Being a student brings some pretty cool perks, but it also brings some incredible challenges. One of the biggest is meeting all your study requirements, while also managing your finances – and trying to squeeze some socialising in as well! This means finding the balance between spending that enables learning and spending on things that, well, might not be entirely study related. And one of the biggest grey areas is broadband.
Can You Get a Student Discount on Broadband?
Sure, student cards offer some discounts, but aside from public services like transport and the occasional Wednesday Night Special at the on-campus bar, the student discount can only go so far.
Can you get by as a student without broadband? When I was studying, I made it a point in my first year to visit family and friends who had outstanding internet connections. I would hang out on campus to use the (buggy, unreliable) free WiFi. And I even chugged my way through countless coffee-and-muffin combos to keep a table at the local cafe. Let me tell you — it is not a good feeling. It put a strain on my relationships, my budget, my waistline, my nerves – and funnily enough my wallet (those coffees ain’t cheap). And if I could do it over again, getting better broadband would be my number one priority — right after dropping out of accounting.
What Do You Need?
Not all students use the internet the same way, but there are some factors they all have in common.
A reliable connection
As a student, it’s important to have a solid connection. Online research, downloading course outlines, uploading projects, collaborating with fellow students in those ever-present group assignments — it’s safe to say you will be spending a lot of time online. Especially if you’re doing distance education, or are enrolled in an online course. You need to know that your internet won’t slow to a crawl or bug out — especially when completing an online test or uploading your assignment minutes before the due date. This means you need, at the very least, an ADSL2+ connection, preferably close to an exchange.
Unless you’re involved in video production and need to access and send massive files on a regular basis, the course data you need to download probably won’t take up hundreds of gigabytes. But you’re not just using the internet for study, are you? This is the digital age, a lot of our lives are lived online. From social media and streaming TV online to gaming with friends — there’s a lot going on. With this in mind students need to ensure there’s enough data left at the end of the month for you to download the lecture slides from that one class you keep missing.
This is a given even if you live at home. Firstly, as a student, you don’t have a lot of time to work a regular gig outside of study time. Secondly, the kinds of gigs you get as a student don’t typically pay a whole lot. And finally, the spare change you do manage to scrape together also needs to fund your social life — which, in Australia, is not that cheap!
Freedom to move
Whether you’ll be staying on-campus, finding a decent place to rent, or maybe staying with family, real-life experience shows us that it’s best to be prepared to move. There are many reasons you might choose to relocate while studying, from noisy neighbours and increasing rent, through to difficulties with familial landlords. So it pays to find a plan that’s flexible enough to let you pack up and relocate should you need to.
You can’t rely on mobile.
Yes, there are plenty of mobile plans that offer loads of data, but measured against the points above, they don’t make the cut. Why? Because they’re often more expensive per gigabyte of data, and their speed and reliability depend on too many other factors (like tower location and number of devices around you). Plus, you want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have that connection available when you need it.
What Broadband Deals Can a Student Card Deliver?
In our search for student-friendly internet bundles and plans, we came across a big fat zero. While a number of plans exist that will make concessions for student mobile plans, we couldn’t find any major telcos offering special discounts for student internet.
So, are there deals out there that meet your needs without a student card? Let’s take a look!
Sharing a House? Telstra is Your Friend
If you’re moving out for the first time, chances are you’ll be moving into a shared house. You and your mates will be on your own and most likely looking for deals. So it makes sense to go with an all-in-one solution that gives you everything you need for a good rate — and Telstra offers students a great solution. Their Entertainment Plan gives you unlimited data, a Telstra Smart Modem, unlimited local, national and mobile calls, a Telstra TV, and a $125 Telstra TV Box Office credit. All that for just $99/month. Split that between two people and that’s $50/month for all the internet you’ll ever need. You can even get this on a month-to-month plan. Just pay out what your modem in case you leave before 24 months. And all of it is backed up by one of the biggest networks in the country.
