At Kotaku, we independently select and write about things we love and think you’ll love too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a portion of sales or other compensation from links on this page. By the way, the prices are accurate and the items are in stock at the time of publication.
If you’re looking for a consistent NBN experience, your best bet is to look for a “congestion-free” plan. Providers including Telstra, Optus and SpinTel advertise NBN plans with typical nightly speeds that match the speed tier. 100Mbps on NBN 100 plans and 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans, for example. This means that these plans should not be slowed down, no matter the time of day. They are apparently free of congestion.
Before looking at which providers are part of the congestion-free club and what their plans look like, it’s important to note that individual circumstances may prevent you from achieving typical advertised nightly speeds.
The tastes of wiring in the home and your equipment can affect your download speeds, as can abnormally high usage in your area. There have also been carriers that advertised congestion-free typical nightly speeds, but then lowered the speed guidance later on.
It’s also worth noting that FTTN connections must be within 400m of a node to have a chance of reaching NBN 100 speeds. Unfortunately, some FTTN connections can’t even get full NBN 50 speeds.
NBN 50 congestion-free plans
A good portion of NBN providers now offer NBN 50 plans with a typical overnight speed of 50 Mbps. No matter how much you spend, it’s easy to find an NBN 50 plan that shouldn’t slow you down during peak hours.
Dodo is currently one of your cheapest options – you’ll pay $53.90 per month for the first six months. The price jumps significantly afterwards, going up to $75 per month. However, you can save an extra $10 per month if you’re in NSW or Victoria and get your gas and electricity from Dodo too.
Exetel has a similar deal where you’ll pay $53.90 per month for the first six months and $69.95 per month thereafter. Exetel’s NBN 50 plan gives you five free speed boosts to NBN 100 per month. Each speed boost lasts for a single day. However, the speed boosts are only available to those on HFC, FTTP, and FTTN connections.
Despite being a pricier swipe initially, SpinTel is arguably the best pick of this lot. You’ll pay $54 per month for the first six months and $64.95 per month thereafter. Even at full price, it’s cheaper than some discounted plans. If you don’t plan on changing carriers every six months, SpinTel is a great set-and-forget option.
NBN 100 congestion-free plans
If you’re looking for an NBN 100 plan with typical nightly speeds of 100Mbps, you have fewer options to choose from. The five providers currently reporting top speeds of NBN speed level 100 are Exetel, SpinTel, Pennytel, Optus and Telstra.
Exetel is your cheapest option by a hair. You’re looking at $68.95 per month for the first six months and $84.95 per month thereafter. As with your NBN 50 plan, you’ll get five free speed boosts to NBN 250 per month. However, you will need to have an FTTP or HFC connection to take advantage of them.
SpinTel’s pricing is pretty similar: you’ll pay $69 per month for the first six months and $84.95 per month thereafter.
Optus currently charges $79 per month for the first six months for its NBN 100 plan and $89 per month thereafter. Just keep in mind that you’ll receive a modem fee if you leave within the first three years. The modem fee is equal to $7 per month remaining on your term.
Telstra has an offer of its own where you will pay $90 per month for the first six months and $110 per month thereafter. If you leave within the first two years, you’ll need to return your modem to avoid paying a fee. Telstra is also currently offering new customers two months of free access to Binge.
Pennytel will set you back a flat $99 per month. You are not currently running any promotions.
NBN 250 congestion-free plans
Telstra is currently the only provider advertising NBN 250 plans with typical nightly speeds of 250 Mbps. Your NBN 250 plan will set you back $110 per month for the first six months and $140 per month thereafter.
As with your NBN 100 plan, you’ll need to return your modem if you leave within the first two years. You’ll also get two months of free access to Binge.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at hiss outAustralia’s internet and phone comparison website.
This article has been updated since it was first published.