Planhacker: 1TB+ Broadband Deals

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.)

Lifehacker's weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals. au, planhacker, adsl, adsl2+, broadband

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Comments

    shouldn't a Tera Byte be 1024 Giga Bytes, which in turn is 1024 Mega Bytes, which in turn is 1024 Kilo Bytes, which in turn is 1024 Bytes, which in turn is 8 bits?

      Unfortunately not.

      1024 was used instead of 1000 for 1k in the early days because 1024 was an easier number for the computer to calculate with 1024 being equal to 2 to the power of 10. Since computers native calculations are in base 2, the early computers were able to calculate things in groups of 1024 easier than in groups of 1000, and with how weak they were back then it made a significant difference.

      However, international standards defines 1 kilo as 1,000, 1 mega as 1,000,000, 1 giga as 1,000,000,000, and so on.

      Much as we old computer people like to complain about the 1024 v 1000 argument, base 1000 is actually correct.

        I understand that it is a correct measurement prefix for other items, but as far as it is a computer specific term, 1024 should be the standard.. otherwise is is just 1,000,000,000,000 bytes...

          It's become standard practice with ISP stuff to use the strict power of 10 versions -- it's the basis these plans are calculated on, so that's what's we'll be sticking to using.

        Angus - Just because they claim it to be something, doesnt mean it is.. maybe i'll start calling it a gigabyte when it is really some other random number in a different base..

        the point is, it just doesn't work that way and you should be calling it out - especially given how anal you are about language..

          Adam: I'm fussy about language, but I also recognise that language usage changes over time. There's definitely a shift going on with the definition of a gigabyte/megabyte/etc. in computing, and as far as broadband plans go, the shift has happened: 1MB = 1000KB and so on. That's what the suppliers mean, and that's how the charges are calculated, so using the binary-based version would be confusing and unhelpful in this context.

        Angus - I'm not sugegsting that you convert them all, but maybe mention that it isn't a true terabyte, or the difference between storage and download measurements.. as i'm pretty sure that all OS's measure in base 2, not base 10..

          Actually, Mac OS X switched somewhat controversially to base 10 with Snow Leopard.

        According to the IEEE 1541-2002 standard, kilo-, mega-, giga-, and tera- are prefixes denoting 10^3, 10^6, 10^9, and 10^12 respectively; whereas the binary (or base-2) equivalents are kibi-, mebi-, gibi-, and tebi-, meaning 2^10, 2^20, 2^30, and 2^40 respectively. So 1 terabyte (TB) is equal to 1000 gigabytes (GB), whereas 1 tebibyte (TiB) is equal to 1000 gibibytes (GiB).

        Just because a large number of people use the incorrect units, it doesn't make the incorrect usage correct.

          True - but usage trumps standards when your aim is general (not scientific) communication. Pre-2006 or so, I'd have ferociously argued that those prefixes meant the binary versions in tech, because no-one ever used the alternatives. Right now we have a mix of both usages, which is often confusing. Eventually, I suspect we'll settle on the same definitions the IEEE uses in general usage, but we're not there yet. (All of which is another way of saying that the fact a tomato is "scientifically" a fruit never stopped it being a vegetable.)

        mbryant, you were so close to being correct it actually hurts me.

        What te ISP are doing is both ethically and technically correct. They clearly denote their plans in base 10. That is what people assume when discussing data and so that is what they use.

        By SI convention, kB, MB, GB and TB are all in powers of 10 and are expanded as kilo, mega, giga and tera respectively. Thus, 1MB = 1000kB.

        Now, the IEC binary prefixes are in powers of 2 and so are denoted as KiB, MiB, GiB and TiB and are expanded as kibi, mebi, gibi and tebi respectively. This is the critical difference is that 1MiB =1024KiB. This is because the prefix is not in base 2.

        Yeah, we got into an argument about this at Uni since we needed to map memory and the lecture forgot that the memory map is in base 2: the answers were wrong and we were right.
        What we learned was that you cannot apply base 10 prefixes to numbers that are not in base 10.

    A few hard drive manufacturers have been caught out using the so called decimal measurements for the sizes of drives.

    We can waffle on forever about old and new but the fact of the matter is computers use base 2

    Please show some respect of people with knowledge and stay with base 2.

    PS. The only reason they use the decimal measurements is so they can say "buy this 1TB drive" instead of the more accurate "buy this 931GB drive".

    My Random said "...the early computers were able to calculate things in groups of 1024 easier than in groups of 1000, and with how weak they were back then it made a significant difference."

    Unfortunately, todays computers use exactly the same method...zeroes and ones. That is the reason you need to let us "old folk" who know shitloads about computers keep up the fight to inform idiots who don't that base 2 will never equal base 10

    Cheers
    Paul

      Paul,

      While I'm sure that marketing sections of companies would prefer to say 1TB HD instead of either 931GB or 1000GiB, customer confusion is probably a large factor too. Not so much because they don't want to confuse the customer, but because their competitors who continue to say 1000TB are going to get more sales from unwitting consumers who think they're getting more bang for their buck.

      Incidentally Angus, I wouldn't hold out much hope for people to learn the difference and start using it. People (in Australia at least) use and will continue to use tonne and ton interchangeably as though they are just different spellings, not realising that they are different units.

      1 (short) ton = 907 kg (should be short ton which would make it clearer, but often shortened to ton. Unit used in US and Canada)
      1 (long) ton = 1016 kg (Used in the UK, though illegal for trading purposes)
      1 metric tonne = 1000 kg

      Given that many people still aren't aware of these differences (at least in Australia), I hold little hope for them understanding the difference between TB and TiB (2 to the power of what? You said there'd be no math!)

    You missed Spin INternet with 2Tb plan, Netspace (same plans as iinet) and MyNetFone who are probably cheapest 1TB Naked Plan

      Thanks for the info David -- will add (though I'm two minds about Spin given you can't order it online).

    I'm with Dodo and their broadband unlimited plan. Just got hooked up this month seeing how it goes.

    Internode don't offer a 12 month contract, and it's $79 for the 24 month one, or $129 on a month-to month deal. And the naked one is shaped. Was this adequately researched?

      The 12-month one was based on the month-by-month deal. Will check the other details when I add the extra ISPs.

    1TB does not equal 1000GB. It's newspeak and defending it as part of the evolution of language is ++meek.

    Max download speed of ADSL2+ is 24 mbps, not 20.

    I too was raised with disk and memory capacity measured in base 2. This has definately been a marketing point pressed home more and more by companies - no doubt about it! You can't just arbitrarily change how something is measured with out changing the unit of measurement. It drives me wild when I see windows report the true capacity of my disks - bit off topic I know - but just had to throw my 2c in with the thread.

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