Best Internet Plans

Choosing a broadband plan can be a nightmare due to the sheer number of vendors and plans available. Vexing questions abound – what type of plan do I need? How much data is enough? How much shall I spend? Shall I get ADSL 2+ or Naked DSL? And what about the NBN?

By Mike Wheeler


Choosing a broadband plan can be a nightmare due to the sheer number of vendors and plans available. Vexing questions abound – what type of plan do I need? How much data is enough? How much shall I spend? Shall I get ADSL 2+ or Naked DSL? And what about the NBN?


What you first have to decide is what your needs are. How many people live in your household? Are you a one-PC family or does everyone have their own device? Do you have smartphones? Do you have children who are into online gaming, or have PlayStation Network or Xbox Live accounts? Do you download movies from BigPond or similar service? All these things chew into your bandwidth and need to be taken into account when purchasing your monthly plan.


Most families can get by with about 50GB-100GB a month. If you are a couple or have a young family then 30GB-50GB should do the trick, while senior citizens should be able to get by on about 20GB. If you are keen to know how much bandwidth you are using, you can download a programme like ShaPlus for free. Once set up, it will tell you how much you are going through on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.


Be aware that most plans are split 50/50 between peak and off-peak rates, with off-peak usually being a small window during the day when you’re asleep. Some also come as bundled, which means they include the cost of a phone landline. Finally, note that in some cases start up fees will apply, as well as costs associated with getting a modem if you don’t have one already.


As you would expect Telstra’s BigPond has by far the biggest range of offerings with ADSL2+, Naked, NBN and even Satellite (which is ridiculously expensive) options. Like the other big player in the market, Optus, they tend to be the most pricey, but they would argue that they are also offering more with their plans, which in some cases, is true. If you’re after an average plan we’d look at the Naked $69.95 80GB plan, or the $69.95 ADSL2+ bundled option, which will give you 200GB of data.


Dodo offers both bundles and unbundled plans with a reasonable spectrum of options. You can pay $19.90 a month for 10Gb, or up to $59.90 for Unlimited, and everything in between. The company differentiates between metro and regional plans, with the latter unsurprisingly being slightly more expensive. Dodo is currently running a promo whereby if you sign up for an $59.90 Unlimited account for 24 months you get an Xbox 360 plus other gear. However, we’d go for the $39.90 Unlimited deal, which is good value for money.


Being one of the heavy hitters means Optus has a lot of infrastructure and service to back it up. It also means they are a tad more expensive than some of the smaller players. They have ADSL2+, Naked and NBN plans. For ADSL2+ they are bundled with the home phone with the 50GB $65 plan being the one we would look at – not because we like it that much, but the next step up is $85 for 120GB, which getting expensive. The Naked plans are $10 cheaper.


iiNet has several options available and split them between those that are on their network and those that are not. We’d only look at those that are on their own network unless you have no other choice. Our favourite would be the ADSL2+ $39.95 where you get 50GB of data. The Naked DSL plans are more expensive, but if that is what you want then check out the $59.95 option 100GB of data (there is no 50GB plan available). You can get 100GB via ADSL for $29.95 a month, but you have to add in a monthly rental of $29.95 for a landline, which will blow the cost out to almost $60.


Internode gives you Naked, ADSL2+ and NBN services. They divvy up their ADSL2+ bundled plans into two types – those whereby they are your landline provider and those where there is a third party involved. Their best bundled offering is $39.95 for 100GB, which is reasonable. We’d stay clear of the bundled plans where your landline is via another vendor as it costs you an extra $20 a month. Its Naked plans are pretty expensive with the best one on offer – 200GB – setting you back a hefty $79.95 a month.


iPrimus offer up bundled and unbundled ADSL2+, Naked DSL and NBN. Similar to iiNet they have their own network offerings as well as those from other vendors, which, as you would expect are more expensive. They also have bundled plans, which are cheaper than standalone. Their best ADSL2+ offering is the $39.95 bundled, which will give you 100GB. If you want a phone-free Naked DSL service, the best one is their Unlimited offering of $69.95. There is a $59.95 offering but we reckon for an extra $10 you might as well go the whole hog especially if you’re doing plenty of uploading and downloading.


Spintel are interesting in that they only offer ADSL2+ plans, and the data allowance you get goes up markedly at different price points. For example, they have a $31.95 plan that gives you 20GB, yet for an extra $16 you’ll get a massive 200GB. We’d go for the $47.95, 200GB plan, simply because it is so cost-effective. You’d be hard-pressed to go through all 200GB in a month, but it certainly is value for money.


TPG only do bundles utilising ADSL2+. They’ll give you 100GB for $49.99. which is not too bad when you consider that includes phone line rental.

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