Congestion free NBN plans: What are they and are they right for me?


Regardless of how much time you spend on the internet, there’s nothing worse than a slow broadband connection. In the NBN world, this issue is often referred to as ‘congestion’, as it typically occurs during times when internet demand is at its highest, such as during the peak evening hours. And unfortunately for many Aussie households, it’s a pretty regular problem. 

To combat this, many NBN providers have begun offering ‘congestion-free NBN plans’ to customers. But what exactly are these types of plans and how do they differ from regular NBN products?

Firstly, what do we mean when we say ‘NBN congestion’?

One way to imagine NBN congestion is to picture cars on a highway. In this scenario, your internet service provider (ISP) represents a tunnel, which is a gateway to the internet. 

During off-peak hours, ‘traffic’ should flow seamlessly through the tunnel, as there are fewer ‘cars’ - or users - accessing the internet. However, during peak hours, more cars are trying to get into the tunnel, which typically causes congestion on the road.

So in the NBN world, congestion can lead to slower internet speeds and buffering (a pause as data downloads) when you’re trying to stream video or play games.

So, what is a congestion-free NBN plan?

Every NBN product comes with an advertised speed, which can range from 25Mbps to even 1,000Mbps. However, the average household may be on an NBN 50 or NBN 100 plan (operating at 50Mbps and 100Mbps respectively). These products also come with an ‘evening speed’, which is your plan’s maximum speed during peak hours and is typically less than the original advertised speed due to congestion. 

Thanks to new changes from NBN Co, ISPs can now help customers avoid congestion by providing speeds slightly higher than their original advertised maximum speed. Now that providers have the ability to do this, many have begun advertising constant access to your maximum download speed, even during peak hours.

One example of a provider doing this is Telstra, which last year announced that customers could expect evening speeds of 100Mbps on NBN 100 plans, 50Mbps on NBN 50 plans and so on. According to WhistleOut, Telstra was previously advertising evening speeds of up to 88Mbps on NBN 100 plans. 

This means that, in theory, Telstra customers are able to access the internet with no interruptions or congestion.

My internet speed is always slow, how can I improve this?

Having a slow internet speed is frustrating and if your household’s internet is buffering on a regular basis, it might be time you considered alternative measures. 

Aside from network congestion, one common reason your internet speed might be slow is because you’re on the wrong NBN plan for your home. 

You can find out the NBN plan you’re on by grabbing a copy of your most recent bill, and if you think your household could benefit from a faster speed tier, it might be time you made the switch. 

Mozo’s NBN comparison tool can help you find a better value NBN plan and switch all in one place, or you can get started with the offers below.

Compare congestion free broadband plans

Mozo may receive payment if you click to the website of one of the products below currently available via our partner, WhistleOut. They do not compare the entire market, but you can see more options by clicking on the View Full Results link in the table.
Last updated 25 July 2024