Updated on 2 Sept 2020
Broadband is an essential element of modern education. Everything happens online — from enrolment to assignment submissions. Even registration for graduation attendance happens via an online portal (not to mention sharing the grad pics). This means that students need reliable Internet connections, with reasonable download speeds, and a solid amount of data — and all for an affordable monthly rate. So what’s out there?
What are the best Broadband Plans for Students?
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 and each student will have different requirements. 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.
While it’s clear that each student will have different needs from a broadband deal, there are still some elements in common.
How to choose the best internet plan for Aussie Students?
Before deciding which plan is right for your use case, you need to figure out a few things first. How much will it cost, 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 best internet plan is for you as a student in Australia.
How fast does your connection need to be?
Speed determines a lot when it comes to internet usage. If your speeds are too slow, your user experience will decline drastically with every extra minute you have to wait for webpages to load, downloads and online streaming. Picking the best plan means picking one with suitable speeds. A speed to cost ratio is usually your best bet when it comes to choosing the best plan.
How much will it cost?
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.
Where are you located?
Location is paramount to both a reliable and speedy internet connection. 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. The least you can do is to find out how far you are located from your chosen provider’s exchange. 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 reliable is the 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 25/5 tier. Or at the very least, an ADSL2+ connection that’s close to an exchange.
Are there any data limits?
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.
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 family or landlords. So it pays to find a plan that’s flexible enough to let you pack up and relocate should you need to.
What are the 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. 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. From Telstra to SouthernPhone and MyRepublic as well, we list the top five broadband plans for students in Australia. Taking into account the reliability, responsiveness, flexibility and data caps to make our verdict.
Telstra Entertainment Bundle + Free BINGE & Foxtel Now
If you’re living in a share house, this is the deal for you. Offering unlimited data, a Telstra Smart Modem Gen 2, unlimited local, national, and mobile calls within Australia, waived $99 connection fee, and a Telstra TV, this really is the all-in-one solution that gives you everything you need for a good rate. All this for just $99/month. Split that between two people and that’s around $50/month for all the internet you’ll ever need – all on Telstra’s broadband network. To sweeten the deal even more, Telstra is offering one month of Foxtel Now and three months of BINGE — free across their broadband plans and bundles! For a night (or day) of entertainment, Telstra is even bound to give you a satisfying experience. They’re also Australia’s #1 NBN provider for streaming Netflix from Jan 2019 to Feb 2020.
Last audited 14 September 2020
Southern Phone Sky Muster Plus Small Plan
This plan is aimed squarely at students in remote locations where ADSL is a bit dodgy and NBN cables don’t yet reach. If this is you, then Southern Phone has some great Internet plans. They offer their “Sky Muster Plus” Satellite Plan. Our pick is the Small plan delivering burst speed of up to 25Mbps—– it gives you 100GB for just $70/month. You’ll need to supply your own WiFi modem (or buy one for a one-off $99 cost) but other than that, the satellite dish installation comes at no cost to you.
Last audited 09 September 2020
MyRepublic Essential Unlimited Plan
MyRepublic sells itself on speed and flexibility. And the telco’s range of NBN plans sure fits that bill. All plans include a landline connection, $0 upfront costs, and are categorised by their speed tiers and contract terms. Our pick is the Unlimited Essential plan, offering typical evening speed of 43Mbps at $69/month. You can opt to boost your speed to 83Mbps of typical evening speed with the 100/20Mbps plan for $89/month. MyRepublic also offers a good deal with its pre-configured WiFi modem available for only $1 when you lock it in for 12 months. Not a fan of lengthy contracts? No problem. Just bring your own modem or purchase one from MyRepublic and you’re all set.
Last audited 09 September 2020
activ8me Sky Muster Plans
If your studying lifestyle is one of constant change, then you need a broadband plan that’s flexible. activ8me offers a great deal of flexible and affordable plans that students can take advantage of. Our recommendation is the 250GB plan (90GB peak, 160GB off peak), which already gives you that amount of data on the NBN12 speed tier. For the faster Sky Muster Plus plans offering 25/5Mbps, students in regional and remote areas can get connected from $59.95/month for 25GB peak and 25GB off peak data.
Last audited 07 September 2020
iPrimus nbn50 Unlimited Plan
With a plethora of streaming services in Australia today, it’s a given how students don’t only use the internet for their studies. They heavily use it for streaming entertainment, too. This is where iPrimus’ nbn50 Unlimited Plan comes in, providing uncapped data at $75/month. The telco’s plan is what every student needs in their day to day — incredibly fast and affordable internet so it doesn’t compromise their budget for other essential student-related costs. You can even save on setup and modem fees if you lock it in for 12 months, plus a home phone connection with pay as you go calls. Looking for something to watch? Fetch TV can be bundled from only $10/month with one channel pack of your choosing included.
Last audited 15 September 2020
What is the Best Broadband Plan for Students?
If you’re relatively new to the world of student broadband plans, don’t be afraid to go for a plan with no contract. This lets you see what the service is like first-hand — and if you need to switch, you can do so with minimum fuss.