There’s been a recent flurry of news surrounding research that suggests that Australians overspend on fixed and mobile broadband services, even though the methodology of some of that research has itself been called into question.
But how do you go about picking the right broadband plan? We’d certainly suggest sorting out your basics - budget, minimum speed/data requirements and so on - upfront. There’s no point shooting for the cheapest plan if it won’t do what you want, after all. We’ve taken a look at some of the major broadband plan sites to work out which approach is best.
Pros: A simple interface with logical progression for choices, including easy separation of fixed and mobile broadband options.
Cons: Some of the selection options are a bit odd - most notably the “up to 30MBps”, which is essentially only cable at this point. There’s also an admittedly low number of plans on the database - 279 at the time of writing, although this is at least upfront.
Site: Whirlpool Broadband Choice
Pros: A choice of approaches, from directly via your fixed line number, on a state-by-state basis or via a radio box selection list for your key criteria. Many different connection methodologies are catered for, as are options to pare down searches via specific exclusions.
Cons: The interface is complex; this isn’t a great site to send your grandmother to. With the number of plans on offer, it’s not surprising that sometimes redundant plans stay on the database - but it’s something to be wary of.
Pros: The layout is focused on the novice broadband user, with lots of friendly terms and simple drop-down boxes.
Cons: Some of the simplistic terms are arguably a bit meaningless, especially in the section for users who “know what they want”. We’re still not sure what the difference between Fast, Super Fast and Supersonic speeds are in terms of broadband. There’s also the lowest number of carriers on board with some searches (ADSL2+/100-400GB) revealing no plan choices at all!
Site: DIY via ISP website
Pros: Accuracy. The one problem we’ve hit with any comparison website is that in the shifting world of ISP offers, it’s hard to keep up. You might get excited about a carrier offer seen on a comparison site, then go to the ISP’s page to sign up, only to find it’s no longer available at that price or with those features. The ISPs themselves will naturally do a better job of keeping their offers up to date
Cons: It’s time consuming - this is exactly what a comparison web site should be good for.