How to choose a broadband internet plan

October 14th, 2021
How to choose the best NBN broadband plan

When choosing a broadband plan there are multiple factors to consider. We have listed some of the more important ones below:

Type of broadband

NBN is usually the default internet connection for most people but in certain circumstances it may be worthwhile considering other connection types.

If you are renting or considering moving in the next six to  twelve months then it may be worthwhile considering a wireless 4G or 5G internet connection. Wireless internet connections have improved significantly over the last few years and in some areas they can match or exceed NBN speeds.

Certain suburbs also have access to other non-NBN fibre optic networks which you may be able to connect to.

In any case, it’s always worth asking your neighbours what sort of internet connection they have. They may be able to offer some advice that can save you time and money.

Price

Price of your internet plan is another important factor. Work out a rough budget of how much you can afford to spend on broadband each month and then make a list of the internet plans from your favourite 3 broadband companies that fall within this price range. The plan that has the best speed and data allowance will be the best value for money in your price range.

Our internet plan finder can help you find a plan within your budget.

Speed

The speed of your internet plan determines how fast data can stream from the internet into your house. It is easy to get caught up thinking that you need the fastest speed available but in reality, you only really need the speed that accommodates what you will be using your internet connection for.

Below is a guide of the download speeds required for different activities:

Download Speed (Mbps) Suitable for
12Low use, single person households, web browsing, email and light video steaming for a single device
25Fine for singles or couples, HD video streaming and video conferencing, 4K video streaming may buffer
50Good for families and working from home, allow multiple video streams and video conferencing
100Great for large families or sharehouses, allows multiple simultaneous 4K video streaming, great for gamers
250Super fast speeds for heavy internet users. Great for live streaming and gaming.
1000The faster speed tier, faster than most people would use, only available for FTTP and HFC connections

Quota

Internet data quota is the volume of data (usually in gigabytes) that can be downloaded over a monthly period. Quota isn’t as much of a decision point these days as most plans come with very generous or unlimited bandwidth allowances. Again, if you choose a plan with a quota that isn’t suitable for your needs you can always upgrade or downgrade your account at a later date.

Below is a guide of how much data different internet based activities use:

Activity Data Usage
Streaming a HD Movie (Netflix, Youtube)3GB per hour
Streaming a 4K Movie (Netflix, Youtube)7GB per hour
Internet browsing (surfing the web)150MB per hour (0.15GB)
Video conferencing (Zoom, Teams etc)0.5 to 1.5GB per hour
Streaming Music (Spotify)50MB to 150MB per hour
Social Media (Facbook, Instagram, Twitter)100MB to 300MB per hour

From the above table you can see that with multiple people in the house, your data usage can add up pretty quickly. But don’t stress, you can always upgrade or downgrade your data quota at a later date, so start small and upgrade if you are consistently exceeding your data quota.

Our broadband plan finder can estimate your data usage and help find the perfect internet plan to suit your needs. Check it out here.

Technical support

Good technical support is very important when choosing an internet company. If your connection goes down or your experience problems  easy access to  a friendly technical support team is essential in getting your connection working again as quickly as possible.

A lot of internet providers outsource their technical support overseas where labour is cheaper but there are still a few companies that have 100% Australian technical support. There is absolutely nothing wrong with overseas call centres but some reviews have indicated that some overseas call agents have been difficult to understand and have been lacking in technical English skills. Read more in our blog post – Which internet companies have Australian based technical support? [add link]

Some of the budget broadband providers don’t list a support phone number on their website anymore and require you to log a job via an online form.

In general, we would recommend choosing a broadband provider with a good track record of technical support but if you work with computers or have a high level of technical skills then you may feel comfortable saving a bit of money by choosing a more no frills company.

Ease of Setup

The ease of setting up your new internet connection is also very important when choosing a broadband provider. The NBN is relatively easy to setup these days especially if you purchase a pre-configured NBN modem from your provider. These modems have already been setup and you will just have to plug it in and it will usually start working once your NBN connection is active.

Re-using an existing modem means that you will have to enter your NBN provider’s settings into the configuration screen of your modem. This process is usually not that complicated but requires moderate to high level of computer and IT skills. Some internet providers may not be as helpful if you bring your own modem as they will usually only be able to provide support for the brands they sell.

Wireless 4G and 5G internet is perhaps the easiest to setup. The wireless modem will arrive preconfigured so all you will need to do is plug it in and read the instructions and your internet connection will be live.

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