Planhacker: Australian Unlimited ADSL2+/NBN Broadband (July 2014)

If you're a video addict, then "unlimited" broadband plans can be appealing -- but who offers them and who has the best deal? This Planhacker guide rounds up all the "unlimited" ADSL2 and NBN plans we could find so you can choose the right one for you.

Computer picture from Shutterstock

We reported earlier this week that iiNet (which doesn't offer unlimited plans) says that only 5 per cent of its customers want its largest 1TB plan. Broadband allocations on the whole are much higher than they were five years ago, and many people who dreamed of unlimited plans when 20GB per month allowances were the norm find that a 200GB monthly allowance is more than enough most of the time. But if you do want an unlimited plan, what are your options? We've rounded up all the deals we could find.

Note that we're only including ADSL2 and NBN plans here. There are still some providers who offer "unlimited" ADSL1 plans, but those don't make sense for anyone with an unlimited connection: if you're on an ADSL2+ plan which shapes you after you exceed your limit, you'll still have a better connection speed than if you signed up to a solely ADSL1 service. ADSL2 availability will vary heavily depending on your location, so once you've picked a provider, you'll need to check if it's actually on offer where you live. NBN is only an option if you're in an area where the NBN has been activated (lucky you)

Below, we've listed all the ADSL2+ and NBN unlimited plans for home users currently available. For each, we've included their monthly cost, how many months the contract runs, 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 usually 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. We've generally included the price for broadband on its own (unbundled), without considering line rental: many providers will also offer discounts if you sign up for a phone plan. Some also offer "naked" variants where you don't need a phone line at all. Once you've narrowed your range of providers, you'll need to factor these details in.

We've detailed each company individually, noting any quirks and difficulties, and then put them all in an interactive spreadsheet so you can filter and choose for the options that suit you. Remember, pricing and features are only one part of the equation: customer service also matters. Check sites such as Whirlpool and the annual reports from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman to get a sense of what an unfamiliar provider might be like.

Remember also: even if a plan is advertised as "unlimited", if you use massively more than every other customer on your plan, your provider may decide to invoke an acceptable usage policy. (Agreeing to this policy will be part of the process of signing up, so your ability to complain on this point will be limited.) Some also have more specific restrictions, such as blocking torrent traffic or charging more in regional areas.

Here are the specific details and quirks for each provider.

AusBBS

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
AusBBS 12/1 $59.85 0 $99.00 $158.85
AusBBS 12/1 $59.85 12 $49.00 $767.20
AusBBS 12/1 $59.85 24 $0.00 $1,436.40
AusBBS 25/5 $69.85 0 $99.00 $168.85
AusBBS 25/5 $69.85 12 $49.00 $887.20
AusBBS 25/5 $69.85 24 $0.00 $1,676.40
AusBBS 50/20 $100.00 0 $99.00 $199.00
AusBBS 50/20 $100.00 12 $49.00 $1,249.00
AusBBS 50/20 $100.00 24 $0.00 $2,400.00
AusBBS 100/40 $150.00 0 $99.00 $249.00
AusBBS 100/40 $150.00 12 $49.00 $1,849.00
AusBBS 100/40 $150.00 24 $0.00 $3,600.00

AusBBS is NBN-only. It offers casual, 12 and 24 month contracts. The numbers in the plan names indicate download and upload speeds (e.g. AusBBS 25/5 has 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload maximum speed).

AuNix

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
AuNix $69.95 0 $94.95 $263.90

The major 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 (we've factored that into our calculation of the minimum fee). There's a $10/month surcharge for Tasmanian customers.

Australis

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
Australis $70.95 12 $75.00 $926.40
Australis $70.95 24 $125.00 $1,827.80

Like Aunix, Australis blocks torrent traffic, which will make it a less appealing option for some customers. There's a $10/month surcharge for Tasmanian customers.

