What are NBN evening speeds?

22 November 2017

NBN night speed

Much in the same way as the traffic on the road slows down during peak hours, the internet can too. This is especially true on the NBN, so internet service providers are changing the way in which they advertise the speeds you'll get on your plan.

Currently, most ISPs will tell you the maximum potential speed of the NBN plan you're signing up for. Moving forward, they'll tell you the speeds you can expect during peak hours, when everyone else is online. These are being referred to as "evening speeds". 

Rather than seeing plans advertised as NBN 12, NBN 25, NBN 50, and NBN 100, you'll now start seeing "basic evening speed", "standard evening speed", "standard plus evening speed", and "premium evening speed". 

Evening download speeds for each tier are as follows:

Tier Maximum speed Evening speed
Basic  (NBN 12) 12Mbps  7Mbps
Standard (NBN 25)25Mbps  15Mbps
Standard Plus (NBN 50)50Mbps 30Mbps
Premium (NBN 100) 100Mbps 60Mbps

Peak internet usage hours are defined as the time between 7pm and 11pm. Your upload speeds may also be reduced during peak hours. 

Why are providers using "evening speeds" to describe their NBN plans?

National Broadband Network connections tend to slow down in evenings, when everyone is jumping online to stream, surf, download, and more. As such, ISPs are using evening speeds to better account for this congestion and provide more transparency as to exactly what you're in for. This is especially important if you're looking at signing a 24-month contract. 

Of course, other factors will affect what speeds you'll get on the NBN, such as your distance from the node if you're on an FTTN connection. As a result, Telstra - for example - will only sell you a NBN 25 (or standard evening speed) connection when you sign up for a new plan. After you're connected, Telstra will then let you know if your connection is capable of going faster. 

NBN will continue to wholesale its existing NBN 12, NBN 25, NBN 50, and NBN 100 speed tiers, telcos might just not call them that.

Evening speeds compared to maximum speeds

Why don't I see evening speeds on my provider's website?

At present, the use of evening speeds is just a suggestion rather than law, so a telco doesn't have to put them on their website. While telcos can't lie about the speeds you'll get on their service, they aren't under any legal obligation to explicitly advertise evening speeds. 

To date, we've seen ISPs take a few different approaches as to how they advertise their NBN speeds.

Some ISPs are using the "evening speed" system in its entirety, and now sell you "standard evening speed" plan rather than a NBN 25 plan, for example. 

Some ISPs are continuing to advertising plans as NBN 12, NBN 25, and NBN 100, but state that your speeds will be slower between 7pm and 11pm. They might not tell you how much slower your speeds will be during peak times. 

And some ISPs have removed their speed labeling entirely, despite selling plans across multiple NBN tiers. In some cases, they're using the evening speed language - basic, standard, and premium - to describe the plans, in others, they're using their own terms. 

In most cases, ISPs offer three different NBN tiers - NBN 12, NBN 25, and NBN 100 - so there's a good chance these will be what's on sale, regardless of what they are called. However, if you're concerned about what tier a plan is based off, and you might want to contact the ISP directly. 

This transition to evening speeds is still quite recent, and we're expecting to see the industry take a more consistent approach to speed labeling in the near future. 

What ISPs say about their NBN speeds

Telstra NBN Speeds

Telstra NBN plans are all configured on NBN 25 out of the box, or standard evening speed. After you're connected to the National Broadband Network, Telstra will let you know if your maximum connection speed is fast enough to upgrade to a Standard Plus Evening Speed or Premium Evening Speed connection.

Telstra says these are the typical download speeds you can expect on its NBN plans:

Tier Typical speed Evening speed
Standard (NBN 25)22Mbps  15Mbps
Standard Plus (NBN 50)45Mbps 30Mbps
Premium (NBN 100)90Mbps 60Mbps

Optus NBN Speeds

Optus offers plans configured on all four NBN speed tiers, and uses both the NBN product label (NBN 50, for example) and the Evening Speed (Standard Plus Evening Speed, for example) to describe them.

