Compare Broadband Plans & Providers
Barefoot Broadband Review: Is This Flexible Telco Right for you?With a straightforward set of NBN and ADSL plans that are priced competitively – and with no contracts, setup fees or other annoyances – Barefoot Broadband is a welcome change.
Broadband Internet & NBN in Australia
Broadband in Australia
Not that long ago, most people in the country wouldn’t have even known what broadband was. With our lives increasingly being lived online, however, it’s very rapidly become a crucial part of our day-to-day existence, and the NBN has played a major role in allowing that to happen.
Broadband in Australia is often talked about in relatively negative terms. And it’s true, Australia has taken a little longer to organise a modern broadband network than many other developed countries, as well as to actually complete the process of rolling it out across the nation.
This network, known as the NBN, is now available across most of Australia and is certainly a significant upgrade for most people, but prior to its existence most people were content with their reasonably reliable, not-too-fast but not-too-slow ADSL connection through the phone network.
With the arrival of Netflix and all the streaming services that followed, however, our needs have changed.
No longer is our internet connection only required to be fast enough to allow us to check our emails – now, it needs to be fast enough to stream our favourite shows or live sport!
Effects of Internet Streaming
A few short years ago, TV streaming didn’t even exist, and we were perfectly happy with our free-to-air selection, occasionally supplemented by some pay TV. Nowadays, however, it’s tough to imagine life without it, and even having an internet connection which occasionally causes buffering is enough to throw us into a fit. Add to that the fact that we now use our phones and tablets for internet, and need faster connections for things like complicated video games and voice calling, and all of a sudden broadband is a huge part of our lives.
That’s where the NBN came in, but with it came an increasingly complicated industry. On first look, the array of different options available to get you connected to it can be daunting, but if you can learn how to weed out the fluff and focus purely on the critical information, things become a whole lot easier.
While the multitude of internet service providers can make things complicated, the competition also inevitably means there’s plenty of choice, and a whole lot of value. Finding the best plan for you isn’t always entirely straightforward, but if you know what you’re looking for you should end up with a deal to suit your needs.
How to Get Connected
How you ultimately get connected up to broadband depends on a variety of factors. Your options will obviously be significantly impacted by whether the NBN has rolled out in your area yet, but other factors such as the type of building you live in and the size of your city or town also play a role.
Typically, you’ll be able to find out what type of connection you can get on the websites of any internet service providers, simply by typing in your address. This will give you some information on what sort of broadband is available, but remember, regardless of what type of broadband you ultimately get, you’ll still be able to access the same content online – you’ll just be doing so through a different medium. There are, however, advantages that certain connection types have over others.
National Broadband Network
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard a little bit about the National Broadband Network – or the NBN – in recent years. The long and sometimes painful process of rolling it out across our enormous country has been the topic of a lot of conversation, but we’re now at the stage where millions of homes and businesses are now connected to it.
There are various types of NBN connections people have, from fibre to the home (FTTP) to fibre to a box in the street (FTTN), and numerous others in between. You can’t choose between these – it depends on the way the NBN was rolled out in your area – but regardless, with the array of choices that come with being in an NBN-connected area you’ll still be able to get fast and reliable broadband for a good price.
Prior to the NBN’s extensive rollout, one of the best options for speedy internet was connecting to the pay TV cables which were owned by Telstra and Optus. Unfortunately, connection required one of these cables to be running directly past your home, which was only the case for a small number of people across the country. With the NBN’s rollout, the Optus cable is being shut down, while the Telstra cable will be upgraded by the NBN. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with this technology, which is often referred to as HFC, then you’ll soon have access to high speed and reliable broadband.
To ensure they delivered on their promise of providing everyone in Australia with NBN, a satellite called ‘SkyMuster’ was launched into orbit. The intention of SkyMuster was to give those who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to access the internet at all a way of connecting. Though it isn’t the best connection in the country, it still provides faster speeds than the best ADSL would offer, and is more than acceptable for standard internet use and streaming.
Mobile connections wouldn’t typically be thought of as a great option for a primary internet connection, but a huge amount of competition in the industry means you can suddenly get some pretty significant data inclusions on the 4G network for a decent price. Compared to fixed broadband, however, these limits are still generally fairly low, so if you’re a heavy streamer it might not be ideal, but for general internet use it’s a reasonable compromise for those without access to the other options.
A forgotten name with the invent of the NBN, ADSL does still exist, and remains a viable connection option for many people. Though it certainly won’t provide the speeds that NBN connections are capable of, it is generally fast enough to stream in reasonable definition – particularly if you’re close to the local phone exchange!
How to Choose Your Plan
Broadband plans today exist to cater for internet users of all types. The needs different people can differ enormously, and it’s important to identify what your priorities are before you sign up with a service provider.
