AusBBS (Australian Broadband Services) has begun trials for a pay-as-you-go NBN offering. We like the idea of a flexible service, but the actual pricing leaves a little to be desired.
The big issue with AusBBS is that it isn't, strictly speaking, a true pay-as-you-go offering. You pay a minimum sum each month which determines your line speed and gets you 1GB of downloads and uploads, and then pay for the data you use above that figure. You pay $0.85 per gigabyte for the next 10GB, then $0.40 per gigabyte for everything after that. You can pay $39.95 a month for a 12/1 plan, $46.95 for a 25/5 connection or $59.95 for 100/40.
If the NBN hasn't rolled out where you are, you can sign up for an ADSL2+ plan and transition to the NBN when it hits your area. The signup cost is $165 for a no-contract deal, $66 for a 12-month contract or zero for a 24-month contract.
A quick check of our NBN Planhacker shows that there are in fact cheaper options out there. Exetel will sell you a 12/1 plan with 50GB of data for $35 a month, and will shape you when you exceed that limit. Unless you genuinely use a tiny amount of data most of the time but occasionally range much higher, this will almost certainly work out cheaper than paying the AusBBS figures for the equivalent plan.
Compared to plans which include peak and off-peak components, the AusBBS plans are relatively transparent, and it's good to see some variation in the pricing models. But it's hard to see this being a great buy for a lot of people. It's true that many people purchase cap plans and then rarely hit their caps, but I suspect a lot of Lifehacker readers don't fall into that category. What are your thoughts?