I want to connect broadband/internet, what are my options?

There are 2 types of internet services that can provide you with internet access; fixed or wireless.

Fixed internet services are connected to a specific property via a physical line, and you can only use the connection when you are at or around that property.  Wireless internet services allow you the flexibility to easily relocate from one property to another or access the internet while you are on the go.  The type of internet connection you can choose from depends on the infrastructure available in your area.  Here’s a quick summary of current options in Australia;

Fixed

  • NBN Broadband – fast reliable and being rolled out across all of Australia. Foxie can help you check whether your property is ready to connect to NBN. The National Broadband Network (NBN) is made up of a mixture of technologies. There are over 170 internet service providers selling NBN products.
  • ADSL/ADSL2+ – the traditional form of broadband used across Australia, which is gradually being replaced by newer and faster technologies. A good option while you’re awaiting NBN access.
  • Cable Broadband – Uses existing Pay TV cable networks. This option is fast and reliable but available at limited properties.
  • Fibre Broadband – Also fast and reliable but available at limited properties, mainly in major cities and a few larger regional towns.

Wireless

  • Mobile Wireless Broadband – uses the same technology as mobile phone networks. This option requires no wires and no installation and is worth considering if you move house regularly or want internet on the go.
  • Satellite Broadband – only available as part of NBN
  • Fixed Wireless Broadband – only available as part of NBN

What about if I want WiFi within my house?

Regardless of the type of internet service you choose, you can still set up WiFi within your home as long as you have a modem that is WiFi capable.  Your internet service provider will usually provide you with a modem as part of your plan, but you can also buy them separately.  Note, WiFi is convenient however you will usually achieve a more reliable connection via a cable.

How do I choose the best option for me?

When it comes to choosing a provider and plan there are 3 key things you need to consider; speed, data, and cost.  You want a connection that is fast, provides enough data for your needs and is affordable. Here’s a quick summary;

Data

When choosing a broadband plan you will need to decide whether you want limited or unlimited data. Data is measured in Gigabytes (GB) and most limited plans quote a monthly allowance. If you exceed your monthly allowance your provider will either automatically charge you for extra data or slow down you internet speed. Unlimited plans allow you to use as much data as you like but they usually come at a higher cost.  For peace of mind, it’s tempting to choose an unlimited plan however, you could be paying for data you don’t need.

The average Australian household now uses about 85 GB of broadband data per month.* The best way to work out how much data you need is to have a look at your current bill.  If you are signing up for a new internet service and don’t have this information, take a moment to consider what you actually use the internet for and how often you use it.  Here’s a guide that may help;

Typical Internet Activity Estimated Monthly Data Usage (GB)
Individual – email, browsing, social media, streaming music and YouTube videos

<25

Couple of family of 4 people – email, browsing, social media, streaming music and YouTube videos

100

Family of 4 people– email, browsing, social media, streaming music and YouTube videos, downloading some HD movies and games

500

Large family or shared household – multiple users streaming videos, music, HD movies and gaming

>500

 

Speed

Speed is an important consideration when choosing a broadband plan.  Megabits per second (Mbps) is used to measure how quickly you can download or upload data.  For example, an internet download speed of 100 Megabits per second or higher is considered fast because it can handle multiple users streaming HD movies or games on multiple devices at the same, without a major interruption to the service.

Since the actual speed you achieve in your home or business is dependent on many factors including the amount of internet traffic, providers are required to advertise “typical evening speeds.” This allows you to consider the typical speed you are likely to achieve during the busiest time on the network (7-11pm).

Other factors that affect internet speed include distances of wires or cables (i.e. for ADSL, your distance from the telephone exchange), the condition of wires or cables, hardware and software.

You may have noticed it takes much longer to upload a photo to a file storage or sharing service like iCloud, than it does to download one.  This is because upload speeds are generally significantly lower than download speeds.  Providers are required to advertise typical download as well as upload speeds.

To put internet speed into perspective, consider downloading a HD movie. Movie file sizes are measured in megabytes (MB).  A small HD movie would be about 3 MB and take approximately 4 minutes to download at an internet speed of 100 Megabits per second.

Working out what speed you need becomes more complicated for live streaming movies and shows or when multiple users are running multiple devices.  For live streaming, Netflix recommends an internet speed at least 5 Megabits per second for HD quality movies or TV shows, and 25 Megabits per second for ultra HD quality movies or TV shows. **

Here’s a guide that may help;

Typical Internet Activity Recommended Speed (Mbps)
Email, browsing and social media

12

Email, browsing, social media, streaming HD and ultra HD movies and shows and making video calls (e.g. Skype)

25

Streaming HD and ultra HD movies and shows, making video calls online gaming.

50

Multiple users running several devices at once, streaming in HD and ultra HD quality, downloading HD movies and online gaming

100

 

Mobile wireless broadband speeds are affected by signal strength and network congestion. 3G, 4G and 5G refer to the generation of wireless mobile technology with 3G being the oldest and slowest and 5G being the latest and fastest technology.  Currently most mobile broadband plans use the 4G network.  Some larger providers are now offering plans on 5G networks but you will need devices that are 5G compatible.

Cost

Put simply, plans with unlimited data generally increase in cost proportional to the speed you choose.  For plans with limited data, costs vary depending on the amount of data you choose.  Data over wireless networks is generally more expensive than ADSL or fixed line connections and you will usually pay less if you choose a plan with a lock-in contract.

There are some good bundles on offer that can provide you with more value for money.  These include a home phone line, discounts on mobile phones and entertainment like Foxtel and Fetch TV.  However, if you don’t need a home phone then you could potentially save around $20 per month by choosing a “naked” broadband plan.

Other things to consider are contract length (typically monthly, 12 or 24 months).  Monthly plans are a good option if you are testing out a new provider as you are free to leave at the end of the month if you’re not happy with the service.  They are also useful if you know you’ll be moving in less than 12 months.  However, these plans often include expensive set-up fees and you usually also have to pay for the modem.  Check the set-up costs before signing a contract so there are no surprises when you get your first bill.

With over 170 internet service providers in Australia, each offering more than one plan, there’s a lot of plans to compare and consider! Call us at Foxie and for a few minutes of your time, we can find the best option for you and arrange your connection.

Our internet service providers are;

  • Optus
  • Telstra
  • iiNet
  • Belong
  • iPrimus
  • Dodo
  • My Republic
  • Sumo
  • TPG

References