If you’ve finally had the NBN connected to your place – or if you’re interested in changing plans – the good news is the hardest part is behind you. Waiting for the NBN to come to your area, and for the NBN technician to come and connect your place to the network can be the longest wait – for me, it’s almost two years and counting.
However, once the NBN is available, signing up for a plan might just be the easiest bit.
We’ve already walked you through the different NBN connection technologies that are used, and the different kinds of things to look for in an NBN plan, including choosing the right speed, whether to have an unlimited downloads plan, and choosing any add-on features like a phone line.
If you’ve decided roughly what you’ve got in mind, it’s time to compare providers, and sign up for a plan.
Choosing a provider
Choosing a provider is – most of the time – a matter of choice. Some providers offer lower cost plans often with lower guaranteed evening speeds, whereas other providers charge a bit more and generally have faster evening speeds. Besides evening speed – which we’ll unpack below – the biggest differentiators between NBN providers are price, customer service, responsive technical support, and the features you want.
Typical evening speed is one of the main issues with choosing an NBN provider – while the plans are sold on four main speed tiers (NBN12, NBN25, NBN50 and NBN100), that doesn’t mean you can expect those full speeds all the time. During the day and overnight, most customers will typically get close to the speeds they pay for. However, during peak evening times (between 7pm and 11pm), speeds can drop due to the number of customers online.
To help inform consumers, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) publishes a report on these typical evening speeds across the most popular providers. The report from May 2019 shows these results for the top providers:
|PEAK HOURS||OVERALL||OVERALL EXCLUDING UNDER
While TPG has improved in recent months, Aussie Broadband has been a consistently high performer in evening speeds, and there’s a reason we’ve decided to partner with them for our NBN coverage.
That said, across all the providers measured by the ACCC, you can see the performance is – on the whole – generally very good. On these figures, if you’ve paid for an NBN100 plan, you can expect typical evening speeds between 81Mbps (on Dodo) to 88Mbps (on TPG). Aussie Broadband follows closely behind at 85.9Mbps.
Price is not usually a huge point of difference between comparable plans; if you compare enough plans, you’ll find that the various speed tiers generally cost around the same across the providers, and data inclusions change that price only slightly.
For example, if we’re to compare broadband plans available at our place, on NBN100 plans (which is what I’ll sign up for) with at least 500GB data, plans range from $69 per month to $99 per month.
There’s a couple of things you’ll notice about these plans – well, here are the things I noticed:
- Vodafone’s plan starts at $69 per month, but increases to $89 after six months. You also pay $200 for a modem, but on the plus side, you get automatic 4G fallback should the NBN fail.
- Most providers offer plans around the $79 to $89 mark for NBN100 plans, and most of these are unlimited data plans.
- Only two providers charge $99 a month for these plans – Aussie Broadband and iiNet.
What sets Aussie Broadband apart?
So, you might think that $99 a month is quite expensive compared to $69 introductory offers, or $79 plans offered by some other providers. However, there’s a couple of things you’re getting for that price:
- Aussie Broadband’s typical evening speeds are approximately 86Mbps, faster than almost all other plans listed except TPG.
- There’s no contract term and no setup fees (though, some other providers offer this too).
- Australian-based technical support – which can make the difference between mild inconvenience and outright frustration if something goes wrong.
You can make your own assessment as to what that’s worth to you, but here’s how Aussie Broadband sets itself apart from other providers:
- They’re locally owned, which means they invest in Australian jobs and services.
- Their call centres are based in Victoria.
- Aussie Broadband has invested in its own national network to give them full control over network capacity.
- The company focuses on NBN, phone and mobile services. Nothing else.
- Aussie Broadband has won a number of awards, including the Best Fixed Broadband Provider at the CommsDay Edison Awards for 2018 and 2019, being in the top 100 Best Places to Work in Australia, and business of the year for 2017 in the Gippsland Business Awards.
- Aussie Broadband also sponsor community groups and encourage volunteer work from their staff with a generous community service leave entitlement.
How to sign up for a plan?
Once you’ve chosen your provider, signing up for an NBN plan is easy!
With Aussie Broadband, all you need to do is:
- Enter your address, so Aussie Broadband can show you what NBN speeds are available at your place.
- Choose one of the popular NBN plans, or build your own plan.
- Choose a home phone bundle if needed.
- Choose any optional extras – e.g. Fetch TV
- Choose a compatible modem, or BYO.
- Choose an optional mobile plan with no lock-in contracts.
- Provide some basic details – name, contact number and email, date of birth (to create your account), specify a convenient appointment time for a technician (if required) and pop in your payment details (credit card or direct debit).
That’s all it takes.
Once you’re signed up, how long your new connection takes will depend on whether you’ve already been connected to the NBN before, or whether your connection is brand new.
If you’re on the NBN already, it’s likely that you can be connected in as little as 15 minutes. If you’re a little bit technical, you can even activate one of the other ports on your NTD (for FTTP customers) so you can try Aussie Broadband’s NBN service in parallel with your existing service provider.
If your service can’t be automatically activated, it should take only 5 working days, but it could take up to two to four weeks if a technician is required to attend your place.
If you’re totally new to NBN, then Aussie Broadband organise getting your connection up and running for you. This can take a little longer as you may need an appointment with an NBN technician to get you connected for the first time.
Keep in mind that any subsequent line installation fees, new development fees or hardware fees will still be billed to your account. Unless any of these three cases apply, then Aussie Broadband charges no installation fee for its NBN services.
This article is one in a series of sponsored stories from Aussie Broadband, recognised by industry as Australia’s best NBN provider, two years running. Winner of Best Fixed Broadband Provider at the Edison Awards, 2018 and 2019.