For most people, the NBN is awesome. If you ignore the politicians politicking, and the comments section on the Daily Telegraph, you’ll find there is growing goodwill about our national network, especially now that everyone is signing up for NBN 50 plans and discovering the benefits of fast internet.
Of course, the NBN isn’t the solution for everyone. Due to its nature as a political football, there are some areas that have had NBN access for years, and others which won’t see it for years to come. There are plenty of greenfields developments where the developers “forgot” to notify the NBN, and so brand new apartment buildings are going up with no NBN, right next door to ones with FTTP already provisioned. It’s the digital divide all over again.
If the NBN has let you down, or you simply can’t get it yet, then tapping into mobile broadband could be your best bet. In days past, mobile broadband has been prohibitively expensive and the plans didn’t come with enough data to power a household. But this is slowly changing.
If you’re taking a look at a mobile option for home internet you’ll notice there is two options available. There’s standard Mobile Broadband, and newer Home Wireless Broadband.
Mobile Broadband (with at least 100GB)
Home Wireless Broadband (with at least 100GB)
While both Mobile Broadband and Home Wireless Broadband operate on the mobile phone networks, there are a few important differences. Firstly, Home Wireless plans typically come with a full-sized modem that requires a power outlet, rather than a pocket-sized puck that runs on battery power. These larger modem/routers have ethernet ports and jacks for external antennas, which is great, but you can’t take them on the bus.
Also, while Home Wireless Broadband plans tend to include more data at cheaper prices, the products are speed limited, usually to download speeds of 12Mbps. Regular Mobile Broadband plans offer the full speed of the 4G network in your area.
When you take all of this into consideration, the Optus $80 My MBB Plus plan is an easy recommendation from the list of options above. You get 200GB per month full speed 4G data, extras like an Optus Sport subscription, and the option to add a portable modem for free on a contract.
Editor’s note from Chris
I use mobile broadband at home – because of NBN delays and poor ADSL – with a combination of Vivid Wireless unlimited (for around $90 per month) for the household internet, and a separate Vodafone 4G connection for higher speed requirements. Why? Vivid Wireless is limited to 12 mbps, and shared amongst a number of household devices, it can get fairly slow when someone’s watching Netflix. The backup Vodafone 4G connection is for downloading software updates, backing up to the cloud and so on.
All in all, it isn’t a cheap solution, but it meets our needs as a stop-gap until the NBN becomes available here.
This week’s WhistleOut column comes from Joe Hanlon, while Alex Choros is on leave enjoying a trip through the southwestern United States.