Internode. Believe the hype?
- Internode has topped the Roy Morgan award several times over
- Is all the hype well deserved?
- What does Internode offer that other service providers don't?
Internode. You’ve probably heard of them by now. If you know a friend that’s with them, then you’ve probably already been preached to as well. So what’s all the hype about?
Well Internode is currently rated the #1 internet service provider in the country based on the the Roy Morgan customer service award (seen here). They’ve been rated #1 every month this year, topped the poll for best ISP provider for 2012 and 2011. So they’re doing something right.
Internode was founded all the way back in the early 1990s. While everyone was off skateboarding in plaid shirts and learning the true meaning of Pearl Jam; Simon Hackett was busy building the foundations of what would become one of Australia’s highest rated internet service providers.
There’s some interesting aspects of Internode’s history that epitomize their success:
They were the first provider in Australia to offer ADLS2/ADSL2+ which they launched in 2005 even before Telstra had the technology to do it.
2001 marked Internode’s first regional access internet services starting with the Coorong in South Australia with a custom technology. They have now expanded to cover the Yorke Peninsula area with a similar platform proving that delivering internet in regional areas is not only sustainable but can actually profitable Providing internet to regional areas has always been a big part of Internode. With current services in Alice Springs, rural Tasmania and the Northern Territory, Internode is a working pretty damn hard to make sure we can enjoy the benefits of reliable internet.
On the 1 of July 2012, Internode launched their Games network supplying unmetered gaming content (Media, Blogs, Updates and a Steam Content Server) to their customers. Since it’s launch, Games.on.net has become the most popular gaming network from an Internet provider in Australia (based on the peak number of players at any given time)
Beyond their accomplishments they maintain such a high rating from customers by sorting out service issues with tact and timeliness. They fact their customer service is based in Australia probably helps that push that score up to. My personal experience with Internode (have been a customer of Internode for quite some time so please pardon my bias) has been excellent, they literally went out of their way to get me connected when I moved house and had issue with ports in the local exchange.
Founder Simon Hackett can be found commenting frequently on Whirlpool for those looking to catch him or his strong voiced opinions on Telstra and the government. For those looking to check out Internode’s plans give them a call on 1300 734 304.
Simon Hackett rocking the faded jeans and rose coloured glasses. May he live long and prosper.
Internode tops Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Polls
- 2nd Year in a Row
- Focus is on the customer
- Expensive upfront - viable alternatives?
For the umpteenth time in the last decade, Adelaide-based ISP Internode has topped the customer satisfaction surveys carried about Roy Morgan, a research and polling firm. This is the second year in a row and eighth time in the last decade that Internode has won this award.
Internode grew out of the network engineering lab of the University of SA in the 1990’s, the brainchild of founder Simon Hackett. It was the first ISP to install independent DSLAMs into Telstra exchanges, bypassing Telstra to provide as close to a direct connection to its customers as could be achieved at the time.
Throughout the 2000’s, Internode remained fiercely private and independent, offering something of a boutique service to its proudly nerdish fan base. All customer service and support was based in Australia, with no time limits on calls and an acknowledgement that sometimes, the customer has maybe already done some basic troubleshooting.
Despite their high prices, Internode expanded to provide direct services to about 200 exchanges, but ran into a wall- further expansion would require investors, and that meant going public. By that time, major rivals iiNet, Optus and TPG had networks twice the size, and Hackett openly worried that the National Broadband Network (NBN) would make any investment moot. In December 2011, Internode instead merged with longtime rival iiNet, who had a similar customer-friendly culture.
Internode prides itself on delivering a superior experience in several areas. First and foremost is their customer service, which has remained independent of their new parent iiNet (who use a mix of local and offshored talent) and stayed firmly in Australia. Technical support is renowned for being particularly well trained and patient.
Beyond that, Internode is often the first to implement the latest and greatest technologies. They were the first to offer Naked DSL (a fixed line connection with no phone component) to satisfy the growing demand for that service, and they were the first to build DSLAMs using later technologies like Annex M to boost upload speeds. Internode were also the first to build a DSLAM in an independent cabinet outside of a Telstra exchange, to better service a portion of a local population that were otherwise too far.
