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.

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    I use a similar combination of Vivid, Vodafone and Telstra (I got good deals and have an active/active dual SIM phone). I’m not scheduled to get the NBN for another couple of months. One issue that is bothering me is what to do for my 86 yr old mother who doesn’t and won’t use a mobile or the internet (I print emails from family and friends and type up her replies!). I know Belong will do $10 a month unlimited calls and that’s cheaper than a landline but it doesn’t solve the – I’m not using a mobile and the… Read more »

    noice brewery

    im using tpgs weird non-nbn FTTB and its great, $50/month for basically 90mbps


    Just moved into a house coming from the NBN, which I was taking for granted. Stuck on ADSL2+ now with joke speeds.

    I now use ADSL for home devices and am using a spare phone and chucking in cheap sims with data when they come up for sale. Forever swapping them out.


    Pricing for bandwidth in Australia is a a joke – was watching an I.T. video on you tube and an American bloke was saying how please he was to have just received his Gigabit internet connection at his house – and the cost – just US$75 a month.

    noice brewery

    whatever you do, don’t look up what europeans are paying for gigabit connections


    Yep it truly is laughable, but when you think about it, its extremely difficult, if at all possible to charge those sorts of prices in Australia for that kind of speed. Most larger US cities and towns have overall higher populations and population densities than even our largest cities. This usually means telco’s can expect a much higher return on investment when rolling out Gigabit fibre connections to 100’s of thousands or even millions of customers in the US. Theoretically theres nothing stopping NBN Co from offering Gigabit speeds on their fibre connections, the issue is with their stupid CVC… Read more »


    Not really:
    If that link doesn’t work, then google “Sydney population density”. It is higher than many of the biggest cities in Europe and USA