Planhacker: Unlimited Broadband Deals April 2011

“Unlimited” broadband deals are becoming rarer and rarer in Australia, but a number of providers continue to offer no-limits, no-shaping services. Here’s your comprehensive guide to what’s on offer in unlimited broadband deals right now — and which services you should avoid.

Since we last looked at unlimited broadband back in January, what was already a fairly limited field has shrunk in some respects. Comcen has dropped its “unlimited” plans altogether; given that their maximum speed was lower than what some providers offer as a shaping speed, they’re not likely to be much missed. In other changes, Netbay has reduced the number of plans it offers, Supernerd is enforcing a minimum 8-month contract on its plans, and TPG has reduced its setup fees.

Conversely, readers have alerted us to a bunch of other providers offering unlimited plans we hadn’t encountered before. Very few seem particularly appealing or good value (many only offer slower ADSL1 speeds and have ludicrous restrictions), but we’ve added them in for completeness.

The restricted range of plans on offer with reasonable speeds and conditions supports our long-standing contention that most providers have no interest in offering unlimited plans. While the plans we’ve listed here do meet the basic definition of an unlimited service — no download limits and no shaping — nearly all of them have some kind of restrictions attached.

As well as invariably having an acceptable usage policy to allow blocking ridiculously excessive usage, most providers also have other catches, which we discuss below. The most prominent is that many of the ADSL1 providers actually block torrent traffic (and I can’t imagine anyone who wants an unlimited plan is not a heavy torrent/P2P user). Remember also that unlimited services won’t necessarily be available in your area.

In the table below, we’ve listed all the unlimited plans for home users we’re aware of, including their monthly cost, the standard setup fee (which could be lower if you are moving from an ISP that supports rapid transfer) and the total minimum cost over the lifetime of a contract. (For a 0-month contract, this equates to the setup fee plus one month’s access, though many providers charge an additional fee if you quit before 6 or 12 months.) We haven’t included equipment charges.

Where plans require you to sign up for a home phone line from the same provider, we’ve included that cost in the minimum monthly cost; we haven’t included discounts offered if you bundle with other services. (Other than iPrimus and TPG, unlimited plans haven’t widely appeared as a naked DSL option, so you will likely end up paying for a land line in some form.)

We’ve indicated the maximum speed for each plan on the table; in practice, your actual speed will be lower than the claimed maximum. Note that the slower ADSL1 unlimited plans can actually be slower than the shaping speed offered on plans which do have a download limit, so they rarely represent a good choice.

Here’s the full table; you can click on the column headers to filter down results to specific prices, providers, speeds or other features. You can also access this as a PDF.

Here’s our quick summary of each provider:

AUNIX, ISAGE, ITG, LOCALL: The big limitation with these providers is that they bar torrent traffic altogether. Combined with ADSL1 speeds on the cheaper plans, that makes for an unappealing deal.

AANET, BULLET, EFTEL, ISP, NETBAY, ONESENIORS, SUPERNERD, VOIPEX: Only offer ADSL1 speeds, which makes them unappealing. In practice, a terabyte plan with a decent shaping speed will give you better performance most of the month. Bullet and OneSeniors are particularly expensive.

DODO: You have to sign up for home phone service from Dodo, which won’t necessarily save you money depending on your call habits. Dodo also has a variable reputation for customer service. Most tellingly, BitTorrent connections on this plan are shaped, which means it won’t be much use to most people who want an unlimited plan.

IPRIMUS, CLUBTELCO: If ADSL2 speeds are available at your location, these are the best-looking no-contract options. The iPrimus offering is one of only two naked DSL plans on offer.

TPG: TPG has a broad but slightly weird range of options: you can pay $59.99 for an unlimited plan that includes line rental, $59.99 for an unlimited plan which doesn’t include line rental, or $69.99 for a naked unlimited plan. Choosing anything other than the first option doesn’t seem like a particularly sensible way to spend your money — why pay the same amount to get less features? Nonetheless, this is the best of the bunch in overall value terms, and certainly the most popular amongst Lifehacker commenters. The biggest issue is whether you’ll be able to access it; TPG only offers it in selected exchanges.

