Ask LH: Can I Get A Faster ISP For Uploading Files?

Dear Lifehacker, I just paid for a Megaupload premium account and I will be uploading a lot of files to it. Right now, I am on TPG’s Unlimited plan which has an upload speed of 1Mbps. Does anyone else in Australia offer a faster upload speed than this? I am willing to go for a new connection alongside TPG if needed. Cheers, Big Uploader

Picture by RMP87

Dear Big Uploader,

Megaupload was one of the options we identified when a reader asked us last week about options for storing huge files online, but in that discussion we didn’t look at ISP performance particularly. The short answer to your question is “there might be a handful of faster options, but they’re pretty rare and they don’t necessarily make sense”.

The longer version of that answer: for home connections (as distinct from business accounts), the fastest practical option you’ll get under most circumstances will be either an ADSL2+ or cable connection. If you’re on a TPG unlimited plan, you’re already on an ADSL2+ connection, so the odds of your getting a faster connection are slight right now, unless you happen to live in one of the areas where the NBN rollout has happened (and even then, you’d have to wait a couple of months at least).

There are faster speeds available on business plans, but those fall outside Lifehacker’s usual scope when it comes to ISP issues. Cable shows a more apparent variation in performance depending on how many people in your area use it and it’s also very unpredictable for uploads, so jumping to that also doesn’t offer any guarantees.

You’ve generally only got one set of copper wires coming into your premises, so getting a second provider account won’t actually help with performance at all. Using a different provider would also make it likely you’d get slugged with upload fees; TPG is unusual in not counting uploads on any of its plans (which isn’t an issue on “unlimited” plans, but would be on most others).

The final issue to remember is that upload speeds (like download speeds) only ever represent a maximum performance option — if the place you’re sending the files to can’t handle those speeds, the maximum is essentially meaningless. You won’t know how well Megaupload performs on your connection until you’ve run it for a quite a while (covering a variety of file sizes and times of day).

So for now, our advice is stick with the TPG option you’ve got unless it becomes unbearable and you have to hunt down a business-grade option or wait for a broader NBN rollout. But as always, we welcome alternative experiences in the comments.


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