As the NBN starts to reach major urban centres – with an 18 month deadline to switch over once it arrives in your area – more and more people each week are faced with choosing between a range of retailers offering NBN products with different speeds, data limits and prices.
So this week consumer research body Canstar Blue helpfully compiled a list of the cheapest plans.
The NBN is offered in four speed tiers – 12Mbps download, which Canstar has labelled tier 1; 25Mbps (tier 2); 50Mbps (tier 3); and 100Mbps (tier 4).
Existing ADSL2+ connections over the telephone line can theoretically exceed 20Mbps if your home is close enough to an exchange, so the NBN only uses the label “superfast” broadband for 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps.
While Canstar has published the cheapest plans for each tier, it warns that this does not necessarily indicate the best value.
“The best NBN plans with superfast speeds usually come with a hefty amount of data – unlimited in many cases – and this will be reflected by the price you pay. Going for the cheapest deals usually means sacrificing either speed or data,” said Canstar journalist Harrison Astbury.
Cheapest NBN plans for each speed tier
MyRepublic’s plan, at $59.99 for unlimited data at the highest speed available, seems to be excellent value, considering it is the same cost as the best 50Mbps plan, from SpinTel, which provides just 40GB.
Cheapest NBN plans at 12Mbps
At the slowest 12Mbps speed, which is not much faster, if not slower, than ADSL2+ connections, Dodo’s 10GB for $29.90 per month plan comes out on top — although it includes a lot less data than the runners up Spintel, Exetel and Teleron, which are all just $10 more. This speed is adequate for light day-to-day activities like browsing and checking emails.
Cheapest NBN plans at 25Mbps
25Mbps sees more smooth performance for streaming and downloading videos, although the performance gain from the NBN might struggle to show during peak times. Teleron’s $49 plan is the cheapest, although for just 99 cents more Exetel will provide double the data.
Cheapest NBN plans at 50Mbps
For most users, who won’t receive NBN fibre all the way to their house, the 50Mbps tier may be the most realistic level of maximum performance they can get. Also, the amount of data included is a major concern at these speeds to avoid bill shock, as the volume downloaded per second can get quite large.
Cheapest NBN plans at 100Mbps
For a long time, this was the highest speed level on the NBN the public could purchase.
The NBN website still markets 100Mbps as the premium level, although Brisbane retailer SkyMesh launched 200Mbps plans last week.
The Dodo plan providing 10GB is one to be wary of, as theoretically you can chew through that much data in 15 minutes on a 100Mbps connection.