Life Tech Fed up with your slow or unreliable NBN internet connection? Here’s what to do

Fed up with your slow or unreliable NBN internet connection? Here’s what to do

NBN users should test their internet speed to ensure they're getting what they've paid for. Photo: Getty
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Nearly one in two internet users don’t know what the “typical evening speed” of their NBN plan is, and it’s causing consternation, research has shown.

The typical evening speed is the top speed your NBN plan is capable of achieving in peak-hour internet traffic (between 7pm and 11pm) and is offered in four tiers: Basic, standard, standard plus and premium.

Uncertainty about internet speeds is creating unhappy customers, the Roy Morgan poll released this week found, with higher rates of satisfaction recorded among those who knew what their typical evening speed was compared with those who didn’t.

It’s important for understand the national broadband network (NBN) speed tiers for two reasons, experts say.

Firstly, so that you can make sure you are on the right plan for your needs.

Secondly, because knowing your speed tier means you can ensure you’re getting the service you’re paying for.

NBN speed tiers explained

These are the four NBN speed tiers:

  • ‘Basic’ NBN 12 (12Mbps): Equivalent to ADSL2+
  • ‘Standard’ NBN 25 (25Mbps): Appropriate for single users
  • ‘Standard Plus’ NBN 50 (50Mbps): A good all-rounder
  • ‘Premium’ NBN 100 (100Mbps): Recommended for large households or people who download/upload large files.

The higher the megabits per second (Mbps), the faster the internet connection and the more people that can connect to the service without it slowing down.

“As a rule of thumb, the larger your household is, the faster your internet connection should be,” said Kenny McGilvary, a spokesman for telco comparison site WhistleOut.

“These speed tiers indicate the maximum download speed you can get on each, but expect to only achieve about 80 per cent of that during the peak hours of 7 to 11pm.”

If you’re trying to work out the right speed for your household it’s important to consider how many people will be sharing the connection.

“If you have an NBN 25 (Standard) plan and someone in the household is chewing up 10Mbps on a YouTube video then there’s only 15Mbps left for everyone else,” Mr McGilvary said.

“A good starting point is to see what kind of speed your current connection gets, and use your experience with those speeds as a benchmark for what you might need to change to.”

The easy way to check your internet speed

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) chief executive Teresa Corbin said checking your internet speeds is quick, free, and easy.

Simply run an online speed test via a website such as, or WhistleOut.

“These websites show you the speed your internet connection is getting in Megabits per second (Mbps),” Ms Corbin said.

“You can then cross-check the actual speed you’re getting, versus what your internet service provider has promised.”

How to fix a slow or unreliable internet connection

If you’re frustrated by slow or unreliable internet, the first step is to contact the telco you’ve signed up with.

“They are responsible for helping you troubleshoot the issue,” Ms Corbin said.

If you’re not satisfied with your telco’s response, the next step is to escalate your complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

The TIO will contact your telco directly, and manages to resolve nearly 90 per cent of complaints within 10 business days.

“For complaints still not resolved, we investigate further and make a binding assessment,” the TIO said.

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