For details of the individual plans, hit the provider web sites:

Know of an unlimited plan we’ve missed? Happy with a 1TB+ plan and a little shaping? Tell us in the comments.

Lifehacker’s weekly Planhacker column rounds up the best communication deals.


  • Not sure if this is right but I just unticked the phone box and there’s still an option to get TPG’s unlimited deal. Can’t check if the price changed though, as the site won’t load for me now ^.-

      • As far as I know they only offer the phone deals to new customers. I changed to the unlimited a while back from the $49 plan but I am still stuck with also paying telstra $20/month for a phoneline. It’s pretty damn annoying, have missed out on plenty of good deals as an existing customer.

  • The downside of the TPG plan is that it takes a quoted 10 to 20 days for the installation to be completed.
    I’m on the TPG unlimited plan, and i’m just RELOCATING, yet my I will be on my (checks) 21st day of no internet once my installation is finally complete next tuesday…

    A month without my internet access at home.. just to relocate my contract?… its killing me… not to mention the minimum $80 relocation charge…

    Chances are I won’t be re-signing with TPG once my contract is up

  • You Don’t need the Phone for TPG’s unlimited Plan, I swapped from the 200GB plan to Unlimited once it was released.

    TPG Also offer the option of $29.99 Unlimited, as long as you pay the $30 Line rental fee. ($59.99)


    • I can’t see the point of paying line rental fees to two companies. (Not saying TPG won’t happily take your money, but it seems needlessly wasteful.)

      • Wouldn’t it be better to mention the two different plans, instead of falsely claiming that you are required to sign up to TPG homeline to receive an unlimited service?

        • No – that would be inaccurate. You can’t buy “unlimited” from TPG as a standalone service. The total minimum cost includes landline/phone service, because you HAVE to pay for that to get unlimited.

          • Nope.

            TPG offers two unlimited deals.

            Their first, which is the one list here, is a $29.99 unlimited ADSL service, with a required $30 line rental bundling.

            Their other offering is a $59.99 unlimited ADSL service that doesn’t require you to bundle with a phone product.

            Yes, it’s not as good of a deal, but your claim that a TPG phone service is a requirement of TPG unlimited is inaccurate.

          • In basic cost terms that would amount to the same thing (albeit worse value). But point taken, I’ll amend the listing tomorrow.

          • Please do some research, the 4th item on this plan list is an unlimited plan that DOES NOT require phone bundling and costs $59.99, I am on this plan. Yes you need to have a phone line with Telstra to get this (which probably costs an additional $30) but they also offer an unlimited naked DSL plan for $69.99 which requires no additional payment to anyone and doesn’t require phone bundling (it’s a naked DSL service).


          • The plan I linked to does require bundling. As I’ve mentioned, I’ll update to include the less-valuable ADSL-only plan and the naked plan.

  • I’m glad my ISP (Internode) doesn’t offer unlimited plans. Unlimited plans lead to around the clock downloading by hordes of leechers, which degrades network performance for everybody else. After a quick look at the TPG forum on Whirlpool it’s plain to see that TPG leechers on unlimited plans bring the network to its knees. TPG were even forced to remove their unlimited ‘Off-Net’ plan from sale due to the massive impact it had.

    • A small portion of TPG users reporting issues in specific exchanges does not equate to its entire network being brought to it’s knees. I’ve been on TPG’s unlimited naked plan since it was released (re-released?) just over a year ago. Since then i’ve seen no degradation in service quality or significant speed slow downs, even during peak times. So now that someone has spoken suggesting otherwise to your theory will you rescind and say TPG unlimited plans don’t complete f*** their network? Seems like you were more interested in bigging yourself up for choosing internode then providing insight into an ISP offering unlimited plans…

  • Just signed up with $59 TPG home phone/unlimited plan.

    While they stated 10/20 days to set up, they sent a guy out in 4.

    Since then, it’s been awesome. It’s an amazing feeling not having to worry about download quotas anymore. I love looking at a potential 20G download and thinking YOU AINT SHIT.

