Broadband basics guide

Make sense of the bits and bytes.
 
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05.Doing the numbers

Comparing broadband plans is complex, particularly if you’re considering bundling landline or mobile phone as well as pay TV.

The first thing to do is determine how much you’re already spending on these services. Try to do this over a similar timeframe to the period of the contract you’re considering. If you’re currently on a dial-up internet account, determine what your data usage is over a typical month.

If your ISP doesn’t provide this information, the table below is a rough guide.

 

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ACTIVITY APPROXIMATE USAGE
Sending and receiving text email, small word processing documents or text-based web pages 0.02 to 0.05 MB each
Sending and receiving still images 0.05 to 0.25 MB each (high-resolution images can be much larger)
Downloading a music file (about a four-minute MP3) 4 MB
Downloading a five-minute music video or movie trailer 30 MB
 
Source: Australian Communications and Media Authority

Most people will use more data with a broadband connection than a dial-up connection because there’s less delay, so add about 50% to your calculation to compensate. Then choose a broadband plan that provides enough data for your needs and add as much above that as you can afford, just in case.

Bundled phone plans usually offer a discount on either the broadband or phone component. These bundles are usually found on the ISP’s website, but bundles that include pay TV are usually only offered when you begin the sign-up procedure or as part of a direct-marketing campaign. Take your time and check the real value of these bundles for your purposes. Compare the broadband component against your normal usage because they will most likely have a lengthy contract period.

The table below provides some low-cost broadband plans based on the following scenario:

  • Type The ADSL broadband component is separate from fixed-phone line, mobile phone and pay-TV costs.
  • Speed Download speed is at least 256 kbps.
  • Capacity A minimum of 1 GB of data is included.
  • Penalties Any excess data usage results in the speed being ‘shaped’, rather than incurring a penalty rate.
  • Availability All are available in a metropolitan area, across the country.
  • Contract period six to 12 months.
SELECTION OF LOW-COST PERSONAL BROADBAND PLANS (ADSL)
PRODUCT FEATURES COSTS
Provider Plan Availability Speed (Mbps, download / upload) Contract term (months) GB included in plan Minimum monthly charge ($) Setup cost ($) Cost for 12 months ($)
GOtalk ADSL1 Light ACT, NSW, Qld, SA, Vic, WA 512 / 125 12 9 29.95 0 359.4
Australia On Line 256k Fast 4GB ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Vic, WA 256 / 64 12 4 29.95 49 408.4
Chariot netconnect NEW ADSL Communicate ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic 256 / 64 6 1 29.95 59.95 419.35
TPG Internet Light 256/6GB ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Vic, WA 256 / 64 6 6 29.95 59.95 419.35
 
Source: phonechoice.com.au.
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