Home internet plans are multiplying — and so are the potential cost savings — despite fresh criticism of Australia’s National Broadband Network.
The NBN came under fire last week amid claims that many suburbs and individual premises were not ready to connect.
People with NBN access have plenty of ways to pay less in a highly competitive broadband market.
Comparison websites are a good starting point and will show costs, internet speed and data allowances, but check how many providers a website partners with. Some deal with fewer than 10 while others examine 30 or more providers.
Australians with a fixed phone and broadband service do not have to switch to the NBN until 18 months after it arrives at their location, or they can use wireless services instead.
Internet specialists say the best value NBN plans are the Standard
Plus Evening Speed, previously called NBN 50.
“Many providers have made their Standard Plus Evening Speed plans more affordable, and they are usually suitable for families wanting to connect multiple devices, stream online entertainment or gaming,” said iSelect spokeswoman Jessie Petterd.
She said the majority of consumers were choosing NBN services, and some might save money by locking in to a 12-month contract, which
often had lower set-up fees and pre-configured modems.
“A lot of people prefer unlimited data plans for budget certainty and to protect themselves from high internet use, but many users don’t need it and could be paying more than they need to,” Ms Petterd said.
Jasmin Igglesden and her family moved to Australia from New Zealand and said NBN options and technologies were “a bit daunting”.
“We use the internet for pretty standard stuff,” she said. “Netflix, and our six year old watches YouTube. I would say we’d use 100GB per month.”
Telecommunications comparison website Whistleout.com.au’s publisher, Joseph Hanlon, recommended choosing unlimited plans because there was little difference in price. “It’s one less thing to worry about,” he said.
“Most people should be looking at NBN plans — put that at the top of
your list. Home wireless broadband
is the alternative where NBN doesn’t work out.”
Mr Hanlon said it was worth considering smaller internet providers such as Tangerine and Aussie Broadband. “You can save $20 a month by choosing one of the smaller brands you haven’t come across before,” he said. “If you stick with Optus, Telstra and iiNet, you will be paying more.”
If you’re not a big internet user, you may get by with a smartphone’s data plan, but Mr Hanlon said he “wouldn’t recommend it for a family with kids, homework to do and Netflix to watch”.