01.What is it?
More households are opting for broadband over dial-up internet services, looking for better speeds and fewer delays and disruptions. The most satisfied users are those who can find a reasonably-priced plan with accurate information from their internet service provider (ISP).
Broadband internet now has new versions called ADSL2 and ADSL2+. (We’ve included ADSL2 and ADSL2+ plans together.) Although it isn’t available everywhere, ADSL2 is faster than its predecessor. Broadband download speeds range from 256 kilobits per second (kbps) to 1024 kbps and ADSL2 extends this to a theoretical maximum of 24,000 kbps (24 Mbps).
ADSL2 speed tends to decrease with the distance from telephone exchange. Other factors, such as electrical interference, hardware and software and wiring, may also affect the speed.
Please note: this information was current as of April 2007 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
How do I get it?
ADSL connection is usually limited to metropolitan and town homes with an active landline. You must live within a certain distance of a suitable telephone exchange and use a special modem, which can be bundled with your contract or purchased separately. A bundled modem may be ‘locked’ to the ISP, while a modem bought separately may not be supported by your ISP if you run into problems. ADSL2 requires:
- Local telephone exchanges that connect ADSL users must be upgraded with high-speed networking devices to enable ADSL2 connections.
- Users need to live in an access area.
- A special ADSL2 modem. Some modems can be upgraded with a firmware update, but you may need to buy a new modem when you upgrade.
Coverage areas include:
- The wider Sydney region and some parts of New South Wales
- Melbourne and some parts of country Victoria
- Adelaide and limited parts in the south of South Australia
- Perth and limited parts of Pinjarra in Western Australia
- Brisbane and parts of Queensland
There’s currently little to no availability in other regional areas.
Prices and plans
We’ve put together a guide on household broadband plans including ADSL2 with independent phone/internet website PhoneChoice to give you an idea about what’s available.
- There are about 100 providers offering residential broadband plans, which means you have a lot of choice when you’re choosing a plan.
- Regular ADSL is the most common broadband connection type and accounts for the majority of the 2551 plans on offer.
- ADSL2 only accounts for a small proportion of available household plans, although it’s likely this will increase as coverage expands.
The good news is that monthly costs for broadband plans, except cable, have been steadily declining and, on average, you’ll find better value in a plan with a higher speed. The tables detail the relative cost of broadband plans.
The average setup cost for all broadband plans including ADSL and ADSL2 has been steadily dropping over recent months. There’s now little difference in the average setup cost.
Double your downloads
The best value plans are usually those with a high or unlimited download limit. However, be wary of plans that offer ‘unlimited’ download limits because they’re not always unlimited in the true sense of the word. The speed of your connection may be reduced or there may be other restrictions that limit high usage.
On average, you’ll have to pay 15% more to double the download limit. And that little bit extra in monthly cost can get you a more generous download limit; for example, plans with a 1 GB limit cost $38, while plans with a 5 GB limit cost $52 on average.
ADSL2 plans currently offer the best combination of price, speed and download limit of all broadband plans.