What’s the deal with ‘unmetered’ data?

Women laptop popcornThe long-anticipated Australian launches of on-demand video streaming services such as Netflix, Stan and Presto have made it even easier to burn through your monthly home broadband data cap, despite data inclusions being more generous than ever before. If you’re a House of Cards fanatic or you’ve got a craving to watch the entire James Bond back catalogue, you’re probably going to be looking for ways to reduce your data usage.

Fortunately, there exists a way to do just that: the concept of unmetered data usage. Essentially, different ISPs allow you to download certain media, or visit certain sites, without that internet usage counting towards your monthly total – hence the term ‘unmetered’. Many providers offer exclusive services or content that are only unlimited for their customers, providing yet another reason to shop around for a good broadband plan. So what are some broadband and mobile plans that have unmetered features, and what can you do with them?

Telstra

Telstra’s broadband service isn’t just an ISP: their tie-ins with Foxtel and other content providers mean that Telstra hosts a range of content on their sites, including Bigpond Movies, Music and Video. All of Telstra’s sites, as well as all affiliated AFL team websites and selected tertiary education sites, are unmetered for Telstra broadband customers – you can visit them and download as much content as you want. Furthermore, Telstra’s T-Box (essentially a set-top box which you can bundle in with your broadband plan) allows you to rent movies and even subscribe to Foxtel packages, neither of which count towards your download quota.

Fetch

Fetch TV comes bundled with broadband plans offered by Optus, iiNet, Internode, Dodo and several others. It’s an internet TV service that comes with a set-top box and gives you access to certain pay TV channels, on-demand movie rentals and selected free movies, in addition to regular free-to-air TV: none of which count towards your download quota. It also comes with a built-in 1TB hard drive for recording shows and movies, which is essentially free content. Fetch lets you download a number of apps to stream content, including Youtube, but the big news is coming soon: Fetch is offering unlimited Netflix streaming – for all you content streamers out there, this is going to be a very useful deal.

Optus

Optus’ top broadband plan, in addition to bundling Fetch TV, also offers unlimited data (which is the same price as their 200GB plan until 6 April 2015), which means you can browse, stream and download as much as your heart desires.

TPG

TPG also offer several unlimited broadband bundles like the Optus plan above, which come in several different contract lengths so you can change to a better deal if the need arises.

If you’re looking for unmetered inclusions to your broadband plan – or indeed for unlimited broadband itself – there are lots of options to choose from, including multiple other providers not listed here. The most important thing is that you shop around and do a little research before you settle on a broadband plan; arming yourself with some knowledge about what’s on the market goes a long way towards finding the cheapest and best-value plan. To read about out the Canstar Blue customer satisfaction award for broadband, check out our ratings here.

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