If you're a heavy internet user, getting shaped at the end of the month can be a major nuisance, and no-one wants to pay a fortune for excess data. The solution is an unlimited broadband plan, but what choices do you have? Planhacker rounds up all the unlimited ADSL2+ deals.
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We've made the point before that unlimited download plans are relatively rare in the Australian market, and that seems unlikely to change in the future. So far, we haven't seen a single consumer NBN provider offer an unlimited download deal. Our Planhacker NBN listing shows that the highest total on offer is 1000GB. That gives you more than 30GB a day, which would satisfy a lot of people. That said, if you want unlimited, ADSL2+ is the only game in town right now.
In previous Planhacker roundups where we have looked at unlimited broadband, we have included slower ADSL1 plans as well. However, the consensus opinion of most readers is that these are pointless: the speeds are too slow to be useful, and often no faster than the shaping options available on ADSL2+ plans with a download limit. So for this listing, only ADSL2+ services have been included. (These often cost more in regional areas.)
Unlimited services invariably have an 'acceptable usage policy' designed to ensure people don't go utterly crazy with their connection. Some also have more specific restrictions, such as blocking torrent traffic (which will be what many people want the plans for). We've noted specific details for each provider under the table.
In the table below, we've listed all the ADSL2+ unlimited plans for home users we could find. For each, we've included 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 generally 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, since many people will source their own routers. 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, and we've detailed naked plans where available, but we haven't included discounts offered if you bundle with other services.
You can sort and filter data in the table below by clicking on the column headers (so you can only look at short-contract plans or sort in order of total price, for instance).
Here are the specific details and quirks for each provider.
The big disadvantage of the AuNix offer is that the unlimited access is "web only" -- a sneaky way of saying P2P/torrent services aren't supported. While there's no contract, you'll pay an additional $99 if you cancel in the first six months.
Australis (formerly Locall) blocks torrent traffic, which will put it out of contention for many people.
ClubTelco pricing varies depending on whether you have access to its own exchange equipment (Local), are on a wholesale Telstra line in a city (Metro) or a wholesale Telstra line in country areas (Regional). There's no contract and no block on torrents. The site boasts "no setup fee", but there's a $50 annual membership fee which effectively serves the same role.
Dodo's plan is extremely cheap, you can choose a no-contract option, and it offers one of the few naked DSL options (where you don't pay line rental). Some cautions are advised: torrent connections are shaped (though not blocked), and Dodo's service reputation remains variable. Regional customers pay substantially more and can't get naked services.
iPrimus non-naked option is $30 more than its naked option; given that, it's hard to imagine paying for the regular service. Its setup fees are also some of the highest listed here. On the upside, there's no blocking of P2P.
An identical product to AuNix, so see the comments for that provider above.
TPG's standalone unlimited option is $59.99; for an additional $10, you can get the naked DSL or phone line included option. Given that line rental will almost always cost you more than $10, the $59.99 plan doesn't make much sense. You can only access the service if TPG has equipment in your local exchange.
Realistically, it's a choice between Dodo, TPG and iPrimus, and comments suggest TPG is the most popular option amongst our readers.
Know of any other plans we've missed? Is an unlimited plan the only way for you to go? Tell us in the comments.
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