AusBBS has offered an unlimited NBN plan since May 2013. Now it is also offering a similar deal for apartment blocks being serviced by TPG/AAPT, but as always it pays to check the conditions carefully if you happen to live in one of the 300 buildings offering the deal.
Infinity image from Shutterstock
Getting high-speed broadband in your unit block or residential tower — a process generally referred to as "fibre-to-the-basement" (FTTB) — has always been a little fiddly. If you're in an area with existing fibre NBN connectivity, your building could be wired up to it, but only if all residents agreed.
If you're moving into a new building, chances are the developers may have done a deal for connectivity ahead of time — something that also occasionally happens with existing buildings. TPG has been developing its own fibre network for deployment in new buildings, but was told by regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last year that it had to also offer wholesale access to that network, in the same way the NBN was obliged to. As a result, TPG has started selling that access through its AAPT subsidiary, and AusBBS is the first company to sign up and start offering that to residents. (That will continue regardless of what happens with the TPG/iiNet merger.)
What that means in practical terms is that if you're in one of the buildings being fitted out by TPG, you could choose the AusBBS option rather than the TPG one. Whichever one you choose, you need to be aware that speeds are likely to be variable, since the fibre connection will ultimately be delivered via the existing copper lines in your building. Those shouldn't be in terrible nick if it's a new building, but there are no guarantees. The service promises speeds up to 100Mbps for downloads and 20Mbps for uploads, but doesn't offer any of the speed gradations seen on regular NBN services.
So how much will you pay? These are the prices for 12-month and no-contract options for broadband only for both broadband only and broadband with unlimited local and STD calls. (We've included the price of a supplied modem and installation here.)
|Option||Contract||Fee||Contract fee||Modem/install||Min total|
|Broadband only||12 months||$59.95||$75.00||$180.00||$974.40|
How does that compare? TPG doesn't offer a broadband-only version of its FTTB plan, so if you're happy to run solely off a mobile, that's a cheaper deal. It charges essentially the same fee ($69.99 a month) for a service with broadband plus local and STD calls, with the choice of 6 or 18 month contracts, so you'll have less lock-in with the AusBBS deal. TPG's $100 setup fee is also a little higher than that charged for the AusBBS 12-month deal.