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Finding Affordable Internet Plans in a Cost-of-Living Crisis

Say goodbye to sky-high internet prices with Econnex. Switch like a pro to an affordable internet plan that best fits your steaming needs!

Affordable Internet Plans

Published on 01/04/2024

By Unknown

NBN Comparison

The cost pressures on Australian households have been immense over the past year or two.  

Every family member is doing what they can to stay afloat, finding the cheapest possible options for groceries and utilities that might afford them some breathing room.  

Nothing is safe or sacred within this environment, including the household broadband plan. Previously, everyday Aussies may have stuck loyally with one provider; these days, they are more likely to shop around to find more affordable internet plans. 

 

Fair enough, too. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t deserve your business just because they were there first. You’re entitled to compare the various affordable internet providers available to relieve the weight of rising costs. You might only find a small saving, but every last cent counts.  

Before we dive in, I should mention this from the get-go: while an NBN12 or Opticomm12 plan is likely to be the cheapest overall, satisfaction with your internet plan comes from finding the right balance of cost and performance. You’ll see this a few times as you read through, but that’s because it’s worth remembering.  

There’s no use in selecting the absolute cheapest internet plan if it doesn’t provide the speed you need to stream your favourite shows or play your favourite online games. You have to find a happy middle ground. 

Prices Have Risen Across the Board 

Let’s start with a quick look at the numbers. 

As you must already be aware, costs have been rising over the past two years, and it’s more than slightly alarming. The Consumer Price Index rose 4.1% over the twelve months to the December 2023 quarter, which is (unbelievably) a respite from the annual inflation peak of 7.8% in the December 2022 quarter. Communications measured a 2.2% increase in prices over this period.  

The upshot? It’s an expensive time to be living in Australia, especially when you also factor in the unforeseen interest rate hikes over the past year. It’s not all bad news, though. Competition is the key, and the broadband market in Australia has a very healthy level of competition, which helps in the search for affordable internet plans.  

You can choose from various providers, ranging from historically dominant retailers like Telstra and Optus to newer players like Superloop and Aussie Broadband. That power to choose gives you the chance to find potential savings. You have options, and you should explore them.  

Do You Have the Need for Speed? 

Not all broadband plans provide the same level of performance. While an NBN 100 plan is likely to be more expensive than an NBN 25 one, it will also provide higher download and upload speeds.  

Higher download and upload speeds allow you to stream high-definition movies or TV shows more seamlessly without the annoyance of endless buffering; they allow you to jump into your favourite online games without stuttering and high ping. That might make all the difference to your level of satisfaction with your chosen plan.  

So, before exploring affordable internet plans in more detail, let’s go through a quick rundown of the types of broadband plans available for everyday Australian consumers and the practical differences between them: 

The Network Providers 

  • NBN - The National Broadband Network (NBN) program has been steadily replacing the old, outdated copper wiring that used to feed internet to households with fibre-optic cables that allow for affordable high-speed internet services.     In some instances, these new transmission lines are only connected via fibre to the node (FTTN), at which point the pre-existing wiring takes over. In other cases, the new fibre-optic cables are connected directly to the household, known as fibre to the premises (FTTP).    
  • Opticomm - Where the NBN is a government-run internet infrastructure initiative, Opticomm is a privately owned provider of new cabling. In plain English? It’s a separate company that does essentially the same thing: it lays fibre-optic lines to deliver FTTP network services to customers.     Because FTTP is the fastest type of connection available, you can expect an Opticomm plan to perform as well as, or better than, a comparable NBN option. However, it’s not available in as many locations across Australia.  

NBN or Opticomm25, 50, 100, 1000 

When you compare the plans available for your household, you’ll notice plans marked with numbers after the network, such as NBN50 or Opticomm100. So, what are those numbers all about?  

They represent the typical download speed for that type of plan in megabytes per second (Mbps). The higher the download speed, the faster your connection will be (but also, the more expensive the plan will likely be). To wit, an NBN50 plan should offer up to 50 Mbps, approximately double the speed of an NBN25 plan

Let’s Talk About Broadband Affordability  

Wait, isn’t this an article about the most affordable internet plans? Well, yes, but first, you need to have a good grasp of the basics. As mentioned at the top, there is no use in opting for the cheapest NBN12 plan available if it doesn’t give you the performance you need to stream, game, or work.  

The key to finding affordable internet plans is to determine the level of performance/speed you need and then compare the prices for plans within that category. Let’s say we’re discussing affordable internet for students. If you and your housemates stream or game online regularly, anything less than an NBN50 planwill likely not suffice.  

If you follow this method (of balancing cost and performance), you may not end up with the cheapest plan on the market outright, but you’re far more likely to find an option that fits your online habits. That should ultimately result in a more satisfying experience for you as the customer.  

With all of that out of the way, let’s explore some of the NBN25 plan options available via our Econnex broadband comparison platform. It’s a great place to start because they’re on the cheaper side of the spectrum while still offering enough speed to accommodate casual internet use.   

Tips for Finding Affordable Internet Plans 

We’re rounding third base and heading towards home now. Before you start comparing affordable internet providers and plans available for your address from the Econnex panel of retailers, keep some of these top tips in mind: 

  1. Compare internet plans every 6-12 months - Lock it into the calendar, Eddie. The most suitable plan now may not remain so in the future. New options, with various perks, discounts, rewards, and features, are constantly being released to the market. If you regularly compare your broadband options, you will be in good stead to avoid getting left behind with an outdated plan.  
  2. Be wary of modem and setup fees - Some plans might allow you to bring your own modem; others may supply one either for a fee or free of charge. If you’re sourcing broadband for a newly built house or apartment, you may need to pay a new development charge to cover some of the cost of laying new cabling. It’s worth familiarising yourself with the additional costs that you may need to pay before finalising any broadband decisions.  
  3. Consider the length of your broadband contract - In truth, most broadband plans available on the Australian market are month-to-month, with nothing to stop you from comparing and switching regularly (refer back to tip #1). However, some plans are still accompanied by longer lock-in contracts of 6 months or more, preventing you from making a quick change. Whichever plan you go with, you must read the fine print so you’re not caught off-guard.  

Compare and Apply for Broadband in Minutes 

Before we finish up, you should know about the tools you have at your disposal. Right now, you can compare broadband plans from various reputable providers at no extra cost.  

When you use the Econnex broadband comparison platform, you can do so knowing that we promise no ads, sponsored products or third-party redirections. It’s a genuinely transparent end-to-end service, allowing you to submit your application online without ever leaving the site.  

All you have to do is enter your address to get started, and we’ll provide you with the plans available as per your preferred tech type for that location from our panel of retailers. You can select the plan with the right balance of cost and performance (as we’ve discussed), enter a few details, and submit your application within minutes.  

So, what are you waiting for? Head to Econnex comparison platform and explore a new way to switch and stream.  

NBN Comparison
Econnex Comparison
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