The number of people in your home, for example, is an obvious factor you need to take into consideration when looking for a plan. If you’re living by yourself you probably won’t need unlimited data.
If you’re out of the house for much of the day, it’s most likely you can get by with a much cheaper plan offering a lower data allowance. If you binge watch shows (via streaming) for hours on end it’s worth doing a quick tally of the data consumption per hour to work out how much you’d churn through in a month.
In contrast, families will most likely need to look at the other end of the spectrum, particularly with the amount of time kids tend to spend online these days. If you’ve got a couple of Netflix accounts streaming at once and another kid studying online, you’ll be using up plenty of data, so make sure you account for that.
Alternatively, maybe you need internet for your own business. In that case, seek out the business plans that are available with some providers. These can often provide a few added perks like priority support and a fixed IP address to give you more value for your dollar.
It wasn’t long ago that the idea of an unlimited data plan would only have entered the minds of those with a whole lot of room in their budget to blow on internet. Now, it’s basically the opposite. Virtually every internet provider will offer unlimited data in most of their plans – which makes sense, given only the lowest data-users would be able to stick to any sort of data restrictions. Today, we’re using the internet constantly for things that use up plenty of data – think Netflix, Stan and other streaming services. Data usage is higher than it’s ever been, so for most households, unlimited data will be a priority.
If you want it, you’ll generally be able to find a plan that suits you with no lock-in contract. In the past, if you wanted to change provider someone would have literally had to change cables to switch your network – with the NBN, however, this is a thing of the past. As a result many service providers want you to sign longer term contracts to keep you from leaving, but the vast majority will also offer no lock-in contracts to allow you to leave whenever you like. If you don’t mind being locked in though, long-term plans can have their benefits, generally offering better value and a few added perks.
High Speed Broadband
The NBN is, on the whole, significantly faster than what we were dealing with a few years ago. Just how fast your connection is, however, can vary quite a lot. When you choose your plan you’ll be asked to select a speed, with the faster packs obviously coming in more expensive. Ideally, you should go for a plan on at least the 25/5 speed tier, but if you have a large family or particularly need or want very fast internet, a 50/20Mbps plan might be more suitable.
Bundling your Broadband
There’s every chance that, when it comes to your communication needs, broadband won’t be the be all and end all. The most significant of the others, of course, is mobile, which is now a necessary part of everyday life.
It can get a little confusing having to sort through bills for so many different things, but a great way to make it a little easier – and cheaper – is to bundle your broadband. Essentially, bundling is when you get numerous services on the one plan – not a new concept, and for a long time you’ve been able to bundle your home phone and mobile, for example. Not only does bundling make things more straightforward, with only one provider giving you everything you need, but the major benefit is the money you can save.
All the different bundling options can make things even more confusing than they already are, but thanks to our interactive broadband bundle comparison page, you can make it a little easier for yourself. This page puts all the information on one page, allowing you to easily sift through the options without having to jump between different provider pages.
To get going, you first need to identify what you’d like to bundle, be it broadband with a phone service, or perhaps TV entertainment as well. Next, select the connection type that is available to you – NBN, ADSL or cable – and the total amount of data you’d like. As mentioned earlier, unlimited will be the choice for most people, but there are a select few who know they don’t need that much. Then select how much money you’re willing to pay, and you’ll be given a list of providers and plan options that suit your needs.
Australia’s veteran pay TV provider Foxtel also provides broadband. Bundling internet with your TV service can save you a ton of money, while enjoying the speed of the Telstra broadband network.
Read Foxtel Review
Low cost, unlimited data and no contracts are the order of the day at Belong Broadband, where they make connecting to the net quick and stress-free. Also based on the Telstra network – it’s a no-brainer.
Read Belong Review
Giving you all you need to get fast broadband connected without a hassle – and at a surprisingly low price – MATE Broadband can take care of all your ADSL and NBN needs, including bundles with unlimited home phone calls.
Read MATE Review
Southern Phone Broadband plans have you covered with a range of plans that suit all types of budget. They have a brilliant pricing structure that lets you fine-tune your monthly spend based on the amount of data you’re likely to use.
Contact Southern Phone
Read Southern Phone Review
Enjoy internet at its fastest with the award-winning network with all-Australian support Aussie Broadband. Aussie’s NBN service stands out with their Build Your Own Plan feature and their fastest speed tier delivering up to 250/100Mbps.
Contact Aussie Broadband
Read Aussie Broadband Review
Australian telco Click Broadband offers unlimited-only internet plans, aiming to deliver value for money services. Unlimited data, no lock-in contracts, low costs, 7-day customer service, and solid speed.
Contact Click Broadband
Read Click Broadband Review
Sumo Broadband offer no lock-in contract, unlimited-only internet plans at affordable rates, plus the option to bundle your Sumo internet plan with other utilities such as home phone for even greater savings.
Contact Sumo Broadband
Read Sumo Broadband Review