<Note: a DSLAM is a Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer: the big mainframe where copper phone lines meet and are connected to a fibre optic feed carrying those connections back out to the wider network, and the internet. They serve as local connection points for subscribers for areas of up to 30,000 homes>.
Beyond these steps, Internode typically is keen to consistently deliver the benefits of growth to their customers. So every few months, they might surprise customers by boosting the amount of data on their plans with no extra charges – just the result of adding more capacity on their end.
When it comes to the rollout of new standards, like IPV6 (a domain numbering system that will be made universal in the next decade as the old system, IPV4, is about to run out of valid addresses) Internode often beats even Telstra to the punch. They also pride themselves on selling only the very best hardware for in the home, rather than relying on cheap modems and routers.
Internode was amongst the first to offer alternatives to Foxtel, such as Fetch TV (a Pay TV service using the web connection as the means of transmission). They have also jumped onboard not only with the NBN, but are also often the only major ISP available in many new estates that have independently laid fibre to the home through companies like Opticomm and Opennetworks. They havealso been quick to deliver services for difficult areas like South Brisbane and Point Cook in WA – established “Brownfields” sites where Telstra has had to prematurely replace copper lines with fibre lines.
Simon Hackett remains on the board of iiNet and still has a hand in directing Internode; he also remains a vocal spokesperson on behalf of the Competitive Carriers Coalition (ie. everyone who is not Telstra) and a highly regarded commentator on Australian telecommunications as a whole.
Is Internode for me?
Internode has been expanded to the wider iiNet network, which is Australia’s equal 2nd largest (with TPG) for DSL connections. They service almost all metropolitan exchange, and many regional exchanges in WA and SA.
Their prices, especially for setup, can be quite high- they don’t cut any corners, and that leaves very little room for freebies like free hardware and free connections.
If you are churning from another carrier, for either home phone or home phone and broadband, then they’re quite competitive – especially as they offer 0 month contracts.
If you’re looking for a brand new connection – requiring the activation of a vacant (unused) landline and new hardware, then Internode can be very pricey upfront – as much as $400+, when factoring 2 months service fee, connection fees, modem costs and line connection costs.
MyNetFone (1300 736 417) are an especially viable alternative for Naked DSL, with much cheaper setup fees and reasonable 12 month contracts (includes a free wifi modem). Their service and support is not quite up to the same quality, but it is all based in Sydney.
TPG (1300 106 571) is no match when it comes to customer service and support, but is much cheaper and offers much more data for your money – and offers truly superior value for those looking to use a landline as well. Beware through – they have 6 month contracts, but they also don’t like to give away free connections and free modems.
Club Telco (1300 138 155) offers 0 month contracts and cheap setup fees, as well as cheap rates, almost universal service to any area, and cheap hardware. But they are definitely in the ‘best effort’ category when it comes to service and support.
For more details on Internode, or to find another suitable provider for your needs, call us on 1300 106 571!
Internode extend Off-Net Bundling availability – best option for regional customers?
- Australia based customer service and technical support
- No Unlimited option
- For mid range users, plans are now comparable to competition
Internode has announced that a $20 bundling discount for customers outside their own network range will be extended to almost everyone, making them quite suddenly one of the best options available for regional and rural customers.
What is Off-Net?
Off-net is a term that regional and rural customers come up against from time to time, that only makes sense in context. The term generally refers to when your particular Internet Service Provider (ISP) cannot connect your line to the wholesale network of their choice (which is generally either their own network, or the Optus network) and have to fall back on Telstra’s wholesale network, which is many times bigger than the second biggest (which is TPG or iiNet, depending on which metric you use).
Off-Net prices are generally the only available option in many remote areas, but also in suburban areas where new estates have been built. Most cheaper networks won’t connect to these areas, because the amount of customers that can be reached is not worth the investment to drag their lines to the area and set up a connection point at the telephone exchange.
These plans are more expensive for the same reason that BigPond, Telstra’s retail internet arm, is more expensive than the rest of the market: because their network services unprofitable areas, the plans are higher across the board to ‘cross-subsidize’ the hard to reach customers.
