Internet in Australia: ADSL, ADSL2+ and Naked DSL
Setting up an internet plan in Australia is important if you are newly arrived in the country, whether you need to study, work, or just keep in touch with friends and family.
Australian internet providers use a few terms that you may not be familiar with, including Naked DSL, ADSL, ADSL2+ and mobile broadband. In addition, Australian plans are usually limited, unlike in the US or the UK where most providers offer unlimited data.
However, there is plenty of competition in the Australian broadband market, so once you have worked out what you need, you can use Compare Broadband to find the best value broadband deal.
ADSL broadband is broadband through the phone line. Speeds range from around 512kbps to 8,000kbps. The faster the plan, the higher the cost. At Compare Broadband, we recommend going for a plan with at least a speed of 1,500kbps.
ADSL plans have been phased out in many metropolitan areas, so if you live in the city you should look at ADSL2+ plans. However, in country areas, or in places with an infrastructure problem, ADSL is still the best option. You will also need to set up an active phone line in order to get an ADSL connection, and this can be with the Internet Service Provider (ISP) as part of a bundle deal, or with another provider like Telstra.
ADSL2+ broadband is through the phone line but with faster speeds than ADSL. Theoretically, ADSL2+ speeds are up to 24,000kbps. However, as the signal deteriorates over distance on a copper line, actual speeds are much lower. ADSL2+ connections are fast enough for most applications on the internet, including Skype and other VoIP services and plans are usually cheaper than ADSL.
Some ISPs also offer Naked DSL in addition to ADSL2+ services. Naked DSL is an ADSL2+ internet connection without a home phone service. It's great for people who don't use their home phone line, preferring to use a mobile phone or VoIP for calls.
Even though Naked DSL is designed for people who don't want a phone line, ISPs require you to have one before they can provide a service. Rather than attempt to set one up yourself, which would involve costs in connecting and disconnecting the line, sign up with a provider who will activate the phone line on your behalf, such as iPrimus, iiNet, Westnet or Dodo.
Don't assume this is the cheapest type of connection – make sure you compare prices with ADSL2+ bundle deals, where you sign up to a home phone service and a broadband plan from the same provider, as these deals are often cheaper.
Mobile broadband is broadband through the mobile phone towers. Mobile broadband is often called mobile wireless or 3G internet. Mobile broadband is quick to set up, does not require a landline and can be taken anywhere. This makes it perfect for short stays, travelling and using between home and the office.
However, it is slower than ADSL and ADSL2+ connections, and plans come with less data. The speed and reliability depends on coverage in a particular area.
How to choose a plan
Once you have decided which type of internet you want, you need to decide how much data you need. If you're not sure, you can use our calculator. You can then use our website to find a few plans that best meet your needs.
Important information when choosing a plan
As mentioned before, Australian internet plans are usually limited. This means that if you are on a 10GB plan and you go over 10GB in a month, your internet connection will either be slowed down or a charge for excess data will be added to your account. Make sure you understand what will happen to your plan if you go over the limit before signing up.
In addition to this limitation, many Australian ISPs also have on and off peak times. On peak times are generally during the day and the evening, while off peak times are during the night. This means that a 10GB plan could actually be a 5GB plan, with half useless unless you can set your computer to do some downloading overnight. Make sure you choose a plan with enough on peak data for your needs.
ADSL, ADSL2+ and post-paid mobile broadband plans require you to sign up to a contract. Contracts can be month-to-month, six months or longer. There is often a set-up fee, which covers the cost of connection, and in most cases you will also have to buy a modem, so make sure you factor these costs into your budget.
Compare Broadband lists over 1,000 plans from leading broadband providers in Australia. It's free for consumers to use. Once you spot a plan you like, you can either sign up online or speak directly to the provider (or our sales staff) by calling the number provided.