There’s a vast amount of choice available to you when looking for an internet service provider (ISP). And it’s never been cheaper to get yourself hooked up with a plan that gives you all the broadband you need. No matter whether you’re just a casual web-and-email user, a creative mind uploading and downloading gigabytes of data, a gamer looking for a reliable connection to your online worlds or a movie fanatic that can’t get enough of streaming video, there’s a plan and an ISP to fit your needs.
With the NBN rolling out at an increasing pace, knowing your ISP options is a must. The new national network makes it easier to not only choose and connect to an ISP, but also to switch to a different one if you need to. All without weeks of waiting around for the connection to happen.
Here are ten of the best internet service providers on the market, all offering solid service and attractive plans and pricing. A quick overview to help get you started on the search for the ISP that fits you best.
The ISP formerly known as Bigpond, Telstra ultimately decided to stick their main brand name on their broadband service. Probably to reflect the level of service quality that their 4G mobile network is so renowned for. Moving into the NBN era, Telstra is emphasising what they do best – bundled deals.
Their offers are perfect for families and households that want to get a reliable, fast service and have their other communications needs covered. The $99/month bundle gives you unlimited data, a Telstra TV box for streaming Netflix, Stan and Foxtel Now, two full years of your choice of Foxtel Now pack, and a home phone line.
If you’d rather have satellite Foxtel, the $129 bundle’s even better – unlimited data, home phone and Foxtel’s Entertainment and Sports packs, with a free iQ3 box. With one of the best-provisioned broadband networks in the country powering all of it, the current Telstra bundle pricing is very sweet indeed.
Specialising in NBN plans and 100% Australian owned and operated, Barefoot Telecom keeps things nice and straightforward. No matter what plan you choose, you get unlimited data along with no contract, no setup or activation fees, no fees to change your plan at any time and the same pricing regardless of the NBN technology that happens to be installed in your area.
Plans range from $49 for a 12/1 plan (12 Mbps download, 1 Mbps upload) to $89 for the 100/40 plan, the current top NBN speed available to Australians. Barefoot’s support team is based in Australia and they promise exceptional service and support for all of their customers. With no contracts to tie you down to their service, they’ve clearly got a lot of confidence in that promise. And we love how they keep things simple.
Speaking of keeping things simple, Belong was almost a pioneer of fuss-free broadband – and at a great price, too. Belong uses the Telstra network as its backbone, meaning you’ve got access to the same well-designed and extremely capable network that Telstra customers themselves do. But the pricing here is more geared to those who just want broadband and want it on their terms.
NBN or ADSL, contract or month-to-month, Belong fits in with the way you want to do things. You can get unlimited NBN broadband for $60/month on a 12-month contract, or $65 month-to-month. An extra $10 boosts your speed to 50/20 or an extra $30 takes it to the maximum 100/40, making the top-speed plan $90 on contract with a free modem. An extremely competitive deal indeed!
Coming up on two decades as an Australian ISP, iPrimus has long provided fast, rock-solid and reliable broadband to millions of customers. Their more recent move into the Vocus family of companies has meant that they’re now one of Australia’s major ISPs in terms of connectivity. Great for those looking to stream Netflix and Stan, play online games on Australian servers or download huge software updates from companies like Microsoft and Adobe. Data centres for all of them are connected direct to the iPrimus network and the difference shows.
Unlimited NBN broadband is available from $80 per month. iPrimus is also one of only a few ISPs that can offer you a Fetch TV service along with your broadband package.
Just like the way Telstra has moved towards bundling Foxtel with some of their packages, Foxtel has its own bundle offerings that do the reverse. They add high-quality broadband to Foxtel plans so you’ve got the best of both worlds on the one bill. With the Telstra network doing the heavy lifting on the broadband side of things, Foxtel gives you a bigger discount on unlimited broadband depending on which channel packs you choose to subscribe to.
As an example, you can get unlimited NBN broadband at 50/20 along with a home phone with unlimited national calls bundled with the sports combo (12 sport channels and 45 entertainment channels) for a total of $130 per month. Or with the all-the-channels Platinum HD pack for $202/month – making the unlimited broadband and phone components $75 and $65 respectively. The unlimited data makes that a pretty solid deal for Foxtel customers.
Highly rated on Product Review and full of colourful enthusiasm, the fresh-faced MATE Communicate is another company determined to keep things simple.
You can connect to either NBN or ADSL broadband, with all plans boasting unlimited data and a base price of $39/month for ADSL and $49 a month for NBN. Plans on the NBN go all the way up to the top speed tier at $89, but also include a middle speed tier – 50Mbps – that’ll be more than enough download speed for many. It’s available for a great-value $59. All MATE Communicate plans are contract-free as well as being free of activation and plan-change fees.
The famous flightless bird’s been around for a long time in the Australian ISP scene. Now that they’re a part of the Vocus group they’re flying faster than ever before, with access to the same top-tier network as iPrimus. But while iPrimus firmly focuses on selling broadband plans with optional connected TV, Dodo puts their Fetch TV offering front and centre.
They also sell both entry-level NBN plans starting at $29.90/month (with fairly strict data limits) and unlimited NBN from $69.90. For those still on ADSL the Fetch TV bundle is an absolute bargain. The $44.90 plan gives you unlimited ADSL, a Fetch Mini box (which takes care of your Netflix and Stan streaming needs) and your choice of one of Fetch’s premium channel packs.
Bright orange from top to bottom, Tangerine is another fresh local company giving you options when it comes to the NBN. Offers include connections to all the different versions of the NBN starting at $49.90 per month and heading up to the 50/20 speed tier at $59.90/month. You get unlimited data, no setup fees and no lock-in contract.
If you still want that home phone line active and available for those hours-long chats with your friends, they offer an unlimited phone plan. It’s an extra $10/month and includes calls to Aussie mobiles, something many home phone plans charge by the minute for.
Another veteran ISP that’s grown to be almost a household name in Australia, iiNet is a Fetch TV partner as well. They’ll give you a Fetch TV Mini box, a bunch of channels and 30 free movies a month with most of their broadband plans for an extra $10 per month. A pretty nice bonus on top of their well-priced NBN plans.
Broadband plans give you lots of choices for unlimited data starting at $69.99 and heading up to $99.99 per month. There are also additional plans available that include a home phone line with unlimited calls. There’s no contract required. However, taking that route means a $79.90 setup fee, which is waived if you sign on for 24 months. They’ll throw in a Wi-Fi modem, too!
A relatively new NBN-only broadband provider, Skymesh has been winning itself a lot of praise from its ever-growing userbase. Both for the quality of their service and the responsiveness of the company to any upgrades that are needed to avoid congestion issues.
They service all flavours of the NBN – including the Sky Muster satellite service for rural customers. Skymesh offers free setup, free activation, free connection, no contracts and the ability to cancel any time on 30 days’ notice if you’re not happy with the results. They’re not fond of the idea of unlimited plans, but give you a generous chunk of data for your money.
Plenty of choice, plenty of value
The days of only one or two internet service providers being available are long behind us. Now, you can pick and choose from any of the above quality providers as well as many others, and reap the benefits of a thriving industry where intense competition has just made for better deals for you, the consumer.