Broadband is an essential element for modern education. Everything happens online — from enrolment through to assignment submissions. Even registration for graduation attendance happens via an online portal. 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?
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.
Telstra Entertainment Bundle
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, a Telstra TV, and a $125 Telstra TV Box Office credit, 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 $50/month for all the internet you’ll ever need. And all of it backed by Telstra’s broadband network.
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!
Southern Phone Sky Muster Standard X-Large Plan
This plan is aimed squarely at students in remote locations where ADSL is buggy and NBN cables won’t quite reach. If this is you, then Southern Phone has some great Internet plans. They offer their “Sky Muster” Satellite Plan. Our pick is the X-Large plan on the basic speed tier—– it gives you 240GB 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 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.
Belong Standard Plus Plan
If we’re being honest, students don’t just use the internet for working on their assignments and doing research. They also use it for streaming and gaming, which would require them to have unlimited data. Belong’s one to deliver with their Standard Plus plan that gives unlimited data with a download speed of up to 40Mbps. It definitely helps that Belong is part of the Telstra network, making sure that studious students wouldn’t experience any delays with their research work — or their binging on their free days, and for only $65/month on a 12-month contract. Prefer month to month? Just add $5 per month to turn your plan into a flexible one.
Unlimited Data with Belong
Get unlimited NBN data + a free WiFi modem for just $55/month. Zero standard activation fees!
Tangerine Basic Speed Plan
If your studying lifestyle is one of constant change, then you need a broadband plan that’s flexible. Tangerine offers a great deal of flexible and affordable plans that students can take advantage of. Our recommended plan is the entry plan, Basic Speed, which already gives you unlimited data on the NBN12 speed tier. What’s great about this is you can first test it with their free 14-day free trial. If you’re not happy, then feel free to cancel, but if you’re satisfied, then you can sign up to also enjoy $10 off for the first 6 months with no lock-in contracts whatsoever as well.
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 $49.90/mth.
Mate “Best Mates” NBN 50 Plan
New telco Mate Communicate sells itself on simplicity. And Mate’s range of broadband plans sure fit that bill. All plans are month-to-month, with no plan-change fees, and they all offer unlimited data for life. Our pick is the Best Mates NBN 50 plan, offering a standard evening speed between 30 and 50Mbps for just for $75/month. Nice!
Don’t Forget to Compare for the Best Deals!
While ADSL is still a valid option, the NBN is where a student’s focus should be. The key to making smart student broadband decisions is to look around.
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.