In recent weeks, a number of providers have rolled out plans with massive monthly data allowances of one terabyte (yes, that's 1000GB) or more. That sounds tempting, but there are plenty of catches. Planhacker rounds up the contenders to see how they measure up.
Picture by kwl
Since those plans have appeared, there's been a certain amount of scepticism about their usefulness, given the variations in speed most users experience and the massive amount of drive space you'd need if you were storing all that data permanently. Nonetheless, a plan with a high limit might make more sense than some of the unlimited plans that have also recently appeared, given that many of those suffer from speed restrictions or force you to bundle other options. (See our recent Planhacker guide to unlimited broadband for more information on those plans.)
Firstly, note that these 1TB+ plans invariably count both downloads and uploads. That's increasingly common even with lower-capacity plans, but you can still find download-only plans without too much trouble if you look around, which isn't the case here. Given that ADSL2+ offers higher download speeds, you're likely to consume most of your allowance with downloads. However, if you're a heavy BitTorrent user (and I'd be surprised if anyone needing 1TB a month wasn't), you might be surprised how high your upload total is.
These plans often distinguish between peak and off-peak usage in calculating your allowance (Internode and Dodo being the exceptions). If you're a heavy torrent user, setting up schedules to download during peak periods makes sense to take advantage of this distinction. If you exceed 1TB, most providers will shape your connection to a lower speed. With Dodo, you'll have to purchase extra data blocks (which will be ridiculously expensive on a per-MB basis compared to your main plan).
In some cases (Dodo, iiNet, Netspace, Spin), you can only access these plans by also signing up for a phone service as well. We've included that charge when calculating the monthly and total figures, using the cheapest available phone option from that provider. None of these 1TB or more plans is particularly cheap, so signing up only makes sense if you're already regularly maxing out your data usage.
Oddly, the Dodo plan is only 5 cents cheaper than its "unlimited" plan, though as ever we'd advise readers to stay away from Dodo anyway. While some prices are clearly more appealing than others, availability may be a factor with some ISPs, as these plans often aren't offered via all exchanges Australia-wide.
In the table below, we've listed all the broadband plans for home users offering 1TB or more we're aware of (now including several helpfully suggested by readers), listing their monthly cost and the total minimum cost over the lifetime of a contract. We've indicated the peak and off-peak download limits, when the off-peak period is, and how many hours a day are off-peak, as well as any other quirks.
All plans are ADSL2+ (which gives a theoretical maximum download speed of 20Mbps, though how this translates into speeds for individuals varies widely because of exchange distance and other factors). Most require either a 12 or 24-month signup (Internode, MyNetFone and Netspace offer the option of disconnection at any time). We've included the basic setup cost, but not charges for the modem itself (as most providers offer a range of models and you might bring your own anyway).
Here's the table (click on the image for a larger version).
For details of the individual plans, hit the provider web sites:
Know of a 1TB+ plan we've missed? Tell us in the comments. (But before anyone mentions TPG, the company has backed away from earlier plans to launch a 1TB deal.)
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