The NBN rollout in 2009 transformed Australia’s internet landscape into a multi-technology mix. It gives Australian an endless choice of ISPs. They may be ADSL, cable, mobile broadband, NBN, or wireless. ISP providers are the gatekeeper of our connections to the world. So, it’s very important to make a wise choice. Here are some tips to compare internet plans.
Check the Internet Availability in Your Area
The very first step is to check the internet plans available in your area. It’s because coverage differs for every provider. Packages, prices, special offers, and speed also vary per location. To best compare internet plans, it’s wise to use your zip code and check availability online. Compare Broadband simplifies the process. You just need to enter your postcode to search for plans. The search will provide a list of internet plans based on address, budget, and data needs. Be aware of the type of plans available. ADSL sends data through phone copper wires and is cheaper. Cable internet offers higher internet speed through HFC cables, while fibre optic internet is the fastest and most reliable even though it is costly.
Create a list of the Plans Available and Factors to Consider
A list of plans available in your area is not enough. You have to take note of the following factors:
- cost of equipment and installation
- customer satisfaction ratings
- data caps and overage fees
- internet speeds
- plan and pricing
These factors will help you initially narrow down your choices. Bandwidth equates the number of internet users in your home. The cost of equipment and installation matters if you’re not going to subscribe to the service for long. Try checking the customer ratings and reviews. They’ll give you an overview of what to expect from the ISP provider. Be aware that most ISP providers impose limits on the amount of data you can use monthly. The most important step is to compare internet plans based on pricing and speed. If you need a fast and reliable internet connection, paying more than the standard rate is just okay. Don’t forget to also check out for any bundle or discounts offered. Having a list of the available plans in your location together with the above factors helps you compare internet plans at your preference.
Knowing How Much Data Cap You Need
Data cap allowances are somewhat confusing. Going over your monthly data cap limit will cost you more. It’s like a minefield to consumers. To compare internet plans that offer the data cap you need, here’s a list of the basic online activities and how much data each used:
- Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) = 2 MB per minute/3 MB with videos
- Music Streaming = 2 MB per minute
- HD Video Streaming (1080p) = 30 MB per minute
- 4K video Streaming = 120 MB per minute
- Large Files Downloads = 20 GB per file
- Voice and Video Calls = 0.6 MB per minute
Most Australian households used around 85 GB of data monthly. The best way to calculate the data you need is to consider the number of internet users and the frequency of online activities they do. There are ISP providers who offer unlimited data usage. Aim to get such a type of plan should you foresee a higher data allowance for all your online needs.
Finding Out the Internet Bandwidth and Speed You Need
A home with many internet users needs a larger bandwidth. This is to ensure that the speed is not affected even if many users are online at the same time. Bandwidths serve as the open ports for each user. Good internet speed for most homes is around 30 Mbps. Although some can manage with an internet speed lesser than that. Others may also need a higher speed depending on the tasks they normally do online. To best compare internet plans according to speed, here’s a breakdown of the ranges and what their good for:
- 5 Mbps is good for checking email, searching emails, and streaming music.
- 6 to 40 Mbps works for online gaming, regular video streaming, and video calling.
- 41 to 100 Mbps can accommodate downloading of large files and HD video streaming. It’s also an edge for multiplayer online gaming.
With the list of online activities above, you can now decide what plan best suits your needs.
The Bottom Line
Before entering a contract with an ISP provider, it is wise to compare internet plans first. Upon checking the available connections in your area, you should be aware of their bandwidth, data cap, speed, and pricing. Knowing what other customers say on the reviews also matters. Remember that you’ll be paying for the service monthly. So, it is important to gauge if you’ll get the best for what you’ll pay for. Figure out the right data cap and speed needed in your home. It’s best to know your preferences when you compare internet plans.