Wondering what to look for in an NBN plan? What characteristics make up a good service? We’ve broken it down into an easy three-part check list.
High Bandwidth and Data Limits
Bandwidth can be compared to the number of cars that can travel on a road per hour. More bandwidth means you can have more cars traveling at a given time and do so quickly. If you’re streaming high definition media, you’ll need more bandwidth than someone watching standard definition video. And someone reading the news and watching the occasional video needs far less. Bandwidth demand will come from streaming media like Netflix, video game consoles that connect to distant servers, video conferencing and even your information appliances. The more items in your home that connect to the internet and exchange data on a regular basis, the more bandwidth you need.
Let’s switch to a water analogy. Bandwidth is the flow of water allowed at any given time. Data limits are like a reservoir. Once you’ve downloaded so many gigabytes, the ISP could throttle or slow down the flow of your data. They do this to ensure others can access the network. Choose a plan with high bandwidth and low data limits, and you can video chat in HD video once in a while, but your video streaming will slow and become choppy when you hit the limit. Or you lose the ability to access game servers and have to revert to PC gaming instead. You can get around moderately low bandwidth by downloading video and other content overnight, but it will stall if you have a low data limit.
Good Overall Value
Note that we aren’t saying that the best NBN provider is the cheapest. There are people who could get by with a cheap NBN plan, but they’re not the ones streaming Netflix and live-streaming video games. The best plans provide the data volume and speed you need without charging you a premium for it.
Before you select an NBN plan, look at the other associated costs. For example, you could be hit with a new connection fee or have to pay for a new router. Compare plans based on overall costs, not a low monthly cost. You may be able to save money by signing up with a Stan, Netflix or music streaming deal. Just make sure it actually saves you money. That may mean canceling your other services, so you don’t pay double. You can typically save money by signing up for a longer contract term instead of a month to month deal.
You don’t want to sign up with a company that has a reputation for poor technical service, whether they take forever to connect you or don’t respond to calls when your service is down. Furthermore, you don’t want to do business with a company that promises special offers and discounts but slams you with extra
fees or fails to deliver the low-price tag they promised. Good companies will help you install your new modem or router and answer questions when you have technical problems.