ClubTelco

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
ClubTelco (metro) $40.00 0 $50.00 $90.00
ClubTelco (regional) $60.00 0 $50.00 $110.00

ClubTelco pricing varies depending on whether you 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

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
Dodo $59.80 24 $0.00 $1,435.20
Dodo 12/1 $59.90 24 $0.00 $1,437.60

Dodo offers both ADSL2+ (only for metro areas) and NBN services -- though it only offers an unlimited NBN plan on the slowest 12/1 service. Its ADSL2+ packages can be expanded to include options to pay off either a notebook or Xbox 360 if that tempts you. Some cautions are advised: torrent connections can be shaped (though not blocked), and Dodo's service reputation is often questioned. Only 24-month contracts are offered.

Exetel

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
Exetel $49.99 12 $99.99 $699.87
Exetel 12/1 $59.99 12 $59.99 $779.87
Exetel 25/5 $69.99 12 $59.99 $899.87
Exetel 100/40 $89.99 12 $59.99 $1,139.87

Extel only offers 12 month contracts. It has ADSL2+ options plus three NBN plans. The numbers in the plan names indicate download and upload speeds (e.g. Exetel 25/5 has 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload maximum speed).

iPrimus

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
iPrimus PrimusNet $99.95 24 $89.00 $2,487.80
iPrimus PrimusNet $99.95 12 $139.00 $1,338.40
iPrimus PrimusNet $99.95 0 $199.00 $298.95
iPrimus Zone 1 $119.95 24 $89.00 $2,967.80
iPrimus Zone 1 $119.95 12 $139.00 $1,578.40
iPrimus Zone 1 $119.95 0 $199.00 $318.95
iPrimus Zone 2 $129.95 24 $89.00 $3,207.80
iPrimus Zone 2 $129.95 12 $139.00 $1,698.40
iPrimus Zone 2 $129.95 0 $199.00 $328.95

iPrimus' charges for ADSL2+ vary depending on whether it has its own equipment in the exchange (PrimusNet), whether you're in a metro area where it doesn't have its own gear (Zone 1) or whether you're in a rural area (Zone 2). While it offers a choice of contract lengths, its setup fees are relatively high. (It offers NBN plans but doesn't have any unlimited deals.)

iSage

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
iSage $69.95 0 $94.95 $263.90

An identical product to AuNix, so see the comments for that provider above.

Logitel

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
Logitel Optus $69.90 12 $69.00 $907.80
Logitel AAPT $39.90 24 $0.00 $957.60
Logitel AAPT $39.90 12 $69.00 $547.80
Logitel AAPT $39.90 0 $99.00 $138.90
Logitel Chime $44.90 24 $0.00 $1,077.60
Logitel Chime $44.90 12 $69.00 $607.80
Logitel Chime $44.90 0 $99.00 $143.90
Logitel 12/1 $79.99 12 $99.00 $1,058.88
Logitel 25/5 $89.99 12 $99.00 $1,178.88
Logitel 50/20 $99.99 12 $99.00 $1,298.88
Logitel 100/40 $109.99 12 $99.00 $1,418.88

Regional provider Logitel resells services from multiple providers (AAPT, Chime, Optus, Telstra and NBN), and the prices and contract terms vary quite a lot depending on which options you choose. For any given address, you're likely to only have one or two options to consider however. (We haven't included the Telstra options in the table as they're not available unbundled, which makes direct comparison fiddly.) The numbers in the NBN plan names indicate download and upload speeds (e.g. Logitel 25/5 has 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload maximum speed).

Optus

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
Optus $100.00 24 $90.00 $2,490.00
Optus $110.00 0 $90.00 $200.00
Optus 12/1 $100.00 24 $90.00 $2,490.00
Optus 12/1 $110.00 0 $90.00 $200.00
Optus 25/5 $105.00 24 $90.00 $2,610.00
Optus 25/5 $115.00 0 $90.00 $205.00
Optus 50/20 $110.00 24 $90.00 $2,730.00
Optus 50/20 $120.00 0 $90.00 $210.00
Optus 100/40 $120.00 24 $90.00 $2,970.00
Optus 100/40 $130.00 0 $90.00 $220.00

Optus rolled out its unlimited broadband plans last November, with both ADSL2+ and NBN options. You can choose between a month-to-month or 24-month deal; the month-to-month plans are $10 a month more. The numbers in the NBN plan names indicate download and upload speeds (e.g. Optus 25/5 has 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload maximum speed). These are some of the more expensive unlimited plans on offer.

