How to Save Money on Broadband with a Student Budget


 Cheap Broadband Plans for Students

Updated on 28th May 2020

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 related to your education. 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.

How to choose the cheapest internet plan for Aussie Students?

Not all students use the internet the same way, but there are some factors they all have in common. How much data do you use, where your located and most importantly, how fast does your connection need to be. All these factors will determine what the most affordable internet plan is for you as a student in Australia.

  • Reliability
  • Data Limits
  • Cost
  • Latency
  • Speed

Do you need reliability?

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.

Do you have enough data?

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.

Where are you located?

In order to maintain both reliability and speed it is ideal to be located as close as possible to your chosen providers exchange point – where the internet connection is made. While a number of latency related factors are generally out of your control, having a better understanding of these issues can help you make your final decision. If you are located more than five kilometres from an exchange, the higher the latency – meaning the longer it would take for a menu to load.

How much will it cost?

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!

How flexible is the plan?

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.

Are there Mobile Broadband Plans available for Students?

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 at plans from Telstra, Southern Phone, MyRepublic, Belong and activ8me.

  • Telstra
  • Southern Phone
  • Belong
  • MyRepublic
  • activ8me

Telstra Entertainment Plan + Free Foxtel Now

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, and a Telstra TV. All that for just $99/month with an included Foxtel Now free for one month. Split that between two people and that’s around $50/month for all the internet you’ll ever need. If you sign up online, you can even have the $99 connection waived and score $10/month off for 12 months! You can 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. For days of entertainment, Telstra also delivers as the Number 1 provider for Netflix streaming.

Telstra Plans

Unlimited Internet Plan
  • $10/mth off for 12 months
  • Free Foxtel Now for 1 month
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 40Mbps Standard Plus Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 50™ Fixed Line
  • Buy online: no connection fee
  • #1 provider to stream Netflix
$90/mth
Min Cost - $2,160 when you stay connected for 24 months, and may change if the month-to-month plan price changes

Premium Speed + Unlimited Data
  • $10/mth off for 12 months
  • Free Foxtel Now for 1 month
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 80Mbps Premium Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 100™ Fixed Line
  • Buy online: no connection fee
  • #1 provider to stream Netflix
$110/mth
Min Cost - $2,640 when you stay connected for 24 months and may change if the month-to-month plan price changes

Unlimited Internet Plan + Telstra TV
  • $10/mth off for 12 months
  • Free Foxtel Now for 1 month
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 40Mbps Standard Plus Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 50™ Fixed Line
  • 10,000 Telstra Plus Bonus Points
  • Buy online: no connection fee
$99/mth
Min Cost - $2,376 when you stay connected for 24 months, and may change if the month-to-month plan price changes.

Last audited 6 May 2020

Southern Phone ADSL and NBN Plans

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 $65/month for their standard NBN connection (unlimited data, 25/5 speed tier) and $60/month for 500GB on ADSL2+, this local company truly delivers a variety of options ideal for students. The NBN plans are also currently offered with $10 monthly discounts, which lets you get connected to unlimited NBN25 from only $55/month! 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.

Southern Phone Plans

nbn™ Unlimited Broadband Standard
  • $55/mth for 6 mths! Ends 31 July
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 20Mbps Standard Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 25™ Fixed Line
  • Ideal for households of 2-3
  • 19Mbps typical evening speed
$55/mth
Min Cost - $55/mth, for 6 months. $65/mth afterwards.

nbn™ Sky Muster Satellite Basic Speed Plan (Small)
  • 40GB off-peak, 30GB peak data
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 9Mbps Basic Evening
  • 70GB Data
  • NBN 12™ Satellite
  • Speed boost available for $5
  • 10Mbps typical evening speed
$38/mth
Min Cost - $38 over 1 month

nbn™ Sky Muster Satellite Basic Speed Plan (Medium)
  • 80GB off-peak, 40GB peak data
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 9Mbps Basic Evening
  • 120GB Data
  • NBN 12™ Satellite
  • Speed boost available for $5
  • 10Mbps typical evening speed
$45/mth
Min Cost - $45 over 1 month

ADSL Medium
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Speeds Vary
  • 500GB Data
  • ADSL2+
  • No activation fee
  • BYO modem
$60/mth
Min Cost - $60 over 1 month

Last audited 6 May 2020

Belong Uncapped Data Plans

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 Belong. NBN plans start at $55/month on NBN25. If you share the internet with someone else, the Standard Plus NBN50 unlimited plan is a wise pick. It offers uncapped data on the NBN50 speed for $65/month (12 months) or $70/month if you don’t want to be tied into a lengthy contract. Plus, all of Belong’s broadband plans include a free $80 mobile credit.

