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Review of Start Broadband plans

Start Broadband is an Australian-owned internet service provider that offers both ADSL plans and plans on the National Broadband Network (NBN) across all four speed tiers. Start is an internet provider that claims to pride itself on cutting through the red tape and making the whole service process much easier for its customers. The company is locally based, with an entirely Australian customer support team, and supports several charitable initiatives in the local community. As for its plans, they are all ‘customisable’ based on how much data you want and whether you want to add a home phone calling pack and be on a contract or not. So let’s see exactly what the upstart Start has to offer.

Start Broadband Plans

Plans Data allowance Price Per Month
ADSL and NBN Connections 50GB $65*
Unlimited $75*
Home Phone Packs° Local, standard and mobile calls $20
$100 of international calls $15

*Speed boosts on NBN from $10 extra per month

° Home phone packs optional extras

Start NBN Bundles

The process for creating your Start Broadband plan couldn’t be much easier. Simply pick your data allowance, then your download speeds, talk add-ons and finally contract length. Both plans include a VoIP NBN phone as standard with PAYG calls, to which you can add call packages if you so choose. Speed boosts on the NBN cost $10 extra for each jump you make. For example, a boost to 25/5 on a 50GB plan will leave you paying $75, with the 100/40 speed commanding a $95/month price tag.

There are two contracts to choose from: 6 months, which includes a $99.95 setup fee, or 24 months with no setup fee. Start also provides you the opportunity to either BYO modem, or purchase one of theirs for $99.95 upfront. The kicker with this is that it’s guaranteed to be compatible with your NBN connection, whereas the BYO method may not. Nevertheless, Start’s technicians are apparently there to help in the process.

Start ADSL Bundles

Start Broadband’s ADSL bundles are essentially identical to the NBN bundles – the only difference being that the older network technology which lacks a choice of download speeds. Pricing for both plans is the same at $65 and $75 per month respectively, and all other add-ons are available on ADSL services at the same price.

Start Home Phone Packs

Significant enough of an optional extra, these home phone packs – especially the international pack – are pretty exciting. ADSL plans include line rental so you can expectedly add these packs at any time, but pay PAYG call rates to get you by:

  • Local calls 20c each
  • National calls 20c/minute capped at $3
  • Mobiles 35c per minute
  • Call connection/flagfall 40c for timed calls only
  • 13/1300 numbers 40c each

While for $20 extra a month you get your standard fare, for an extra $15 a month you get $100 of international credit. What does that achieve, you say? Well, Canada is 12c/minute for example for both landlines and mobile phones. The USA is 9c per minute for landlines, and 12c for mobiles. The full list of rates is available here.

How does Start Broadband compare to other providers?

Unfortunately, Start Broadband’s NBN plans are generally more expensive than those offered by many other providers. Nevertheless, there is still some merit to Start, so let’s see how it stacks up.

Start NBN Plans Compared

  • 50GB from $65 a month / Unlimited data from $75 a month
  • Unlimited Tier 5 – 100/40 for $105 a month

For the 50GB data-capped plans, Start fails to get its engine started amongst the competition. Other providers offer the same amount or greater data for less money. While not particularly ‘bad’ value in any sense, Start is not really a standout either and that goes for all of its speed tiers. Keep an eye out for providers including Activ8me, Exetel, Teleron and Dodo who are all among the cheapest in Australia for NBN. However, keep your other eye on the lookout for set-up fees that can sully value a little bit.

For unlimited data, Start gets a bit of a value boost as it only costs $10 extra over its 50GB data plan. Indeed, unlimited data plan providers tend to be the most competitive, and unlimited data is generally very good value nowadays. In this sphere, again keep an eye out for Exetel. SpinTel, AusBBS and Inspired Broadband also come into the fray as the cheapest to offer unlimited data on Tier 1 speeds.

For Tier 5 speeds, you might expect all providers to cost over $100 a month like Start does, but you’d be mistaken. A host of familiar faces kickstart the value boost. MyRepublic stands out as being the cheapest to provide unlimited data on Tier 5 speeds, but you will be tied into a 12 month contract, of which you’ll pay $10 extra a month to go without a contract. AusBBS, Motion and Activ8me are also very competitive but look out for set-up fees and lengthy contracts. While one particular provider may appear cheaper per month, they may attract a higher set-up fee that can blow out its value.

It’s worth having a browse at the different providers across the whole range of speed tiers. Start is fairly competitive, but you may also find superior value elsewhere.

Start ADSL Plans Compared

Exactly the same as Start’s NBN plans, its ADSL plans face stiff competition in an internet connection type that has had the chance to fully blossom. At $75 a month for unlimited data, Start simply fails to compete on price against a whole heap of other providers that can all offer the same data for under $60 per month. Among the cheapest are Dodo, Inspired, AusBBS and Barefoot Telecom. There are also a few other providers maintaining the robust competition that are worth a look into.

Should I start afresh with Start Broadband?

Start Broadband offers a pretty concise range of internet plans across both ADSL and NBN connections. Even with its concise range, however, Start somewhat misses the mark in terms of value included across both platforms. Simply put, there are other providers offering not just cheaper prices, but more data for less of your dollars. Some include home phone packs in their prices, and some go one further to have no set-up fees, with no contract.

It’s a bit confounding that Start has its 50GB plans when its unlimited plans are available for not much more per month. Surely you’d be willing to pay an extra 10 bucks and have the safety net of unlimited data? On the plus side, Start Broadband’s lack of start-up fees with the longer term contracts makes it more attractive. But if you’re looking for a cheaper prices and more ‘bang for buck’, you will likely find what you’re looking for.

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