TPG

  Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
TPG $59.99 12 $59.95 $779.83
TPG $59.99 18 $0.00 $1,079.82
TPG 12/1 $59.99 0 $129.95 $189.94
TPG 100/40 $89.99 0 $129.95 $219.94

TPG has long offered unlimited ADSL2+ services (and tries hard to persuade you to sign up for phone services as well). Last year, it finally released its equivalent NBN offering. Its contract lengths are unusual for ADSL2+ (12 or 18 months). For its NBN services, there's no contract, though only two speeds (12/1 and 100/40) are offered.

Tables And Comparisons

Here's the full table with all the plans. You can click on a column heading to sort or filter for specific speeds, prices or companies. Click in the bottom-right corner for a maximised view.

The plan you pick will depend on what's available in your location, your budget, and your willingness to sign up to a long-term contract. So while we won't recommend anyone outright, we will make these observations:

  • Given the range of providers around, we can't see the sense in choosing one that deliberately bans torrenting.
  • If you're in an NBN area, there's lots of competition for 12/1 unlimited connections for around $60 a month. As such, paying more doesn't make a lot of sense.
  • If you're renting, resist signing a 24-month contract -- it creates unnecessary hassle. Even as a homeowner, locking into a contract isn't always the best approach.

Know of a plan we haven't included or spotted an error? (We've tried hard to be all-inclusive and accurate but we don't claim to be perfect.) Tell us in the comments.

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


Comments

    Please add my company http://nbnsp.com.au

    NBNSP, 12/1, $60, Contract 0 months, minimum $210
    NBNSP, 25/5, $70, Contract 0 months, minimum $220
    NBNSP, 50/20, $90, Contract 0 months, minimum $240
    NBNSP, 100/40, $100, Contract 0 months, minimum $250

      My setup fees have dropped to $100 so the minimums above are now incorrect

    yeah it should be 100/40

    Also worthy to note that TPG's NBN plans are only available in specific NBN areas at this stage. I live out at Tullamarine in VIC where the NBN is up and running but TPG is not available in my area (even though TPG will keep saying to me just wait)

    so if you want the 100/40 speed looks like exetel or TPG, any opinions on who offers better customer service?

    Yeah, no one wants the 1TB plan because it's so $$!

    blah, you can check whirlpool about isp providers. If you will sign up for NBN Service, better check their setup fee. I believe that installation for Fibre, Wireless and Satellite are free of charge and there should be no SETUP or CONNECTION fee or even ACTIVATION fee. If you need to install a wireless router or re-routing of cables, that will be on your own expense. But if you will go with ADSL services then there're setup fees and such as activation fees depending in your contract.

    You can check this site for ADSL reviews blah..
    Permission to post this site for ratings and reviews.
    http://ozbroadbandreview.com/index.php

      Another good nbn plan comparison site is http://nbncompared.com.au

    G'day Angus,

    I'm a subscriber (but no employee nor fan of) Dodo.

    Now that that is out of the way, from http://c.dodo.com/pdfs/plansummary/30107_Unlimited_Metro_ADSL2+_Service.pdf (rounding up to nearest dollar because CBF):

    "Monthly Contract Setup Minimum total cost
    $40 1 $130 $170
    $40 12 $70 $550
    $40 24 $0 $960"

    You're welcome!

    Now which of these ISP's can and can't sustain 100mbps down? No point in having such a high connection with a no name ISP who can't handle the backhaul, that gives you the advertised speed as burst speed, which quickly drops down.

    Disagree AusBBS is NBN only - I am on ADSL with AusBBS....

    The speed of any internet connection varies in each location. For instance ADSL speed can vary depending on the active users connected within the exchange or depending how far or how long the cable that was installed. It doesn't mean that the closer you are on the exchange the more speed you will get. Equipment like wireless router can also attribute to the speed when using WIFI. Using a low end router can't max or boost your wifi speed. For wireless broadband geographical location is important and line of sight.

    Last edited 07/07/14 1:04 pm

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