How to compare broadband deals
When you’re trying to choose between broadband deals, here’s what matters.
🏎 Speed and connection type
This is the number one comparison point for any connection. How fast you can download and upload data will affect how quickly you can transfer files and stream videos, as well as how well your Internet works when many people are using it at once. It’s also what you have the least control over because it will depend on your connection type and location.
While fibre is becoming the new normal in the broadband world, you may not have it available at your place. Depending on where you live, your only option might be ADSL, VDSL or wireless, but connectivity is improving throughout the country thanks to the government rollout of Ultra-fast Broadband and rural broadband.
If you are not sure what is available at your house, you can enter your address into the National Broadband Map to find the best connection type possible. Not all providers cater for all connection types, but you can get an idea of which companies are able to supply broadband to your home from this website.
While your maximum monthly data in gigabytes is still important, the amount of data we use is higher and so you’re more likely to want to go unlimited for your home Internet plan. However, some providers have an “acceptable usage policy” if you’re running rampant. If you’re a lighter user, you can save by calculating how much data you’re likely to use. Generally, though, speed matters more. All the data in the world is useless if your connection crawls.
📜 Contract details
Broadband plans are offered on contracts, usually 12 or 24 months, but month-to-month casual plans are becoming increasingly popular. Month-to-month or open-term contracts are beneficial for those that are unable to commit to a longer term, perhaps if they are moving house or overseas in the near future, or who just want the flexibility to be able to change providers when they want.
When it comes to cost, you should always check the minimum total amount you’ll have to pay for a given plan. A longer-term contract may have a lower monthly cost but you’ll be stuck paying it out in its entirety even if you decide it’s not suitable. Early exit fees can be hundreds of dollars, and since you’ve signed a contract, you are legally required to pay these charges.
Does a modem come free with the plan? Or do you need to pay for one upfront? Many longer-term broadband deals come with a free modem, but if you are signing up for an open-term plan, it is likely that you’ll need to purchase your modem or lease it for an additional monthly cost.
You will also need to factor in if there are any installation costs applicable. Standard installation is often free for fibre and copper, but additional charges can apply for non-standard installations, and equipment costs for satellite broadband can be on the pricey side.
🎁 Signup bonuses
When browsing broadband deals, you’ll notice that there are often signup bonuses on offer. Some providers will give you free access to Netflix or Amazon Prime Video when you sign up on a 12- or 24-month contract, or entice you with a free gift like a new smart TV. You can also see deals that offer an account credit or half-priced broadband for a period of time. Other providers will give you a discount if you bundle your Internet plan with other services such as a mobile plan or energy.
Before you jump at these attractive broadband deals, check that you will actually save money over the course of the contract before making a commitment.