• Old modems can be used with new providers
  • Tranferring to a new provider still requires labour at the telephone exchange
  • Varies between providers

When you sign up to a new ADSL or ADSL2+ contract the broadband provider will usually tell you about associated set-up fees. A lot of people who already have an ADSL modem from their previous Internet Service Provider (ISP) wonder if they need to pay these set-up fees at all. The fact is modem and set-up fees are two totally different things.

The set-up fee an ISP charges at the start of a new contract is payment for the actual connection of your ADSL broadband service. Most providers (bar Optus) use the Telstra infrastructure to provide their service, so money is needed to pay Telstra personnel to go into your local phone exchange. These workers have to put your ADSL connection and/or phone line into the new provider’s equipment within the exchange.

If you are setting up an ADSL broadband bundle from an inactive line, then personnel are also needed to ensure your phone is working properly. In this instance these workers will need to come out to your residence.

Therefore, you need to be aware modem fees and set-up costs are two different charges. If you do already have an ADSL modem then you can save money by not having to purchase a new machine, which will simply involve reconfiguring the device with your new ISP’s username and password. However, you will still have to pay a set-up fee.

The main time set-up fees are waived is on rapid transfer churns, when you are changing your broadband service, but not your landline provider. However, this is usually only on ADSL1 connections, with specific providers, and is contingent upon the fact your old broadband connection has not yet been disconnected.

Sometimes if you sign up to a long contract (E.G. 18-months or 24-months) the set-up fee can be waived. This is because the provider knows it will cover any money lost over time from your monthly subscription fees.

If you do already have a modem it’s a good thing, don’t get us wrong. A lot of people are unaware they can use their old machine with a new service. Some people we speak to think the older modem may be locked to the previous provider. This does happen on rare occasions (It used to happen with BigPond modems in rare situations), but generally speaking if you have completed the entire contract with the previous ISP, the modem will be yours.

Having an ADSL or ADSL2+ modem will save you money, but the ADSL broadband provider’s set-up fees are independent to this charge. These charges vary a lot between different providers, so it’s worth calling around to check the various prices.