Tier Maximum speed Evening speed
Speed Pack 1  (NBN 12 / Basic) 11Mbps  7Mbps
Speed Pack 2  (NBN 25 / Standard)23Mbps  15Mbps
Speed Pack 3 (NBN 50 / Standard Plus)47Mbps 30Mbps
Speed Pack 4 (NBN 100 / Premium) 93Mbps 60Mbps

In addition to providing maximum off peak speeds and typical peak speeds for its plans, Optus also discloses fortnightly average speed experienced by customers. The following average speeds were experienced by customers in the two week period ending October 29.

Speed Pack 1Speed Pack 2Speed Pack 3Speed Pack 4
Average Peak Speed9Mbps19.4Mbps36.8Mbps75.2Mbps

Optus' average peak download speed is calculated over a two week period, and is the average speed experienced by a "representative group of customers" between 7pm and 11pm. Optus notes that this is not a minimum speed, that past performance is not an indication of future speeds.

At present, Optus is the only ISP that provides this kind of data, and we'd like to see the rest of the industry follow suit. 

TPG NBN Speeds

TPG sells NBN plans on NBN 12, NBN 25, and NBN 100 speed tiers. These are referred to as Standard, Boost, and Superfast, respectively.

Basic is said to offer download speeds between 5Mbps and 12Mbps, Boost between 5Mbps and 25Mbps, and Max between 12Mbps and 100Mbps.

iiNet NBN Speeds

iiNet offers NBN plans on NBN 12, NBN 25, and NBN 100 speed tiers. These are referred to as Basic, Boost, and Max, respectively.

Basic is said to offer download speeds between 8Mbps and 12Mbps, Boost between 8Mbps and 25Mbps, and Max between 25Mbps and 100Mbps.

Belong NBN Speeds

Belong NBN plans are all configured on NBN 12 (Basic Evening Speed) out of the box, but you can pay for an upgrade to Standard Evening Speed, or Premium Evening Speed.

Tier Maximum speedEvening speed
Basic (NBN 12)12Mbps  1 to 12Mbps
Standard (NBN 25)25Mbps 30Mbps
Premium (NBN 100)100Mbps 60Mbps

MyRepublic NBN Speeds

MyRepublic only sells plans configured on NBN 100. In terms of speed guidance, the telco says customers can receive speeds of up to 100Mbps, and that customers have an average download rate of around 36Mbps based on performance analytics from video game distribution platform Steam.

It is however worth noting that Steam's performance analytics do not separate internet technology types, so it's possible that MyRepublic's ADSL customers are bringing down average download rate. MyRepublic doesn't provide any further clarification around this.

Exetel NBN Speeds

Exetel offers plans configured on NBN 12, NBN 25, and NBN 100 speed tiers. It simply says the speed tier is the "theoretical maximum speed" you could achieve on the plan.

Amaysim NBN Speeds

Amaysim sells three different NBN plans, based on NBN 12, NBN, and NBN 100 speed tiers. They are referred to as Basic, Standard, and Premium, respectively. Amaysim does not provide any information on the speeds that its NBN subscribers can expect.

Dodo NBN Speeds

Dodo has three different NBN speed options, based on NBN 12, NBN, and NBN 100 speed tiers. They are referred to as Standard, Turbo, and Supercharged, respectively. Dodo does not provide any information on the speeds that its NBN subscribers can expect.

Internode NBN Speeds

Internode offers plans on all four NBN speed tiers. They're as follows:

Plan TierSpeed Range
Bronze NBN 12 8 to 12Mbps
SilverNBN 25 8 to 25Mbps
GoldNBN 50 25 to 50Mbps
Platinum NBN 10025 to 100Mbps

So how do I pick a provider?

All of this might seem a little bit overwhelming, and well, that's because it is. As a rule of thumb, we feel that the more speed guidance a telco providers, the better. It means you've at least got some idea of the kinds of speeds you might be able to expect on the NBN. 

Of course, a number of other factors can affect the speeds you'll get on an NBN connection. 

As such, we'd typically suggest you start with a 25Mbps or Standard plan with no contract, and see how you go. If it's not fast enough, or you're expiring too much slow down during peak hours, you can talk to your provider, or change telco entirely. And if you're attaining speeds of 25Mbps and still want more, you can talk to your provider and get a maximum line speed test on your connection. 

You can use this information to work out how fast a plan your place will support, and upgrade appropriately. 

Compare broadband plans from the following providers...