In a press release, Internode Product Manager Jim Kellett said the extended reach for the monthly $20 Easy Reach bundling discount was great news for regional customers. “After the success of last month's improvements to our Easy Reach plans, we decided to go one step better and make the Easy Reach bundling discount available nationwide,” he said.
“As many of the exchanges that benefit from this move are in regional areas, that’s great news for our customers who are located outside metropolitan areas.”
Internode Reach Plans
Internode, which is generally a premium priced ISP, trades on its excellent reputation for customer service, technical support and customer engagement through social media and the like. Everyone, from the CEO to the founder and down from there, is highly technical and regularly participates in online forums and Facebook. The company strives for excellence in service delivery and maintaining an Australian-based work force, even if that prices them ahead of the competition.
Internode has dubbed their off-net plans as ‘Reach’ plans, with the same idea – reaching beyond their own resources to offer a workable solution for customers not connected to their own network. Internode Reach plans were previously price-comparable to the likes of TPG and Primus, but only if customers could get access to their bundled line rental + broadband pricing, which most couldn’t.
Previously, customers in regional areas who wanted to avoid BigPond (and their longer contracts) had to choose between Club Telco (1300 138 155) and Dodo (1300 136 793), two budget operators who offer flexibility and great prices, but often at the cost of reliable customer service.
Internode 60GB Bundle - $80/month, 150Gb = $100/month
Club Telco Unlimited Bundle (Zone 3) - $90/month
Dodo Unlimited Bundle (Zone 3) - $90/month
On first blush, this makes the Internode deal look relatively weak compared to the competition – but the difference in reputation is vast. Internode has consistently been rated by Roy Morgan research, by the TIO, by Money Magazine and by general reputation as the leader in customer satisfaction in Broadband for the last decade.
Dodo, meanwhile, has consistently driven in more TIO complaints than any other ISP, except for Telstra, which has about 15 times as many customers. Just this week, Product Review used independent consumer reviews to rate Dodo as Australia’s worst brand – not just in telecommunications, but in everything.
So while Internode’s pricing for regional customers is still a tad beyond the competition, when factoring in their customer service it might represent the best opportunity for these customers to enjoy good service without paying well over the odds. So long as they don’t need unlimited data.
There are ways to get the benefits of good customer service and good prices for DSL broadband when outside metro areas, but they usually require some creative workarounds.
Naked DSL is unavailable on the Telstra wholesale network, despite repeated attempts by the ACCC to get Telstra to provide it. But you can get regular phone+broadband in a configuration where the phone is as cheap as possible, so you can disregard it altogether. But it’s hard to do as a bundle; you’ll have to do it through two separate companies:
1. Call Telstra on 13 22 00 and have your line activated with Homeline Budget ($22.95/month).
2. Call MyNetFone on 1300 421 046 to get an Economy plan (200GB for $50) or Standard (500GB for $60).
MyNetFone has an all-Sydney based customer contact centre, low setup fees and plenty of data, making them an attractive option for people willing to forego a bundle. Altogether, the above would cost you $73 or $83 a month – cheaper even than a bundled phone and broadband deal. But this is strictly recommended for customers who don’t even plan on using the phone service.
For more details or to see what’s available in your area, call us on 1300 106 571 today!
Best deals this week – MyNetFone, Internode and Dodo
- MyNetFone - best for Naked DSL
- Dodo - Best for free hardware
- Internode - best for customer service
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) shouldn’t have much to offer during the Christmas shopping boom, seeing as how they sell what’s essentially a utility connection and not a product that can be easily wrapped up as a gift. But with everyone in a buying mood, they certainly try their best to get in on the action.
Dodo – XBOX 360 + XBOX Live Gold Subscription - $80/month incl unlimited data + line rental
Call 1300 136 793
Dodo’s current promotion actually does have some hardware involved. For what amounts to $20 extra per month on their usual unlimited bundle, you get an XBOX 360, a Kinect motion sensor kit, copies of Disneyland Adventures and Kinect Adventures, 25 months of XBOX Gold Live online gaming service, and a copy of either Sesame Street (for kids) or Halo 4 (for big kids).
