The National Broadband Network (NBN) promises faster data speeds, but if you’ve been enjoying an “unlimited” plan on ADSL you haven’t been awash with options to match that on the NBN. AusBBS has introduced a range of unlimited NBN plans, which are the first we’ve seen in the local market, but you will pay extra for the privilege.
Infinity image from Shutterstock
As we noted in our NBN Planhacker roundup, unlimited hasn’t generally been an option for NBN consumer connections. TPG promised it would introduce one back in September last year, but that hasn’t happened yet. Given that providers still ultimately have to pay for bandwidth used, and that the NBN makes it easier to use much larger volumes, it’s not altogether surprising. Whatever the product, companies offering “unlimited” deals are essentially gambling that most customers won’t use anywhere near the maximum potential volume (and there’s invariably an “acceptable use” clause to cut out those who do).
AusBBS has already shown itself willing to experiment with pricing models, having introduced a pay-as-you-go approach. We didn’t think the original pricing there was particularly good value, and it has since been adjusted.
Unlimited represents a different kind of appeal to cost-conscious customers: rather than only paying for what you use, you pay one sum and use as much as you want. Note there’s an acceptable usage policy included, so if you go massively over average usage, you might find your deal canned — standard practice for “unlimited” deals.
The plans on offer cost $90 a month for a 25Mbps downloads/5Mbps upload connection, $100 a month for 50/20, or $110 for 100/40. (That looks like decoy pricing to us, since most people would be tempted to spend the extra $10 a month to double their speed.)
You don’t have to sign up to a 24-month contract, though doing so eliminates the setup fee ($55 for a 12-month contract or $99 for casual usage). We’d advise against a 24-month contract whenever possible.
While not experiencing bill shock is tempting, $90 a month is definitely at the pricey end of the market for a 25/5 connection. It’s much better value than some providers: Telstra, for instance, charges $80 a month for a measly 5GB download allowance, which makes AusBBS look good. On the other hand, Exetel charges $64.50 for 150GB of peak data and unlimited off peak — a cheaper deal, especially if you are scheduling downloads during off-peak times. As usual, our advice is to assess your own needs carefully: unlimited only makes sense if you use a lot of data.