While many Retail Service Providers (RSPs) have had their reputations tarnished through the rollout of the NBN, one company seems to have thrived. Aussie Broadband, which was formed through the amalgamation of Wideband Networks and Westvic Broadband, is often mentioned in positive terms by customers saying their service and performance are excellent.
But what about value for money? Let's see how Aussie Broadband's plans stack up against some of the big boys.
Aussie Broadband's NBN Plans
None of Aussie Broadbnad's plans have a lock-in contract and there are options for bundling your home phone. This means you're free to cancel at any time and go somewhere else - but you can also expect to pay a bit more per month compared to some of the 24-month plans out there.
As well as the three unlimited plans listed here, Aussie Broadband also offers a paltry 100GB plan that delivers 25Mbps and costs $55 per month. Despite having no lock-in contracts there aren't any connection fees or excess data charges.
There are also small business plans that start at about $10 more than the residential offerings but include priority support ticket handling and a static IP address.
In addition to the set plans, Aussie Broadband allows you to create your own plans where you choose the volume of data you need - not everyone needs unlimited data - and your general speed requirements, potentially saving you a few bucks each month.
In my case, we use about 300GB per month with our current ISP. A custom plan, with 450GB of data on Aussie Broadband's nbn50 plan, which would be a little faster than what we currently have on HFC cable would save us $6 per month. It's not a lot, but amounts to getting a month for "free" each year compared to the unlimited plan.
On the flip side, there are also cheaper options on the market - especially if you're willing to try little known providers of questionable quality. Here's how Aussie Broadband's unlimited data plans compare to similar offerings from rival telcos:
NBN 100 Unlimited Data Plans
NBN 50 Unlimited Data Plans
NBN 25 Unlimited Data Plans
Australia's major ISP speeds compared
Telstra offers an unlimited plan for $90 per month with typical download speeds of 40Mbps and uploads at 15Mbps. If you want to save a few bucks, its $75 plan has typical download speeds of 20Mbps and uploads at 4Mbps.
Optus offers similar plans for $85 a month giving you a 50/2 plan which can be boosted to a 100/2 plan for an extra $30 each month. There are also options to bundle Optus Sport, Fetch TV and phone calls.
Telsta and Optus both have $99 connection fees although Telstra is waiving them at the moment. They are also 24 month contracts. Optus charge $200 in upfront costs if you want to go the month-to-month option.
iiNet's NBN plans follow a similar pattern to Aussie Broadband with a slower 500GB plan with typical speeds of 10.3Mbps costing $59.99 a month. An extra $10 boosts that to unlimited traffic. Paying $99 a month gets you typical speeds of 77.4Mbps. The unlimited plans, dubbed "Limitless" by iiNet includes Fetch TV with a bunch of movies and other entertainment.
How to choose a plan
Picking an RSP is tricky. My rule, when the NBN comes to your neighbourhood, is to wait and scan local social media and talk to locals about what they're experiencing with their RSP. Remember, two houses next door to each other that are on similar plans could get quite different performance depending on how much connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) their RSP has procured.
Avoid lock-in contracts if possible so you can easily change if you're not getting the service you expect. With that said, the ACCC has made it clear to RSPs that they can not punish customers with exit fees if they don't delver the expected performance. So if you can prove the flaky speeds aren't due to your equipment, you should be okay.
When you sign up with an RSP, monitor performance regularly to ensure things aren't slipping as more locals sign up to the NBN.
The TL;DR on Aussie Broadband
Unlimited plans, no locking contracts and a very solid reputation suggests Aussie Broadband needs to be on your shortlist when considering an RSP. We'd also put iiNet on there (particularly if you value reliable speeds) and Telstra if you live out in the sticks.
You can compare and contrast Australia's full range of NBN plans over at our interactive ISP portal.
This story has been updated since its last publication.