Switching to the NBN is not a choice, despite what one in three Aussies think. Once a property is deemed "ready-for-service", you have 18-months to switch over from your existing internet and phone connection.
With the NBN ramping up the roll-out of the network over the last few years, it means that this cut off is looming for nearly 100,000 Australians throughout the next few months.
Here is what you should consider when choosing your NBN plan.
Household data usage
Whether your roommate is your Netflix subscription, or you have a house full of teenagers, you will need a plan that includes an appropriate amount of data for your needs.
For people who don't require the internet for anything other than online shopping or social media, smaller data quotas will be adequate. But if you're planning on streaming HD or 4K video or share the connection with a few people, you'll need a plan that offers a high data allowance.
In that case, your best bet is an unlimited plan you can score at super-competitive prices; this will leave you peace of mind of never running out of data.
Download and upload speeds
There are two sure things people will talk about at a barbeque this summer – the weather and 'NBN speeds. One of the differences with NBN compared to ADSL2+ is that you have a choice in speed tier. So far, over 75 per cent of nbn-connected Aussies have chosen lower speed tiers that are comparable to existing ADSL2+ connections (which may be part of the reason why collectively we haven’t noticed massive speed improvements on the NBN).
Here are your options:
- Premium (also known as NBN 100 or 100/40) – the ultimate speed for big households, serious online gamers and 4K video streamers
- Standard Plus (also known as NBN 50 or 50/20) – perfect for households with around 4 people, who like to simultaneously stream HD video or play online games
- Standard (also known as NBN 25 or 25/5) – the minimum speed tier you should get if you are streaming video or gaming, regardless of the number of people in your household
- Basic (also known as NBN 12 or 12/1) – ideal for households of 1-2 people who mainly use the internet for web browsing
These names for each speed tier are recommendations from the ACCC. It is important to note that some RSPs call their "Basic" speed tier "Standard" which adds to the confusion - it pays to check the fine print!
You'll also notice that some RSPs still mention the wholesale speeds they purchase from the NBN, like 50/20Mbps. It's important to know that these will not be the speeds you receive. There is a myriad of factors that can affect your speed including NBN technology type, the type of content you access, peak hours for internet usage in your area, number of devices connected, modem type and Wi-Fi performance.
No lock-in contracts
Have you ever signed a 24-month contract only to end up paying 30 bucks a month more than everyone else once the market prices go down? Problem is that you are stuck with your original price and won’t be able to switch.
There are no major advantages in locking yourself into a long nbn contract! Most RSPs waive their activation fee or modem fee if you sign up to a contract, but you'll likely pay more in the long run.
No lock-in contracts are the safest way to ensure you're always on a plan you can afford, with the freedom to change whenever. You'll even find that there are some providers, who have no lock-in contracts, as well as no activation fees.
No plan change fees
A few RSPs even allow you to switch between speed tiers whenever you want at no extra charge. That means that the one month where you want to binge watch all seven seasons of Game of Thrones in 4K you can choose the highest speed tier. The next month when you are road tripping through Cambodia you can switch to the lowest speed tier and save yourself some money to spend on local street food instead.
Rob Appel is Commercial Director for Broadband at amaysim Australia.