As for the broadband, you get Unlimited ADSL2+ (no limits on downloads or uploads), a standard phone service and free connection on a 24 month contract. The one caveat – no free modem. If you have a modem from a previous ADSL connection, then you can probably use that: otherwise you would need to purchase a modem separately.
Overall, this is a pretty good deal if you were looking to surprise the kids/partner with an XBOX anyway. Even if you’re not using it for games, an XBOX opens up lots of other services, most notably Foxtel – which can be delivered via XBOX with a broadband connection.
MyNetFone – Free Wi-Fi Modem on 12 month contract with plans 200GB and above
Call 1300 421 046
MyNetFone should be getting a lot more press. They’re focused on delivering Naked DSL (ie. fixed-line broadband with no standard telephone service) and on finding a reasonable solution to every other ‘bubble’ in the market. For example: any provider offering tons of data for little money, will also require a steep setup fee OR a long contract. Providers who offer free modems and a free connection generally charge more per month and give you less data.
MyNetFone have a pretty decent mid-way for both problems. For $60/month, you get 500GB data – 250 peak/250 off peak. The connection fee is only $49, the contract is 12 months only and you get a free Wi-Fi modem.
They can also deliver some excellent VoIP solutions, which is really their core business. On the above plan, you can swap the free modem for free calls for a year – otherwise their phone plans start from $20 a month for 200 free calls (local/national) and 200 free calls to mobiles as well.
Internode Summer SIM Giveaway/150GB Naked Special/Eve Promotion/$99 Bundle
Call 1300 106 571
Internode trades on its superior, all-Australian based technical support and customer service, which has been rated at or near the top of the industry for over a decade now. It is, however, less prone to offering deals and promotions, preferring to never cut corners that would jeopardize its gold-plated technical prowess.
Since their takeover by rival iiNet in late 2011, Internode have had more scope to offer new services and deals. The first big departure is to become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) meaning that they can offer low-cost, high value SIM cards using an existing mobile network (usually Optus) without having to build their own.
Internode’s NodeMobile plans are surprisingly excellent value, with a $20 plan giving you $450 credit and 1.5GB of data – or $40 giving you $750 credit and 3GB data. When taking up a broadband and phone bundle for 24 months, you get the $20 plan free for six months (Summer SIM Promotion).
Naked Broadband is meant to save people money, by eliminating line rental as part of the cost of a broadband connection – but people are usually surprised to find that it costs the same anyway (for example – a broadband connection might cost $50 + $30 line rental, whereas the same Naked DSL plan costs $80).
Internode is keen on getting customers onto Naked Broadband, so they’ve started a promotion whereby a $60 Naked plan, usually coming with 30GB data, will now come with 150GB. This compares very well to a bundled phone and internet plan, which is still $60 for 30GB.
For customers in South Australia, Internode is running an ‘Eve’ promotion, an answer to Telstra’s recent acquisition of Adam Internet, a regional SA-only ISP. The Eve promotion gets you a $50 credit, per month, on either the 150GB Naked plan or the $80, 200GB bundled plan, when connecting for a 24 month contract. Connection fee is waived as well.
Last but not least, Internode has started offering a $99 “Four-Play” (har) bundle, including 200GB data, NodeMobile SIM card, Home Phone and Fetch TV, an internet-based Pay TV service. Available with free connection on a 24 month contract.
For more details on these and other offers, call us on 1300 106 571!
Internode is an Australian owned, national internet service provider (ISP) offering ADSL1, ADSL2+ and Naked DSL services to most of Australia. The Adelaide-based ISP also offers a NodePhone VoIP service for cheap national, international and mobile calls over the internet. Internode offers free technical support and sales advice from its in-house call centre in Adelaide which is essential for an inexperienced user. Connection speed is shaped to 64kbps once the monthly download quota is used but additional data blocks are available for purchase if required. All plans include a spam-filter, virus-blocking software and a wide range of unmetered content as well as up to four email addresses. There is free setup available on all plans when taking a 24 month contract.
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