Internet access is a basic necessity in business, perhaps even of existence in civilisation. So it is important to carefully consider your contract to receive internet access services.
A recent survey of ISP use by ISP Below, found that “Around 90% of respondents say they would be lost without the internet. The majority rely on it for directions and nearly 60% look for places to have dinner or take a date. Almost a third check health symptoms online, and 80% head there first for cooking advice.”
What does home internet access cost in Australia?
Here’s learning and links from my personal search for an economical home access plan.
Much like getting a mobile phone service, most broadband plans involve:
selecting the nature or quality of service, eg ADSL2+ broadband interest service;
monthly fixed access fee, eg $59.00 per month;
monthly cap or quota (which meters downloads and sometimes uploads too), eg 100GB a month; and
potentially, monthly additional fees or speed of access slow down in the event a quota is exceeded.
In the typical online sales pitch of ISPs, receiving less emphasis are additional pre-requisites and charges for:
one-off broadband modem, from $0 to hundreds of dollars depending on the deal and device functionality;
monthly, phone line rental, of say $10-$20;
potentially, equipment set-up or installation, say $0 to $129 or more;
optionally, monthly phone use charges; and
optionally, one-off specialist device add-ons such as media hubs, typically hundreds of dollars.
Hence for a typical household recurring charges are very rarely less than about $60 a month and additional costs either paid upfront or over the life of a contract can be from $0 (when there are special deals) or several hundred dollars. All up in a year and depending on your plan the costs can be near or more than $1,000 a year.
To drill down on how you can plan to save, let’s turn to links discussing variables for plans. They shape the ISP contract you should seek to minimise monthly ISP service charges.
How much broadband do you need?
Horror stories are common of extra charges for exceeding bandwidth allowances, though ISPs don’t penalize now and generally just slow speed of access down to say 256kbs for the rest of the billing month. Still, anecdotal evidence suggests that people generally buy more bandwidth (ie their quota cap or allowance) than they need. Additionally, most people don’t remember their plan quota.
How do you select a broadband provider?
This question involves numerous sub-questions as answered more fully by links below. There are issues as regards contract lock in and termination penalties. To save, carefully consider the plan for the future, it’s the back end costs that raise the whole-of-life cost.
What factors affect broadband speed?
This page sets out factors to consider, and with useful links:
Ultimately for myself I selected an arrangement that is economical upfront and over the long term. It has a month to month contract (ie not for a long term), requires no set-up fee, and involves a $1 fee for a self-installed modem to be delivered by a courier.
In financial terms my commitment is a credit card payment of $1 today and then $70 on the first of next month. For my plan it was important to have only a mid-range modem, low costs short and long term, and flexibility to terminate the contract if my personal and family needs change.
To get similarly satisfying results, planning by you is a key need. As I've learned as a contract lawyer for 30 years, the majority of the value from a contract is determined pre-contract. Planning is a priority before contracting.