Does it make sense to buy your broadband and home phone line from Foxtel? Planhacker crunches the numbers and says "probably not".
Picture: Getty Images/Brendon Thorne
After hinting at its plans to offer broadband and phone calls on top of its existing pay TV subscriptions last year, Foxtel today has officially launched its broadband deals. (Telstra already offers plans which bundle Foxtel access with landline and mobile; these bundles come direct from Foxtel itself.)
The first important point to note: Foxtel Broadband currently offers ADSL plans that use your phone line, not high-speed cable options (even if you're using cable for the TV itself). So if you already have cable broadband, these plans would absolutely be a step backwards. Foxtel says it will offer National Broadband Network (NBN) plans later this year, and those are likely to incorporate cable, since it is due to be incorporated into the multi-technology mix used for the NBN.
The basic deal from Foxtel is this: if you're an existing customer, you can add an ADSL broadband package to your package. You have to sign up for a 12- or 24-month contract. You also get unlimited calls to Australian mobiles and landline numbers. If you're not a Foxtel customer, you can sign up for a bundle that also includes Foxtel pay TV access.
Either way, you'll get the "Foxtel Hub", which is the branding for Foxtel's router/modem. On 12-month contracts, you'll have to pay an additional $110 for the modem. You also have to pay a $59 installation fee. If you're a new customer, you'll pay $150 for TV service installation too.
Data usage on Foxtel's own online services -- Foxtel Go, Presto, Anytime and Play -- doesn't count against your monthly broadband allowance. If you're consuming a lot of online TV via Foxtel's services, that could be tempting. If you aren't, it's less relevant.
Here are the full pricing details. For existing customers, the minimum total cost is for broadband alone -- you'll also have to pay for your TV access. For new customers the bundle price will vary depending on which TV packages you select -- we've listed the cheapest available option.
|Data per month||Contract (months)||Price (existing)||Min total (existing)||Price (new)||Min total price (new)|
The simple fact is these aren't very competitive prices. If your mobile phone already offers unlimited local calls, then the phone bundle is irrelevant.
More tellingly, the data inclusions on the cheapest plans are expensive compared to rivals. Foxtel charges $65 a month for 50GB. iiNet will sell you the same allowance for $40. Exetel will offer you 100GB and a phone line for $40.
The one possible exception is if you are making heavy use of Presto, Go or Play at home. Under those circumstances, having your data usage not counted against the service would be (potentially) beneficial -- but even that will depend on your overall usage.
We're always cautious when it comes to bundles -- while it can seem convenient to just be paying one bill, the benefit to the provider is even greater, since you're locked into a long-term contract. Given the competition in ADSL broadband, it's likely you'll do better with a different deal.