• False Advertising?
  • Broadband pricing explained
  • Suggested plans for regional Australia

This is a classic question, asked often by puzzled or irritated Australians: why can’t I have a broadband plan at the cheap prices advertised? You see it on billboards, find it online, and hear it on the radio: lots and lots of broadband for a cheap, cheap price. You go to get that plan and suddenly it’s doubled or even tripled in price. What is going on? Are these companies trying to rip you off? Are they false advertising?  Unfortunately no, it’s not a conspiracy; it is all part of the big complex, messy web of telecommunications here in Australia. Understanding the basics of how the broadband industry works will help you understand how broadband pricing works.

The Internet and how it works
In Australia the standard, most popular and accessible form of broadband connection used to be ADSL. Two features of ADSL that you should definitely get to know is: one, it uses the telephone line to work; and two it is not equal access to everybody. If you wrap your head around these two ideas then finding the right plan for you will be much easier.

Let’s take the first point about the telephone line and explain further. ADSL broadband works by using your telephone line. The internet comes from your telephone exchange, it travels down your telephone line and then to your house. Now, Telstra owns all telephone lines in Australia. And if you’re going to use their telephone lines you have to pay. This is where most people get tripped up. They see a cheap “internet only” plan but don’t realise they need to pay extra for telephone line rental. Even if you do not make any telephone calls you are still using the line to access broadband.

The second aspect of ADSL that confuses most people is that it is not available equally in all areas around Australia. Not every internet provider has installed their equipment or network at every single telephone exchange in Australia. The only company who has a network at each and every exchange is Telstra.

So to put all this information back into perspective. When an internet company advertises their super cheap broadband plan they can only provide it at this price if they have their own equipment or network at your telephone exchange. If they do not have their own equipment, they can often rent Telstra’s equipment to provide you with a connection. And if this is the case, you guessed it, they charge more! If the company needs to pay Telstra to give you a connection they will pass this charge onto you the consumer. Most companies call these plans their “Off-Net” plans or “Regional” plans.

That was the original ADSL. 

Eventually, the technology was upgraded to ADSL2 and ADSL2+, which offered faster speeds and higher bandwidth. ADSL only provided around 8Mbps back then, while ADSL2 had speeds of up to 12Mbps and ADSL2+ offered faster speeds of up to 24Mbps. All three versions use copper lines and are only recommended if your property is in an area where NBN is not yet available. 

The NBN rollout is officially declared completed though, so do we even need to argue?

If you want an affordable internet connection with decent speeds, better connect your home to a reliable NBN service. NBN speed tiers offer download speeds ranging from 12Mbps to 250Mbps, and even up to 1000Mbps or 1Gbps. 

NBN is literally more than a thousand fold better than the old school ADSL.

So are you just stuck paying more than everyone else?

The unfortunate situation is that broadband access is very unequal in Australia. Generally, heavily populated areas like major cities and their nearby suburbs will have plenty of choice and at cheap prices, while regional areas will have limited choice and at higher prices.

But as part of NBN Co’s commitment to provide fast internet to regional and remote areas across the country, access to a wide range of cheaper and reliable internet plans that suit your daily needs is now possible. 

To find the best deals, you just need to work out your monthly budget and data consumption and then compare the available NBN services in your location. 

To make your life easier, you can compare the cheapest NBN plans using our broadband comparison tool.


Some suggested plans

Tangerine Telecom Standard Speed Broadband Plan

  • Unlimited data
  • 21Mbps Typical Evening Speed
  • 14-day risk free trial
  • No contract
  • $0 setup fee
  • $44.90 for the first 6 months, then $59.90 ongoing


MyRepublic Unlimited Essential 25/5Mbps Flexi Plan

  • Unlimited data
  • 15Mbps Typical Evening Speed
  • No contract
  • $0 setup fee
  • $59 per month


Uniti Wireless NBN 25 Broadband Plan

  • Unlimited data
  • 24.2Mbps Typical Evening Speed
  • No contract
  • Save $49 on your $99 activation fee by purchasing a modem from Uniti Wireless
  • $69.95 per month


Still undecided? Contact our team at Compare Broadband on 1300 106 571 so we can hook you up with the best NBN plans available in your area ASAP!