Get Telstra’s Broadband Bundle
Get the new Telstra TV 3 + unlimited data + $125 Telstra TV Box Office credit + 3 mths unlimited access to hayu, DocPlay, Garage, & AnimeLab — all for only $99/mth!
Distance Education? Try Southern Phone
If you’re struggling to find a low-cost option or if you’re in a regional area and can’t find a trusted provider that will get you connected, then Southern Phone is the telco for you! Offering both ADSL and NBN connections, Southern Phone has some great plans. Starting at just $50/month for their basic NBN connection (100GB, 12/1 speed tier) and $60/month for 500GB on ADSL2+, this local company truly delivers a variety of options ideal for students. For regional students in areas that aren’t serviced by ADSL or the NBN, they offer their “Sky Muster” Satellite Plan. This gives you 12Mbps speeds with data allowances starting at 70GB for $38/month, or 120GB for $45/month. You’ll need to supply your own WiFi modem (or buy one for a one-off $99 cost) but the satellite dish and installation is all done at no cost to you.
Get Great Value Broadband Plans with No Lock-In Contract!
Get connected today with Southern Phone broadband, offering a great range of NBN plans for all needs and budget. NBN plans start at only $50/mth and come with no lock-in contract.
Get the Fastest with MyRepublic
MyRepublic is all about delivering super-fast internet without breaking the bank — and your patience. With their Premium Speed plans delivering up to 83Mbps typical evening speed, everything you do on your device, from streaming to gaming to downloading, is remarkably fast. If you’re a student and you’re on a tight budget, high monthly costs shouldn’t stop you from enjoying high-speed internet. That’s why MyRepublic offers NBN100 plans at only $89.95 per month, with or without a lock-in contract. To get your money’s worth, all plans also include a home phone connection with unlimited calls to Aussie landlines.
Super-Fast NBN with MyRepublic
Get unlimited data at super-fast speeds with MyRepublic’s NBN100 plans from $89.95/mth + score $10 off for the first 12 months. Offer ends 21 July 2019.
You Can Count on MATE
University life is hectic so it’s only right to get an internet plan that can help as far as one’s productivity is concerned. In this case, you need a broadband service that’s fast, unlimited, and still cheap. For students, there’s MATE. NBN plans start at $59/month on NBN12. If you share the internet with someone else, the Best Mates NBN50 unlimited plan is a wise pick. It offers uncapped data on the NBN50 speed for another $10/month. Best of all, MATE’s products and services aren’t tied to any lengthy contracts so you get the flexibility you need.
Get Great Value with Mate!
Grab the best deals on NBN & ADSL with Mate Communicate. Unlimited data + no lock-in contracts + no setup fees. NBN plans start at $59/mth.
Squeeze a Good Deal from Tangerine
One facet of student life is dealing with monthly bills, especially for those renting their own place or sharing it with a mate. It can be quite stressful having to look through several bills that come in month after month. That’s why Tangerine’s cheap internet plans are a relief. With an additional $10 monthly discount for six months, you can score unlimited internet for as low as $54.90 per month. You don’t have to worry about the setup fees, either. Plans aren’t only cheap, they’re also flexible. There’s no lock-in contract so you can cancel anytime. Plus there’s a 14-day risk-free trial for added freedom.
Get Unlimited NBN Plans That Pack A Punch!
Sign up now to start your risk free 14-day free trial + get $10 off every NBN plan for the first 6 months plus other perks. Plans start at $54.90/mth.
Don’t Forget to Compare for the Best Deals!
As the examples here show, there’s not a lot of interest from Internet providers in making special offers for full-time students, but you can find regular plans with the prices and features that still meet your needs.
The key to making your student broadband budget stretch is to shop around. Look up the plans directly — and if you’ve got any questions about a particular provider’s service, give them a call! Talking to an actual person helps give you a good sense of what they can offer.
If you’re relatively new to the world of broadband plans, don’t be afraid to go for a plan with no contract. This way, you can see what the service is like first-hand — and if you find yourself needing more, or paying too much, you can switch to a new provider while avoiding paying a penalty fee.