  • Funny you say that JonBOY26, Internode did provide flatrate back in 2004 – Where do you think they got their main user base? How do you think they got their name?

    If not for the flatrate plans they provided, Internode would never have taken off.

    • Thanks Dominic — but as a rule, Planhacker doesn’t cover services with very limited availability. TransACT very much falls into that category.

  • Thats a cute little list you have but I think Voipex, I.S.P, Locall, EFtel, AuNix, aaNet, iSage, ClubTelco, Tradeweb, One, Interwerx, ITG, Bullet, iPrimus, Vintek, DSM, Tradeweb and Highway 1 would probably be a little annoyed at it

  • Is it just me, or is the TMC column a bit misleading?

    Here’s the cost over 12 months (Including setup) for the list – same order as the PDF:

    Dodo $942.60
    Dodo $837.60
    Netbay $868.80
    Netbay $817.80
    Supernerd $637.80
    Supernerd $817.80
    TPG $848.75
    TPG $798.75

    • The minimum cost relates to the contract length — while it’s interesting to see what they cost over the same period, the TMC is indeed the minimum you’ll have to pay if you pick a particular plan.

  • TPG also has the “defacto” unlimited plan for those who can’t get the real “unlimited” plan.

    It’s the “ADSL2+ Premium 250GB” plan for $69.99. The first 250GB is at your full line speed, then you have as much as you want at 4Mb/s “shaped” speed.

    4Mb/s shaping is very usable, even for a couple of users watching streaming video at once.

    I only get 4.5Mb/s unshaped, so the drop to 4Mb isn’t that noticeable for me.

  • For those of you going for TPG be warned that you may have to wait up to a month to get a connection if you don’t already have one (i.e moved house) and you will be given run around if a tech doesn’t show. In the end I waited a month for my connection and I’m in an inner Melbourne suburb.

    I was on Internode originally, moved interstate and got TPG unlimited with phone. They booked a Telstra tech for 2 weeks later. I called TPG a few days before the appointment to confirm, and they even did the same back to me. On the day of the tech I was home all day, but nobody showed up. I called TPG twice during the day asking where the Telstra tech was and was always told to wait he’s coming. Nobody came, the next day I called TPG again to complain who then told me the tech had come but I wasn’t home and the tech tried calling me twice, which was an utter lie from TPG or the Telstra tech. TPG then organised for ANOTHER telstra tech for ANOTHER 2 weeks later and when I said I wanted everything cancelled they threatened to charge me the $110 Telstra tech call out fee, after I had already paid their $100 something setup fee and $60 for the month in advance.

    A few days before 2nd tech was to come I confirmed everything again and so did TPG with me. On the day of the 2nd appointment (1 month after the start of everything) I again phoned up asking where the tech was because most of the day had gone and was again told he’s coming. In the end the tech did turn up and knew exactly where I was and what he was looking for (so wtf happened with the 1st tech I don’t know?). 5 min later the tech was finished and left.

    I looked up online and this whole thing of techs not showing up and having appointments 2 weeks later and not getting anything for 1 month seemed to be a very common occurrence with TPG. This was all from early feb to early march 2011.

    I’m literally 50m away from my exchange and when I first tested my speed when it was connected I got 16mbps. Ever since that 1st day I’ve not seen anything more than 11mbps. Also about once a week/2weeks my adsl connection drops out randomly and cannot reconnect for about 5 mins.

    I’ve had more problems in the 2 months with TPG than I have ever had with 4-5 years with Internode.

  • Sucks that there are no 8mbit plans for people who can’t get ADSL2 but can’t bear using a 1.5mbit connection.

    I scored an unlimited 8mbit plan with Exetel which has since disappeared and am paying $78/month now.

  • ClubTelco have just killed their 50gb ADSL1 MAX/ADSL2 $50 plan and made their unlimited one $50, which is by far the best deal I’ve seen even with the $50 yearly membership. So unlimited 8 megabit for $50 if you can’t get ADSL2 (which includes me, there aren’t any more ports available,) or ADSL2 if you can get it.

    I accidentally lost 300gb worth of Steam games the other month, can’t wait to get them all back now!

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