Belong Plans

NBN Starter 12 Month Contract
  • $80 Free Mobile Credit
  • $0 Standard Activation
  • 12 Month Contract
  • Up to 20Mbps Standard Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 25™ Fixed Line
  • $0 Wi-Fi modem
  • No excess usage charge
$55/mth
Min Cost - $660 over 12 months

NBN Standard Plus 12 Month Contract
  • $80 Free Mobile Credit
  • $0 Standard Activation
  • 12 Month Contract
  • Up to 40Mbps Standard Plus Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 50™ Fixed Line
  • $0 Wi-Fi modem
  • No excess usage charge
$65/mth
Min Cost - $780 over 12 months

NBN Standard Plus Month to Month
  • $80 Free Mobile Credit
  • $0 Standard Activation
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 40Mbps Standard Plus Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 50™ Fixed Line
  • $60 Wi-Fi modem
  • No excess usage charge
$70/mth
Min Cost - $130

Last audited 30 April 2020

MyRepublic NBN100 Plans

MyRepublic is all about delivering super-fast internet without breaking the bank — and your patience. With their top-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 NBN100/20 Mbps plans at $89 per month with or with no lock-in contract. To get your money’s worth, all plans also include a home phone connection with unlimited local and national calls plus a preconfigured modem for only $1 when you lock it in for 12 months.

MyRepublic Plans

Unlimited Essential Flexi
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 40Mbps Standard Plus Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 50™ Fixed Line
  • BYO Modem
  • Great for smaller households
$69/mth
Min Cost - $69 over 1 month

Unlimited 100/20Mbps Flexi
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 80Mbps Premium Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 100™ Fixed Line
  • BYO Modem
  • Great plan for a larger household
$89/mth
Min Cost - $89 over 1 month

Unlimited 100/20Mbps 12 Months
  • AC1600 Modem for only $1
  • 12 Month Contract
  • Up to 80Mbps Premium Evening
  • Unlimited Data
  • NBN 100™ Fixed Line
  • Great plan for a larger household
  • Stream content in HD & 4K
$89/mth
Min Cost - $1,079 over 12 months (inc modem and $10 P&H)

Last audited 4 May 2020

activ8me’s Cheap Internet Plans

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 activ8me’s cheap satellite broadband plans are a relief for those in regional and remote areas. From $34.95/month, you can get connected to its Sky Muster plans (NBN12) with 150GB (15GB peak 135GB off peak). In case your data requirements go higher than that, the sweet spot is the 250GB plan with 90GB and 160GB off peak at $89.95/month. Sky Muster Plus plans (NBN25) are also offered from $59.95/month.

activ8me Plans

NBN Sky Muster - 150GB Standard
  • PlayOn Cloud free for 3 months
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 9Mbps Basic Evening
  • 150GB Data
  • NBN 12™ Satellite
  • 15GB peak, 135GB off peak data
  • No excess usage
$34.95/mth
Min Cost - $34.95 per month

NBN Sky Muster Plus - 100GB PLUS
  • PlayOn Cloud free for 3 months
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 20Mbps Standard Evening
  • 100GB Data
  • NBN 25™ Satellite
  • 50GB peak & off peak data
  • No setup & cancellation fees
$69.95/mth
Min Cost - $69.95 per month

NBN Sky Muster - 250GB Standard
  • PlayOn Cloud free for 3 months
  • No Lock-in Contract
  • Up to 9Mbps Basic Evening
  • 250GB Data
  • NBN 12™ Satellite
  • 90GB peak, 160GB off peak data
  • No excess usage
$89.95/mth
Min Cost - $89.95 per month

Last audited 4 May 2020

What is the most affordable Internet Plan for Students?

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.

Recommended

Related Offers

Free Foxtel Now for 1 month
on the Core Internet Plan + Telstra TV plan with 500GB Data and a modem included.
$84/mth
No lock-in contract
$10/mth off for 12 months
on the Unlimited Internet Plan plan with Unlimited Data and a modem included.
$90/mth
No lock-in contract
Free Foxtel Now for 1 month
on the Core Internet Plan plan with 500GB Data and a modem included.
$75/mth
No lock-in contract
AC1600 Modem for only $1
on the Unlimited Essential 12 Months plan with Unlimited Data and a modem included.
$69/mth
12mth contract
$80 Free Mobile Credit
on the NBN Starter 12 Month Contract plan with Unlimited Data and a modem included.
$55/mth
12mth contract
$80 Free Mobile Credit
on the NBN Starter Month to Month plan with Unlimited Data
$60/mth
No lock-in contract
$80 Free Mobile Credit
on the NBN Standard Plus 12 Month Contract plan with Unlimited Data and a modem included.
$65/mth
12mth contract
5GB mobile data
on the NBN Unlimited Triple Bundle plan with Unlimited Data and a modem included.
$100/mth
24mth contract