What are 'typical evening speeds'?

  • NBN plan names have changed recently.
  • The change was due to an ACCC inquiry.
  • The ACCC has recommended a change from maximum speeds to 'typical evening speeds'.

If you’ve been shopping around for a new broadband plan lately, you might have noticed a change in the way providers are advertising their NBN plans. While many used to categorise their plans in terms of the maximum speed (you might have seen numbers like 12/1, 25/5, 50/20 and 100/40), they're now letting you know what the 'typical evening speed' is. This is as a result of an ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) publication which claimed that NBN advertising was potentially confusing or misleading to customers and urged providers to change their language.

They're called typical evening speeds because that's usually the busiest time of day for internet traffic - between 7pm and 11pm. That's when a lot of people are using the internet, which results in congestion of the lines and generally slower speeds. So by signing up for a plan with a certain typical evening speed, you'll know a) the speed you're most likely to get at the time you're most likely using the internet, and b) that the speed will probably increase at other times of the day.

Here are the ACCC's recommended new speed categories:

Basic evening speed

Used to be called: Tier 1, or nbn12, or 12/1 speed

Minimum speed: No minimum

Suitable for: Light internet usage. Basically, if you choose this plan, you probably won't notice much of a difference than before you switched to NBN.

Standard evening speed

Used to be called: Tier 2, or nbn25, or 25/5 speed

Minimum speed: 15 Mbps

Suitable for: The average internet user. Would allow you to stream a high definition movie while someone else in your house browses the internet.

Standard plus evening speed

Used to be called: Tier 3, or nbn50, or 50/20 speed

Minimum speed: 30 Mbps

Suitable for: Higher usage. Would allow you to stream an ultra-high definition movie while someone else in your house streams music.

Premium evening speed

Used to be called: Tier 4, or nbn100, or 100/40 speed

Minimum speed: 60 Mbps

Suitable for: Very high usage. Would allow you to stream an ultra-high definition movie while other people in your house play online games.

While the ACCC has outlined minimum speeds for each tier, some providers are claiming to offer typical evening speeds above the minimum. Here's a comparison of the speeds (in Mbps) at each tier for some providers:

Telstra

Standard evening speed: 20 Mbps; Standard plus evening speed: 40 Mbps

Optus

Basic evening speed: 7 Mbps; Standard evening speed: 15 Mbps

TPG

Basic evening speed: 11.1 Mbps; Standard plus evening speed: 42.8 Mbps; Premium evening speed: 66.2 Mbps

Belong

Basic evening speed: 1-12 Mbps; Standard evening speed: 15 Mbps; Premium evening speed: 60 Mbps

Foxtel

Basic evening speed: 7 Mbps; Standard evening speed: 15 Mbps; Standard plus evening speed: 30 Mbps; Premium evening speed: 60 Mbps

Whatever your choice, make sure you know what you're being promised when you sign up for an NBN plan; and if you're not getting what you were promised, you can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman or the ACCC.