Best NBN provider: which is Australia’s top internet provider?

(Image credit: NBN Co / Shutterstock)

Whether you’re connecting to the NBN for the first time or you’re looking to switch providers, you’ll want to make sure you go with a reputable internet provider, and one that can deliver reliable speeds at a fair price.

So which NBN provider is best? The answer really depends on what internet speed you want, and how much you want to pay for it. To help you choose, we list one best overall NBN provider on this page, and one best high-speed internet provider. We’ve partnered with WhistleOut (opens in new tab) to compare plans from over 30 Aussie internet providers to make our final picks.

Many NBN providers offer a six-month welcome discount when you first sign up, and occasionally, we see providers offering your first month on the service completely free. Price is a big factor in our selection, so we look for NBN plans that are offering one of these incentives. 

You’ll also want reliable speed from your NBN provider, so the telco’s typical evening speed is always factored into our decision making. We also look at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) broadband reporting (opens in new tab) data, which monitors select telcos, so we can recommend providers that are delivering on their promised speeds.

What’s the best NBN provider in Australia?

NBN 50 is the most popular speed tier, and it’s in the lead by a long margin, with over half of all NBN connections belonging to this tier. For 50Mbps speed, Spintel continues to beat out Tangerine (opens in new tab) and the rest of the competition as the best NBN provider around at this slower speed, offering great value overall and particularly excellent deals for new sign-ups.

You can bring your own modem to Spintel’s NBN plans, but if you go with the Spintel-provided option you’ll need to pay an additional AU$210 upfront, plus postage. This is more than some other providers charge, but it’s an optional expense that doesn’t detract  from the savings on plan prices.

Spintel NBN 50 plan

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Spintel (opens in new tab)

Spintel | NBN 50 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$54p/m (first 6 months, then AU$64.95p/m) (opens in new tab)

We’re crowning Spintel as the best NBN provider for a few reasons, but one of the big ones is because it has the best NBN 50 plan on offer (and that’s the speed most households will go for). This plan starts at AU$54 a month for your first six months, which is one of the lowest introductory offers in this tier. Even once it ends, the ongoing rate of AU$64.95 a month is pretty unbeatable. If you’re after something cheaper, you could move to the slower NBN 25 tier, where Tangerine is offering 25Mbps for AU$44.90 a month (opens in new tab) for your first six months.

Total minimum cost: AU$54 | Total cost for first year: AU$713.70 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$779.40

See more: Best NBN 50 plans (opens in new tab)

What’s the best high-speed NBN provider?

We previously recommended Telstra as the best high-speed NBN provider, but the smaller provider Exetel has now claimed the #1 spot. So what won us over? For a start, Exetel’s NBN 100 and NBN 250 plans are much more affordable, with introductory prices starting at AU$68.95 for 100Mbps speed, or AU$99.95 for 250Mbps. Once the initial six-month discount is over, ongoing prices are great too.

Exetel has also received top marks in the ACCC’s broadband reporting, outpacing Telstra, Optus and TPG in terms of fastest average download speed. The telco also has one interesting feature we haven’t seen anywhere else, it offers five days every month where you can bump your plan’s speed up to the next tier. For example, you can kick your NBN 100 plan up to NBN 250 for five days each month – that’s excellent when you’ve got big files to download.

Exetel NBN 100 plan

Exetel (opens in new tab)

Exetel | NBN 100 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$68.95p/m (first 6 months, then AU$84.95p/m) (opens in new tab)

Bye, Telstra. Exetel is our new pick for best high-speed NBN provider. This plan will set you up with a 100Mbps typical evening speed, for a low introductory price of AU$68.95 each billing. That price holds for your first six months, after which you’ll pay AU$84.95 ongoing – that’s still less than the average NBN 100 price of AU$92. Exetel’s My Speed Boost days means you can turbo charge your plan to NBN 250 for five days each month, for free.

Total minimum cost: AU$68.95 | Total cost for first year: AU$923.40 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$1,019.40

See more: Best NBN 100 plans (opens in new tab)

Exetel NBN 250 plan

Exetel (opens in new tab)

Exetel | NBN 250 | Unlimited data | No lock-in contract | AU$99.95p/m (first 6 months, then AU$119.95p/m) (opens in new tab)

We also recommend Exetel for the best NBN 250 plan on the market. You’ll initially pay AU$99.95 for this plan, before it reverts back to AU$119.95 each billing. The good news is, both are below the average price for this tier, which is currently AU$121. Exetel’s typical evening speed on this tier is 225Mbps, and should you need it, you can also upgrade to NBN 1000 speeds for five days each month (rated at 500Mbps). If you’re after an NBN 1000 plan recommendation, Aussie Broadband (opens in new tab) and Telstra (opens in new tab) are both good picks.

Total minimum cost: AU$99.95 | Total cost for first year: AU$1,319.40 | Yearly cost after discount: AU$1,439.40

See more: Best NBN 250 plans (opens in new tab)

Jasmine Gearie
Ecommerce editor

Jasmine Gearie is an ecommerce editor at TechRadar Australia, with a primary focus on helping readers cut through the jargon to find the best mobile and internet plans for their needs. She crunches the numbers to maintain dedicated guides to the latest phones, NBN and broadband plans of all types, and covers the important telco industry news. She also hunts down tech deals on laptops, phones, gaming consoles and more, so readers know where to buy the products they want for the cheapest prices.