Choosing the right internet plan can be a bit of a task. You have to choose the plan and the type of internet that's right for you. Here's our top tips on how to get the best internet available in your area.
Check what services are available for your premises
Knowing which network(s) connects to your house will give you an idea of which retailers will offer you services. To find this out you should put your address into the Australian Government's MyBroadband website. MyBroadband also gives information about the availability and quality of mobile broadband. This might be a good alternative if you don't use the internet very much, but can be very expensive for heavier users.
Generally, if NBN is available it will be the highest quality internet connection. The official NBN rollout map on the nbn website gives some information about the current rollout.
I can't get any internet coverage for my house!
Some premises are outside the range of fixed broadband networks and it is a bit more difficult to track down the best solution. The websites above won't have much information to help, but there may be other wireless or satellite options available. Start by doing a Google search for 'fixed wireless' providers in your area.
Picking an ISP
Once you know what kind of internet is available you can start looking for the best internet service provider (ISP). For example, if you are served by NBN, a list of retail providers for your premises is available on the nbn website. If your network does not provide a list of ISPs then it can be very difficult to find out which retailers offer services to your premises and may require checking a number of providers' websites.
If there are a number of ISPs available in your area then you should consider what they offer in terms of customer service and broadband performance. You can search Whirlpool forums for discussions on providers.
If you're just using your internet service for basic web browsing and email, most ISPs are okay, but if you want to make the most of new services like video streaming you'll need a solid performer. At the moment there aren't very many independently verified ways to compare ISP performance. The two major ones are the Google Video Quality Report and Netflix's ISP speed index.
Price and plan inclusions
You can compare the price and inclusions for the broadband plans of most ISPs using comparator websites like WhistleOut. When you find a plan that meets your needs contact the ISP to make sure it can offer services to your house. Once you're signed up, the connection process usually takes about 10 working days for a new fixed broadband connection and around four hours for a transfer from an existing supplier.