So, you want the internet - and why wouldn't you. There is an endless universe of lolcats, dog-shaming and hand-crafted taxidermy to enjoy, and all you need to do is pick the right internet plan to access it all.
But which is right for you?
There is a number of ways we could break down the options, but we'll attempt to identify the kind of customer you are, and tell you the best type of broadband to fit your needs. Here goes….
We often hear from our readers that they want internet without a contract tying them down. Maybe you are renting a house and planning a move or maybe you don't like the idea of signing-up for the long-term when you don't know how the service will pan out.
You might be surprised to hear it, but there are loads of contract-free, month-to-month options across the spectrum of broadband plans, so finding one shouldn't be too difficult.
The catch is that you will either need to provide your own hardware, or buy it at full cost upfront from the ISP. This might set you back a few hundred dollars, but it sets you free in the long run.
NBN 25 Plans
You are a prodigious bargain hunter, and you want the cheapest internet with the highest value plans. A fixed-line ADSL2+ or NBN 12 connection is the best choice for you.
Fixed-line broadband (ADSL2+): speeds up to 24Mbps (usually about 10Mbps).
Fixed-line broadband (NBN 12): speeds up to 12Mbps
Hardware needed: an ADSL2+/NBN compatible modem (often bundled with a plan). You might choose one with a Wi-Fi router built in to share the connection throughout your home.
- Cheap GBs: If you assume that all internet is just big chunks of data, than fixed-line services are usually the most cost effective. Plans start from about $40 per month, but the more you pay, the cheaper the data becomes.
- Consistent service: so long as everything is working as planned, you should get the same connection to the internet every day.
- Bundles: many ISPs offer great value bundles with fixed-line broadband plans, including deals on home phone lines with national and international calls, and TV services like Fetch TV and Telstra's T-Box service.
- Requires a phone line: the hidden catch for ADSL2+ internet is that you need to have a phone line in the house. If you don't have an active line, this is an extra $30 per month they would prefer not to pay.
- Requires some technical knowledge: while your service provider will make it as easy as possible to connect to their service, maintaining a network and setting up Wi-Fi routers takes some tech knowledge.
- Locked in: many fixed-line internet plans require a commitment, usually for 12 or 24-months.
NBN 12 Plans
If you can make use of a high-speed connection, and you live in an NBN connected area, then an NBN plan is perfect for you.
NBN: speed vary by plan, top speed is 100Mbps
Hardware needed: NBN supplied hardware, an NBN-ready modem.
This is what the future of home internet connections looks like, and if you're lucky to live in the right area you can have it today.
- Consistently fastest: you will see more speed more often than compared with Mobile Broadband options or other fixed-line alternatives like ADSL2+.
- NBN plans will one day be available to everyone, but for now it is a bit of a lucky dip. If your suburb is connected, good for you, otherwise you will have to wait.
NBN 100 Plans
If you have decided to ditch the home phone and only have a mobile phone, then you don't want to pay for a home phone line just to use the internet. This is exactly why Naked DSL plans are becoming more and more popular.
Naked DSL: speeds up to 24Mbps
Hardware needed: an ADSL2+ modem.
A Naked DSL plan is basically the same as a regular ADSL2+ broadband connection, except you aren't required to have a home-phone connection to use it.
- Same, but different: a Naked DSL plan is functionally identical to a fixed-line ADSL2+ plan, except it doesn't require you to have a home phone line connected. That's it.
- Good value: typically, you will pay a little more for Naked DSL (around $10 per month) but the plans are still really competitive regardless on this added expense.
- Techy know-how: as it is with a fixed-line connection, setting up and maintaining a Naked DSL connection can be tricky.
- Contracts aplenty: most Naked DSL plans require a commitment of some sort, though customers who bring their own modems can find a few month-to-month options out there.
Naked DSL Plans
On the move
You don't like to be tied down, maybe you want to play the field; we're not judging you. If you are constantly moving about, and you want internet that follows, Mobile Broadband is best for you.
Mobile Broadband: real-world speeds of about 40Mbps (4G) / 20Mbps (3G+)
Hardware needed: a 3G or 4G modem.
If you want to keep your options open, a Mobile Broadband (MBB) plan is the way to go. You will have to buy yourself a modem first, but then you'll be able to choose the monthly plan that suits you, on the mobile network that works best wherever you plan to use it.
- Mobility - because you connect to the same network as your phone, you can take these modems anywhere.
- Flexibility - so long as you own the modem, you can sign up for a month-to-month plan and leave at any time.
- Stand-alone service - MBB plans don't require you to have other services, like a home phone line, connected to use them.
- Price - a MBB modem can be expensive, and the cost of data is a lot more compared with fixed-line broadband. For example, you might find a mobile telco charges about $5 per GB for MBB data, but only $0.50 to $1 for a GB on a fixed-line plan.
- Consistency - because of the many factor that affect network reception, it is much more difficult to be guaranteed a solid and consistent service with MBB.
Mobile Broadband plans (with at least 10GB)