Before we dig into the broadband offerings for Australian students
, it’s a good idea to take a look at the use cases involved. After all, students aren’t a homogeneous group. You have full-time students and part-time students. Some will rely on their internet connection for study alone, others will turn to online streaming or gaming for entertainment between study sessions. Then there are students who live alone, with family, or with friends. So it stands to reason that there is going to be a diverse range of different requirements.
What do Students Need From a Broadband Plan?
While it’s clear that each student will have different needs from a broadband deal, there are still some elements in common.
A decent rate
This is most relevant to full-time students and those living on their own. Not everyone has the time to work a full-time job alongside regular study. And not everyone lives with reliable housemates — or parents — who can pay a premium rate for broadband.
A reliable connection
A solid connection is a must. Studying requires online research, access to online journals, uploading assignments, and liaising with online study groups. Not to mention the needs of students involved in distance education and online courses. As a student, you need to know that your internet will give you the speed and responsiveness you need, when you need it. This means you need an NBN connection, preferably on the NBN 20 tier. Or at the very least, an ADSL2+ connection that’s close to an exchange.
A reasonable data cap (or no cap at all)
Emails, messaging, and uploading assignments generally do not take up a lot of data — unless you’re downloading massive files on a regular basis as part of your course. Still, it’s rare that any student is just using the internet for study purposes. With so much of our lives happening online — social media, streaming TV services, and online gaming all spring to mind — there’s a real need to make sure that you have enough data to enable a balance between study and leisure.
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.
Top Five Broadband Deals for Students
While value for money may be at the top of the list, it’s not the only point of reference by which we’re measuring broadband plans for students. Reliability, responsiveness, flexibility, and data caps are all just as important. So we’re focusing on NBN and ADSL plans that offer at least 100GB of data. We’re avoiding 4G and wireless-only options, because they don’t mesh well with the other requirements. However, bundles are included because sometimes they offer value in other areas.