I'm renting - what's the best broadband plan for me?

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Given the nasty price tags on houses– especially those around the inner cities, many of us are left fighting to find a rental property we can hope to spend a number of months or (if we’re lucky) years in. Renters have different needs when it comes to choosing a suitable broadband plan, and we have taken into account these concerns below.

The key word here is short term. When you’re renting, a 24-month contract may be five rental houses down the track. While some broadband plans can be shifted to your new house, complications like relocation fees and not knowing if there’ll already be broadband access in your next rental makes this option seem overly complicated and impractical.

Other items lurking on the minds of renters when it comes to choosing a broadband plan is ensuring technicians aren’t breaking down walls to install gangly wires, and finding a plan which doesn’t cost more than the monthly rent. Many renters may also want to do without the home phone when there are alternatives like mobile phones, Skype and Facebook. In this case, a cheap bundle with no call inclusions or a Naked DSL plan may be the best option.

What do I need to keep in mind when choosing a plan?


Contract length

Most renters want plans which are six months or less, sometimes 12 for those more daring. Bear in mind short plans give you the ability to continue on a month-by-month casual basis once the contract term has ended (with no additional set-up fees) till you decide to cancel altogether.

Shorter contracts equal lower set-up fees, so it’s best to opt for longer if you can. However, the difference in set-up costs is nothing compared to some of the cancellation fees lurking out there so it could be a case of better safe than sorry.

Inclusions

This of course means the number of gigabytes included each month, and whether both uploads as well as downloads count toward your monthly allowance. Some plans also come with a home phone for a similar cost, as well as unmetered content such as ABC iView, FetchTV and online radio from certain websites. Some Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) also offer webspace, a static IP address and a number of free email addresses.

Availability

This comes down to where your rental property is, and the infrastructure which is running through it. For an ADSL or ADSL2+ broadband connection, you will need Telstra’s copper lines running into your home (however they do not necessarily need to be active). Some properties may have infrastructure issues such as being on a pair gain system or on a RIM, which means that only ADSL1 is available. If you have copper lines running into your home and they’re in reasonable condition, a technician won’t need to drill any tears or cavities into your home.

ADSL2+ is a faster and usually cheaper option than ADSL1. So why bother with ADSL1? Well, ideally you won’t have to. However, ADSL1 may be the only option for customers with infrastructure issues or who live in a regional or rural area. ADSL1 can still run at fast speeds, however often you will need to pay for the maximum speed you can get. ADSL1 customers will also need to have an active home phone line to get an ADSL broadband connection.

Cost per month

Most advertised plans include a cost per month, and most providers (apart from Dodo) have eliminated excess usage fees. Unless you have a home phone and you use it to make calls, you shouldn’t need to pay more than the basic cost per month. Plans however, do come with cancellation or relocation costs which are penalty fees for breaking your contract.

Hidden (and not so hidden) additional costs

These may include set-up fees, modem fees, call charges (for customers with a home phone), paper billing fees (why not switch to e-billing?) and credit card surcharges (usually only applicable to AMEX and Diners Club holders).

The plans

Below, we’ve included short, big and cheap broadband plans specifically with the Aussie renter in mind.

ADSL1 bundles

The following providers can connect ADSL1 broadband without you needing to first connect your home phone line with Telstra:

iiNet Home-2 50GB (peak) + 50GB (off peak) Up to 1500Kbps $79.90 (including phone line rental) month-by-month contract.

Call iiNet on 1300 106 571 for more information on iiNet’s ADSL1 plans.

Dodo Regional 30GB (peak) + 70GB (off peak) Up to 1500Kbps $69.80 (including phone line rental) month-by-month contract.

Call Dodo on 1300 136 793 for more information on Dodo’s ADSL1 plans.

ADSL2+ bundle packages

The following providers can connect ADSL2+ broadband without you needing to first connect your home phone line up with Telstra:

TPG ADSL2+ 30GB (peak) + 70GB (off peak) $49.99 (including phone line rental) minimum six-month contract with a $129.95 set-up fee.

Call us on 1300 106 571 to find out more about TPG’s broadband plans.

Optus ADSL2+ 50GB (peak) + 70GB (off peak) $89.94 (including phone line rental) month-by-month contract with a $149 set-up fee.

Call Optus on 1300 137 897 to find out more about the Optus broadband plans.

Naked DSL

The following providers can connect Naked broadband without you needing to connect your home phone line up:

iPrimus NakedDSL Starter Plus 20GB (peak) + 20GB (off peak) $49.95
, minimum 12-month contract with a $99 set-up fee.

iPrimus NakedDSL Unlimited $69.00, 0-month contract with a $149 set-up fee.

Call iPrimus on 1300 137 794 to find out more about their Naked broadband plans.

Internode Easy Naked $59.95, 0-month contract with a $129 set-up fee.

Call us on 1300 106 571 to find out more about Internode’s Naked plans.

iiNet Naked Home-1 50GB (peak) + 50GB (off peak) $69.95, month-by-month contract with a $150 connection fee.

Call iiNet on 1300 106 571 for more information on iiNet’s Naked DSL plans.