With the rollout of NBN finally reaching most areas around Ninderry, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what is involved with switching to the NBN once it becomes available. NBN infrastructure will mean that we will no longer be forced to use Telstra’s outdated ADSL infrastructure, and we will have the ability to access cheaper, faster, and more reliable communications systems, assuming things are done properly. Depending on your current setup, changing over should be relatively straightforward for most, but some more advanced networks may require more care and attention.
Whilst most areas are switched on at the same time, it is wise to first confirm that your address is listed as ready to connect to the NBN by clicking here
. You will also want to pay attention to the technology that will be available to you as this may influence the speeds and plans available to you. I recommend viewing this PDF for more information on what the pros and cons of each technology type are here
Before you start hunting down an NBN plan, you should decide how much data you need and what sort of speed you would like. To determine your data usage needs, look at your previous bills and see how much data you are using per month on average, and add another 30% headroom. There is no point paying extra for an unlimited plan if you are only using around 50GB of data per month on average.
In terms of speeds, if you are limited to a technology such as Fixed Wireless or Fibre to the Node, then speeds above 50/20 may not be practical as you may be unable to achieve those speeds reliably and you may be best off saving money and going for a 25/5 plan or 12/1mbit plan. 12/1 can feel a bit slow and is similar to ADSL, but is still passable for basic use and a single Full HD 1080p video stream. 50/20 is my recommendation if you frequently have several people streaming at once or plan to stream UltraHD 4K video, but 25/5 is OK for a handful of people using the internet with a couple of Full HD 1080p video streams in the background.
Online gaming isn’t really affected by bandwidth, and only really requires a stable and responsive connection, which can be ensured by a router that features Quality of Service (also known as QOS – more on this later). That said, faster is always better, and even 100/40 is a great choice if you are a demanding user and budget allows. If you are wanting to backup or upload files and data online, keep in mind that upload speeds can be very important as well, so don’t forget to take that into consideration. Most service providers allow you to upgrade and downgrade plans without penalty so don’t sweat it too much if you are unsure what to start with.
Choosing a Service Provider
As far as service providers go, there are four main providers that I tend to recommend, depending on your needs and budget:
1. Aussie Broadband
3. Future Broadband
Aussie Broadband are my typical top recommendation for their proven track record for quality of service and high quality support. They tend to be slightly more expensive than some other providers, but they back it up with excellent overall performance, reliability and customer service. Superloop and Future Broadband are strong second choices and are direct competitors to Aussie Broadband, and offer an all round good experience, with attractive pricing. Exetel also deserve a mention for their awesome value unlimited 50/20 plans and $10 a month unlimited voice service, at the expense of slightly reduced evening speeds compared to my other recommendations, and only average support capabilities.
Whilst there are many great providers out there, there are some that I recommend avoiding. These companies tend to suffer from high congestion, poor customer service, restrictive hardware policies on modems and network equipment (essentially forcing customers to use their supplied modem), unfriendly contract lengths or poor pricing. These include:
1. Telstra / Belong / Foxtel Broadband
3. Southern Phone
4. iPrimus / Commander / Dodo
6. Tangerine Telecom
As far as plans that I recommend, these are some that are popular choices (valid at the time of writing):
Aussie Broadband – Standard NBN 25/5, 100GB Data – $55 per month
Aussie Broadband – Standard NBN 25/5, 500GB Data – $64 per month
Aussie Broadband – Standard Plus NBN 50/20, Unlimited Data – $79 per month
Aussie Broadband – Premium NBN 100/40, Unlimited Data – $99 per month
Superloop NBN – Standard Plus NBN 50/20, Unlimited Data – $75 per month
Superloop NBN – Premium NBN 100/40, Unlimited data – $89 per month
Future Broadband – Basic NBN 12/1, 500GB Data, $49 per month
Future Broadband – Standard NBN 25/5, Unlimited Data – $69 per month
Exetel – Standard NBN 50/20, Unlimited Data – $64 per month
(Please note we are affiliated with Aussie Broadband and Exetel, but this doesn’t affect our recommendations whatsoever).
Some honarable mentions include:
- Vodafone NBN – Decent value plans, included modem has a complimentary 4G backup, but not recommended if you require a voice service
- TPG / iiNet / Internode / Westnet (if you don’t require a phone service for business)
Voice / Phone Services
Once you have settled on a plan, you will also need to decide what to do with your existing landline phone. If you don’t really use it, there’s nothing wrong with ditching your home phone and using a mobile – this is often the simplest option for home users. Alternatively, the NBN providers mentioned above do offer reasonably priced voice plans, and these would work well for most users. This is also the simplest option if you currently use ADSL, as both the phone service and ADSL connection need to be moved together in order to avoid interruptions to internet connectivity.
Some people will find better value in a third party voice service provider. Whilst I recommend spending your first month with a voice service from your provider when moving from ADSL. I typically recommend SIPTalk or Faktortel for small businesses as they tend to provide the best value for money whilst offering advanced features such as voicemail to email and call redirection. Pricing is very good provided you are not making huge volumes of outgoing calls. You can find their rates on their website: https://siptalk.com.au/plans.php
There’s a few SIPTalk plans that are popular:
1. Virtual number redirection – (via SIPTalk), typically $2-15 a month depending on usage
This the most basic VOIP plan available on the market. Rather than have an actual phone, your existing home or business phone number is ported SIPTalk, and you pay for each call to be redirected to a mobile phone. If you only ever receive infrequent calls on your home phone, this is the simplest setup available. That said, if you receive a lot of calls, this may become expensive as you pay for each redirected call. You will need to use your mobile phone for all outgoing calls.
2. Basic on-premises setup – (via SIPTalk), typically $5 to $10 a month depending on outgoing calls.
Requires a simple smartphone-style home phone, or Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) which starts at $49. Connects to your existing network via Wi-Fi.
3. Advanced on-premises setup – (via SIPTalk) – typically anywhere from $5 a month to $50 a month depending on your needs. This is for business users – talk to us for details.
For almost all scenarios, I recommend that you don’t purchase any network equipment from your service provider. Whilst their offerings are not bad per se, there is a good chance you already have equipment that will work just fine on the NBN. We also stock better value options that will provide greater performance and reliability compared to what your service provider can offer, and you don’t have to worry about your Wi-Fi Modem / Router being locked down by the provider. We have routers for as low as $39 and VDSL modems for as low as $75 – talk to us for more details.
2. Existing Email Addresses:
An important consideration that needs to be made is the fact that with most changes of providers, you will either lose, or need to pay for any email addresses that your previous provider has supplied. In the example of Telstra, your Bigpond address can be retained for a year after switching away from them at no cost, and after that it costs $75 a year. I highly recommend that all users move to a more practical email service such as Gmail.com, which will be free forever, has much better features and security, and has the ability to import your existing email accounts from your ISP. Once you use a service such as Gmail.com or Outlook.com mail as your primary account, then you no longer need to worry about this.
3. Backup Power / 4G Services
If you require as much uptime as possible, including the ability for internet and phone services to continue functioning during a blackout, you will require some additional equipment for this to work. To avoid power interruptions, we recommend a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) which is essentially a power unit which will keep your equipment powered for approximately 1-2 hours in the case of a power outage. These start at around $125, and higer capacity power units are available depending on needs nad load.
In terms of 4G LTE backup services, we have routers capable of providing automatic failover in the case of an NBN service disruption for $99, with ongoing costs for backup mobile data starting at around $8 per month, depending on requirements.
This should hopefully sum up everything you need to know for the meantime. If you have any other questions, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on (07) 54084607 and we’ll be happy to help!