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Get the best deal on your NBN plan

Like the little engine that could, the NBN recovered and made its way up and over the mountain.

The NBN’s average download speeds during busy hours were almost the same as in February before the virus hit, according to new data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The ACCC’s report also contains useful information for anyone who wants to know if they are getting good bang for their NBN buck.

Of the nine largest NBN internet service providers, performance ranged from 84.2 per cent up to 90.1 per cent of maximum promised plan speed.

Fastest was Optus, followed by Exetel and TPG — the same top-three market leaders as the last survey in February. Vodafone, included for the first time, was last placed of the big guns surveyed.

The top three advertise “typical evening speeds” of 40-46Mbps for their 50Mbps plans on the “NBN Standard Plus” speed tier, which is the plan recommended for most households by the NBN itself.

The ACCC now requires providers to list their “typical evening speed” because the NBN has a peak hour, just like the roads do, but this one starts at about 8pm when we all turn on streaming apps.

The prices of the top-three fastest providers on that tier range from $70-$80 a month – that’s the benchmark range for a high-performing NBN deal on the second-fastest tier.

Are you paying more or less than that, and what speed are you getting?

There are other deals starting from as low as $60 a month that advertise typical evening speeds of about 42Mbps.

Still, there are also so-called “deals” out there in the market that cost $90 a month but are not among the fastest providers. So, maybe, you don’t necessarily get what you pay for.

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The ACCC report also — for the first time — created what we might call the “Netflix index” for measuring whether “standard plus” products are enough for an average family with a streaming addiction.

For eight of the nine big providers, more than 97 per cent of their services could simultaneously stream Netflix HD shows. Only one — MyRepublic — bombed that test with 81.1 per cent of their services able to do it.

So, what can the average family take away from all of that?

  • “Standard plus” speed should be enough if you just want to watch TV and do video calls and you are not a gamer or small business person (downgrading from premium could save $240 a year).
  • Prices in the standard plus tier start at $60 a month, with fastest providers from $70-$80 and the most expensive at $90 (switch from them and save up to $360 a year).

The NBN had a difficult start in life, but let’s all give thanks that it held its own over the past couple of months.

Joel Gibson is the author of KILL BILLS! The 9 Insider Tricks you Need to Win the War on Household Bills. Catch his Money segments on TODAY each Wednesday and on Twitter @joelgibson

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