Hidden Broadband Costs
When considering an application for a broadband internet connection it is important to consider additional costs associated with setting up your service. These additional costs are not always emphasised in advertisements for broadband connections. Below are some of the most common costs associated with an ADSL, ADSL2+, Mobile broadband and Naked DSL connection.
All ADSL and ADSL2+ connections require an active home phone service to run. This means you will still need to pay a monthly line rental to the home phone service provider. In many cases your broadband provider will take over the home phone service as well, offering a discount on broadband costs.
On a Naked DSL service you will need an active home phone line on application. This will require you to pay any connection costs as well as the first month’s line rental to a provider on the Telstra network. Once the Naked DSL application is successful a technician is also required to turn off the voice component of the service.
Line Activation fees
Most providers will request a line activation charge when connecting a new broadband service. This charge applies to any ADSL and ADSL2+ service and pays for a technician to install broadband codes on your home phone line at the local exchange. Charges vary with different providers and are often waved on longer contract commitments.
Naked DSL setup fees are generally higher than ADSL or ADSL2+ activation charges. This is generally because of the additional cost incurred when a technician returns to the exchange to switch off the voice component of the service. On an Exetel Naked plan, activation costs are $40 once you have an active home phone line. On a TPG Naked plan, there is a $149.95 setup fee on a 6 month contract or $79.95 on a 4 month contract.
Mobile broadband plans do not generally have any setup fees as the broadband connect is through the mobile phone network rather than along the copper line to your house. If you decide to purchase a mobile broadband modem or dongle at the beginning of the contract this can cost up to $200 dollars. Most providers will offer the option to pay off the modem throughout the contract period, as an additional monthly cost.
Most providers will not include modem costs when connecting to an ADSL. ADSL2+ or Naked DSL plans. Instead broadband modems are offered at an additional cost. iiNet and Netspace both offer discounted modems when signing up to longer contract periods. The advantage of purchasing a modem form your broadband provider is that you will receive full technical support. You can also purchase a modem form elsewhere but you will need to know how to set it up yourself.
Most providers of mobile broadband plans will offer the option to pay and extra monthly fee for the mobile broadband modem. You can also generally bring a mobile broadband modem from another provider or purchase a new modem outright at the beginning of the contract period.
Excess Download Fees
On most broadband plans the connection speed is shaped once the monthly download quota is reached, rather than any additional charge. However, some providers charge an excess usage fee once the monthly download limit is reached, keeping broadband speeds as fast as possible regardless of usage. iiNet, TPG, iPrimus and Netspace all offer speed shaping on all broadband plans meaning monthly costs are fixed. Exetel, Dodo and Bigpond will charge for excess download usage on some plans and you will need to be aware of this potential cost when choosing an appropriate download limit.
Conversely, most mobile broadband plans will charge for excess usage over the monthly download quota. This is generally charged at between 15-20c/MB. iPrimus does not charge for excess usage on its mobile broadband plans, instead option to shape speed for the remainder of the billing period.
When entering into a broadband contract it is important to consider how long you plan to stay at the current address. There is little point saving a few dollars now for taking out a longer contract when you will be hit with large relocation fees. Relocation costs vary between internet service providers but will generally incur between $100 and $200 disconnection and reconnection fees. You will need to consider this cost if you plan to relocate in the near future.
When ADSL codes are installed on your home phone line, they interfere with voice calls. In order to prevent this, ADSL filters must be installed between every appliance and the wall socket. This includes phone handsets, fax machines and back-to-base alarm systems. You can purchase filters from most stores or internet providers at an additional cost. Generally, if you have more than 3 appliances on the phone line it is advised to have a central filter installed by a qualified technician. A central filter will be connected where your phone line enters the house, leaving one wall socket unfiltered for the ADSL modem. A technician visit is generally more that $100 and can be an additional cost when setting up a broadband connection.