBN outage is every bit as importance as its frequency. 

During the April 2023 tracking period, the ACCC found that the majority of outages lasted for no more than three minutes and have "little material impact" on users.

The graph below sums up the average outage length for each provider over that period.

NBN outage length April 2023

As you can see from the above, most NBN outages lasted between 30 seconds to 10 minutes, but Exetel and iiNet skewed toward the lengthier side. Conversely, Aussie Broadband, Launtel, MyRepublic, Telstra, Vodafone and Optus had shorter outages.

Here's a selection of NBN 50 plans from the top providers featured in the report:

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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