Note: This is an archival version of this guide: for the most up-to-date version, click here
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The idea of naked DSL is pretty simple: if the main reason because you have a phone line connected is to get broadband, then paying a monthly landline rental fee is a waste of money. A naked plan gets you out of that conundrum, offering a broadband connection (invariably ADSL2+) without any phone service at all. (Most providers also offer a VOIP service if you do want to make cheap landline calls, but we haven't included those below, presuming that you're just as likely to use your mobile in this instance.)
No matter who you choose for a naked service, one inevitable inconvenience is that you'll have a period of inactivity -- anywhere from five days to a month -- where there's no service at all while your old line is decommissioned and the new one set up. Yes, even though the same physical cables are involved, bureaucracy can take that long. Try scheduling a switch for when you're away from home, or consider prepaid broadband.
We've offered a detailed guide on issues you should consider if you want to get a naked DSL plan before. Presuming you're not planning on using the landline at all, your major consideration will be how much data the plan provides and when you can use it.
Many of the plans listed below divide downloads into peak and off-peak usage (the off-peak period varies, but typically runs through the hours when most Australians are asleep, a strategy designed to increase effective network usage. If your main use for downloads is to access torrents, then you can easily schedule downloads to only occur during those hours. Even if a plan says 'unlimited' for downloads, there'll be a fair use provision intended to stop truly excessive usage. A handful of plans count uploads as well as downloads when calculating your usage; we've noted this where relevant.
For each provider, we've listed how much their monthly plans cost, what peak and off-peak data is available, how much they charge for setup (which tends to vary according to contract length), and what they do once you've exceeded your quota. Most providers will 'shape' your connection, making it slower but leaving it running, but some immediately charge excess fees. Shaping definitely saves you money, but can be frustrating when your connection slows at the end of the month. (Some providers will let you purchase extra full-speed data blocks if this happens.)
In keeping with our focus on bargain-minded users, we haven't included prices for equipment; every provider will sell you a modem/router assuming you don't already have one. All services listed are ADSL2+. We've covered every provider we're aware of, but not all providers will service everywhere in Australia. As ever, we'd advise against actually choosing Dodo given its appalling reputation for customer service.
Click on the table graphic below for a full-sized version:
If you want to drill into the details of individual plans, check the links below:
- Always Online
Know of a naked DSL plan we've missed? Got your own trick for getting good naked DSL value? Tell us in the comments.
Lifehacker's weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.