Do you want faster speeds and better value from your home internet? Compare the biggest broadband providers in Australia with our customer satisfaction ratings.
* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
^Canstar Blue research finalised in February 2016, published in March 2016.
See our Ratings Methodology.
In the age of video streaming and binge content watching, having a reliable and quality internet connection is hugely important. Anyone who has ever experienced buffering during the climactic moments of a House of Cards episode can attest to that. All the big service providers will promise you the best, most reliable broadband plans, but which are really ticking all the boxes? Network performance is an important factor, but is your telco delivering on value for money and customer service?
Each year, Canstar Blue surveys thousands of bill-payers to find out which internet service providers (ISPs) are living up to their promises, and this report is a comparison of those offering any type of ADSL or cable home broadband plans – still the most common around Australia.
So who comes out on top? Our survey compared nine of the country’s biggest telcos, but only Westnet achieved a five-star rating for network performance, customer service, contract clarity & flexibility and overall satisfaction. This is certainly no fluke. In fact, our broadband ratings have been dominated by brands in the iiNet group (now owned by TPG Telecom) since they began in 2010, with iiNet itself and Internode also topping the table over the years. This is the third time that Westnet has been rated highest for overall satisfaction, making it the most successful individual service provider. It’s also worth noting that Internode has dominated our consumer ratings for bundled phone and internet plans for the last four years.
An honourable mention also goes to Exetel as the only provider to achieve five stars for value for money in this year’s ratings for ADSL and cable providers, as well as those for bundled plans.
There are several types of broadband available across our great brown land, largely depending on where you happen to live. So what are they and how much do they cost? We can tell you that customers with an ADSL, cable, NBN or mobile broadband plan spend an average of the following per month:
As you can see, households with either cable broadband, or those on the National Broadband Network (NBN), are paying the most for their internet connection. However, it should be noted that these averages are total costs, which for some may include additional phone or TV subscription services.
So let’s find out more about these types of broadband and whether or not these bill-payers are getting value for money.
ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line and remains the most common form of fixed-line home broadband in Australia, with ADSL2+ the new and improved version. ADSL uses telephone lines to provide internet access, making it a cheaper option. However, ADSL speeds fall short of those provided by cable or fibre connections.
Cable internet is provided through a hybrid network of extremely fast fibre optic cables and slower coaxial cables, resulting in increased bandwidth limits and higher speeds for end-users. This type of home broadband connection also has a broader capacity to bundle with paid TV or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.
While ADSL and cable broadband services are available to households in most areas, you will need to check with NBN Co as to whether or not the National Broadband Network is currently available in your area. The technologies used in the rollout of the NBN vary from area to area. They are:
See our NBN tale of technologies report for more details.
As the name suggests, mobile broadband is a wireless internet solution on the go, which service providers offer as a prepaid or post-paid plan. Mobile broadband can be accessed through USB modems (dongles), portable Wi-Fi modems and data SIM cards.
Naked DSL is an internet solution for households that no longer want to pay for a home phone landline. This type of connection takes away phone rental and usage charges, leaving you to pay only for your broadband service, which can come with speeds equivalent to ADSL2+.
Satellite broadband makes high-speed internet connectivity a possibility for households in remote areas of Australia, where traditional fixed-line services are not available. Satellite plans generally don’t come with as much data as other types of broadband and speeds will be limited.
There have never been more ISPs competing for your business, which is great news if you’re looking to switch – because more competition should mean better deals. Indeed, our research shows that monthly broadband expenditure across Australia is coming down (albeit marginally), from $69.19 in 2015 to $68.78 in 2016, across all forms of broadband. However, changes in consumer spending on the different forms of broadband over the last 12 months varies, with NBN expenditure dropping significantly, while the amount spent on cable plans has actually increased.
These reductions in average spending will largely be driven by households switching broadband providers in search of better value. Our survey found that 29% of all broadband customers have switched ISPs in the last five years, with those now on an NBN plan (43%) the most likely to have done so. Here are their reasons why:
Of those who have switched, the majority (77%) are glad they made the move and two-thirds (66%) report cheaper plans as a result. However, almost half (47%) said they would now like to switch again.
While 29% of broadband customers have switched in the last five years, that leaves 71% who haven’t felt the need to do so – and their reasons are varied.
Depending on the type of broadband connection you’re looking for, you could find as many as 30 ISPs offering plans to suit your needs. And if it’s the NBN that takes your fancy, you’ll find even more providers all desperate to sign you up, many of which you have probably never heard of. So who do you go with? Well, it seems that many Aussies are keeping an open mind, with 41% telling us they would consider switching to one of the smaller broadband providers. However, three out of five (59%) still trust the biggest telcos to do a better job.
The best advice anyone can offer you is to regularly your review options and keep an eye out for any tempting offers. Don’t just assume you’re getting a great deal, especially if you’ve been on the same plan for several years. Our customer ratings are also a helpful guide. If you want to explore the plans being offered by any of the providers in our ratings, just click on their name and you’ll go through to our partner side, WhistleOut.
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 6,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have an active ADSL or cable broadband account in their name and they pay the bills – in this case, 3,380 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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