We all know the NBN can be confusing, but it turns out many Australians don't even know what exactly it is they're paying for.
In a survey we commissioned, 40% of respondents told us they don't know what internet speed plan they're subscribed to. Based on NBN's latest figures, that's equivalent to 1.4 million Australians.
In addition, 15% of respondents said they're uncertain of how much data their plan includes. 5% of respondents didn't know their speed or their data allowance.
Given that an NBN plan is made up of two things - a data allowance and a speed -, this research suggests half of Australians don't know actually know what exactly it is they pay for on a monthly basis.
The majority of this group said they switched because they didn't want their existing internet service being cut-off, and 86% kept their existing provider when moving to the NBN.
While there's nothing wrong with staying with a provider you're happy with, respondents who didn't know what NBN speed they're paying for spend more than the typical NBN subscriber: $81 per month on average. Only NBN customers who knew they were paying for an NBN 100 plan had a larger monthly spend, averaging $87.
It's staggering to think that half of Australians don't wholly understand what NBN plan they're paying for, but it's not entirely surprising. Telcos have changed the way it describes connection speeds twice this year.
At the start of the year, NBN Co moved away from language such as a "tier 2" to using phrases like "NBN 25" to describe connection speeds.
This is now being supplemented with evening speeds, a new system that's meant to give subscribers a better idea of how fast their internet will be during peak hours. However, evening speeds aren't being used consistently throughout the industry, and some providers are using their own plan names without providing any speed guidance.
It's no wonder NBN customers don't know what they're paying for.
We also feel the small number of subscribers who swapped provider represents a missed opportunity. Sticking with a name you're familiar with isn't necessarily a bad choice, but you can also find value by being brave and trying a smaller provider. Just because you haven't heard of a telco doesn't mean they won't provide a good service.
Many smaller providers also offer no contract NBN solutions, which means that if you're not happy, you leave whenever you want.
What you can do?
If you're one of many Australians who doesn't fully understand your NBN plan, there's a couple of things you can do - you might even be able to save some money by changing plans.
If you want to read more about the NBN, internet speeds, and data usage, we have a couple of resources:
If you are looking to change, or even just want to see what else is out there, put in your address below to see what plans are available in your area.
Of course, whether or not you can change plan or provider will depend on whether you're locked into a contract. If you've committed to a 12 or 24 month plan you'll need to see it through to the end, unless you pay an early exit fee.