• Optus is on top overall as the fastest provider for fixed-line broadband boasting of an average download speed of 24.12Mbps and average upload speed of 8.48Mbps.
  • Across the NBN technologies, FTTN (fibre-to-the-node) connections were found to be the worst connections for not being able to deliver satisfactorily its promised speed.
  • There are three categories of different ISPs: Low Cost ISPs, Mid-Range ISPs, and Carrier Grade ISPs.

There are approximately 143 NBN providers in Australia at present and with that number also comes different Internet packages and pricing. You’d be so impressed with each ISP’s deals you’d be confused which one to choose.

Experts agree that Optus is on top overall as the fastest provider for fixed-line broadband boasting of an average download speed of 24.12Mbps and average upload speed of 8.48Mbps. Next in line are Telstra, TPG, iiNet and iPrimus. Others also consider Extel, Aussie Broadband, and Dodo as deliverers of the highest speed.

On the other hand, across the NBN technologies, FTTN (fibre-to-the-node) connections were found to be the worst connections for not being able to deliver satisfactorily its promised speed. So, what do you get out of this information? In this digital era, the Internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Choosing the right broadband plan for your home could be the most important decision to make in your life.

Overall customer satisfaction, connection speed, value for money, among others are just some of the factors that should form part of the basis of the decision you’re going to make. To help you out, below are three categories of different ISPs and perhaps, the basis for why or why you should not choose a certain brand.

Low Cost ISPs

Honest opinions of experts reveal that providers offering cheap broadband deals always have their customer service and support outsourced. This is because outsourcing offers cheap labour plus a ton of other benefits to the business owner.

For the record, outsourcing customer service is a pretty sensitive issue especially when it pertains to communication and technology. Australians have a peculiar accent that is hard to learn by non-native speakers. Misunderstanding over an attempt to fix an Internet issue can be stressful both for the Aussie and the person at the end of the line because of language differences.

As to prices of their plans, they are usually lower but with corresponding restricted payment options, limited additional services and not-so-generous contract terms which are relatively shorter in length. Reports show that the average Australian household spends $69/month for their NBN plan while back in 2012, it was $50-$60 with the low cost providers. So, if the telco was spending about $30 or more per line in 2012, there’s still roughly $20-$30 left to pay for the wages of employees, cost of maintenance, management, advertising and so on.

Clearly, such types of providers take so much effort keeping their costs down. Therefore, don’t expect to be greeted by a cheerful online presence or get a special contract term that offers free devices.

Cheap providers are known for their notorious overselling of networks. This implies that at most, 50 people could be using one data connection all at once. Naturally with the recent upgrades, telcos may now be improving their systems but it will always be like “the lower the price, the more likely that companies are splitting up their bandwidth for more and more users.

Mid-Range ISPs

Noticeably, there’s not much difference between low cost and mid-range providers. Where low cost companies struggle to minimise finances, mid-range telcos on the other hand are quite generous when it comes to investing in their staff training and infrastructure. And not surprising, their service delivery is way far better.

Also, there’s such a thing as striking a balance between the quick-and-dirty technique and the white glove treatment. These ISP types shower their clients with special attention and care especially in the aspect of communication. They offer low charges for very minimal additional services and still outsource their service and support offshore.

Additionally, they impose better standards, they rather buy their own super-modern equipment than rent off a larger company, plus more other perks. These may entail provision of free equipment if the contract is longer, offer of local call packages or else, if they don’t have a connection in a certain location, they may rent from someone else just to be able to deliver service to customers in the area, acting as service providers in between. More often than not, their way of attracting customers is by offering shorter contract lengths, not by promoting special bundle deals or slashing their price.

Carrier Grade ISPs

When we say carrier grade, expect it to be highly reliable as well as proven and tested in all its capabilities. Any carrier grade system offers only the best in all areas - performance, manageability and all, plus it is so readily available “you’ll never be left wanting,” so to speak. But alas, these are high cost providers! They spend millions of dollars to build their state-of-the-art infrastructure and their own equipment. Their services are par excellence.

Employees who normally see the customers face-to-face are largely based in Australia, not overseas as in the case of the first two ISP categories mentioned previously. They claim to be full-service providers offering all modes of connections, including a wide array of online services, the likes of discussion forums, newsgroups, gaming servers, and the list goes on. You’ll just be amazed at their numerous bundle choices with mobile phones, home phones and pay TV.

But of course, all these come with a price! Their most enticing offers rely heavily on the bundled services that go with longer contracts. You’d be astonished to see their lower contracts or standalone services priced twice as much as the more expensive end of the market. Experts say that while high cost providers’ plans are extremely expensive, they often give poor value per gigabyte. The good thing though, you get better consumer protection.