GOLD WINNER: EXETEL
If you’ve travelled overseas recently, you may have noticed that internet speeds elsewhere in the world can be faster than those in Australia – a lot faster, in fact. And you don’t have to go to advanced economies such as the US to experience turbocharged download speeds.
According to the Speedtest Global Index, the average data download speed for fixed broadband globally is 49.26Mbps. Singapore boasts the world’s fastest download speeds of 184Mbps.
Surprisingly, Iceland takes second place with an average speed of 153Mbps (and it has a population of less than 350,000).
Australia strolls into 54th place on the global index with an average download speed of a snooze-inducing 32.47Mbps.
But, hey, while we’re behind nations such as Qatar and Serbia, we’re still in front of Kazakhstan (and we beat them in basketball, too).
The national broadband network (NBN) is a bit like reality TV. Mention it to some people and their eyes roll in disdain but raise the topic with others and you’ll find plenty of diehard fans.
Close to 4.5 million homes and businesses Australia-wide are now connected to the NBN – up from three million in September 2017. The sheer scale of take-up and delivery makes it almost inevitable that there will be some hiccups. In 2017-18, around 40,000 complaints about the NBN were lodged with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). Happily, complaint levels have fallen in recent months, and this is backed by figures from NBN Co that show improvements across a number of service areas.
Love it or loathe it, it’s hard to deny that the NBN has been a game changer, especially for the many regional Australians who now have access to affordable internet.
With around 170 providers listed on the NBN Co website, consumers are spoilt for choice. And while not every provider is available across all areas, the sheer number of providers in the market is helping to push prices down. It speaks volumes about the highly competitive nature of NBN broadband plans that none of 2018’s winners is represented in this year’s top three.
At the top of the leaderboard, Exetel’s NBN 50 plan combines free activation and a free wi-fi modem with unlimited data. This deal is available to new residential NBN customers only. With a monthly fee of just $59.99, this plan streaks ahead of the competition, and Exetel claims a typical evening speed of 43Mbps.
The only drawback of Exetel’s plan is that you are committing to a 12-month contract. That said, figures from the consumer group Choice show 46% of us have been with our current internet service provider for five years or more, so chances are the 12-month commitment won’t be an issue for many subscribers.
Kogan Internet’s NBN plans were launched in April 2018. The Silver Unlimited plan involves providing your own modem (it’s an additional $69 to purchase a Kogan modem or pick up a cheapie from your local tech store), and Kogan claims evening speeds of 40Mbps.