- Find the best ISP in your area
- Check out TPG plans
- Which ISPs are more likely to offer internet in your area
Settling into a new area means finding all sorts of things – the closest shop you can run to late at night to get milk, the best takeaway places, the grocery store that's close enough you won't break your back carrying all your bags home, the best public transport, the Laundromat and the shortcuts.
ISPs can be much more elusive. They don't have a glowing shopfront or bright billboard that says "INTERNET AVAILABLE HERE" – or at least not most of the time! It can be a very difficult and long process to work out who exactly will be able to provide internet in your area. Here are some tips to help you avoid having to call each ISP individually to find out exactly what plan you can get.
Check out TPG plans and see if they're available in your area today – 1300 106 571!
Talk to your neighbours
Neighbours aren't just there to borrow a cup of sugar from or – more pertinently these days – steal WiFi from. Ask your next-door neighbour who they get their internet from, what the service is like, and whether they're happy with the plan they're getting.
Keep in mind that everyone's perception of an internet plan is different. If you're a heavy downloader living next door to a pensioner who only uses her internet when her grandchildren come around, that 5GB mobile broadband plan isn't going to be useful for you. If you're a light user who makes a lot of phone calls, the 100GB bundle the student across the road has that doesn't include the cost of any calls might not be perfect for you either.
All the same, knowing which providers have set up connections around you is useful, though not an automatic guarantee that you'll be able to get them. There are always annoying complications like finding yourself on a pair gain or just out of range. Talk to your neighbours, but don't throw them in the face of the ISP you talk to – "Well, my neighbour across the road can get Optus, why can't I!" It's a matter of infrastructure that can be finicky, complicated, and sometimes downright weird, and the ISP representative you're talking to isn't going to be able to change anything, so there's no sense in getting angry about something that neither of you can fix.
Know what you want
It's going to help when you start calling ISPs to be able to ask for exactly the type of connection you want. Otherwise, you might get excited talking about the fixed-line connection until you realise that the ISP has only mobile broadband available. Even fixed-line connections run on different technologies. We have a good rundown of the difference between mobile wireless and WiFi internet, but here's a quick breakdown of NBN connection technologies:
FTTP (Fibre to the Premises): A fibre optic cable runs from the exchange all the way to your house. This is generally considered the best connection type as it provides the fastest and most consistent speeds.
FTTN (Fibre to the Node): A fibre optic cable runs from the exchange to a node in your neighbourhood, with the last leg of the journey being completed over copper phone lines. Speeds can vary depending on how far away you are from the node.
FTTC (Fibre to the Curb): A fibre optic cable runs from the exchange to a box on your street, with the last leg of the journey being completed over copper phone lines. Speeds can vary depending on how far away you are from the box.
HFC (Hybrid Fibre Cable): A cable that combines both fibre optic and coaxial cable runs from the exchange to your house. This was originally used for pay TV but is now being utilised as part of the NBN rollout. Speeds can vary depending on how far away you are from the exchange.
Mobile broadband – A portable USB modem – called a dongle – that you plug into your computer in order to connect to the internet. This isn't a fixed-line connection and instead connects to mobile phone towers. Just like a mobile phone, then, in some areas, you will have better reception than others. For a home, a fixed-line connection is ideal, but the advantage of mobile broadband is that it's entirely portable. Wherever you and your laptop/computer/tablet go, your internet comes with you.
Work out which ISPs are more likely to offer internet in your area
There are some handy 'cheats' to keep in mind to avoid calling every ISP and find out if they are available in your area!
Telstra connections are available in most areas. But their prices are a bit more expensive, and might not be your first choice.
Telstra’s bundles tend to include a host of other services that you might not want, such as TV and mobiles. While their prices tend to even out over a long contract such as 24 months, it can be frustrating to think that they are your only choice.
Before you sign up for a long and expensive contract with Telstra, try calling some providers who use Telstra infrastructure and networks to see if they're available in your area. They will usually be able to offer you a much better bargain.
It might be that someone tells you you're on an "Optus line". In that case, usually, only Optus is going to be able to offer you internet.
Nothing to worry about, in this case – Optus have some great deals.
I think I can only get Telstra. But I'm not sure...
It's worth calling TPG, TPG offers great fixed-line internet plan deals for as little as 10GBs for $29.99 a month. You can call us to see if TPG is available in your area.
Give us a call on 1300 106 571 and we can help you sort out who is available in your area and what kind of plan you need.