Belong adds speed caps to all NBN plans

Advertisement

For Australians looking for an affordable alternative to the big-name telcos, Belong has become a standout provider in the NBN space. But if you’re currently on a Belong NBN plan – or considering switching to one – the company has recently made some quiet, but important changes to its plan speeds that could result in a noticeable impact on your broadband performance.

Belong has introduced speed caps to its Standard Plus and Premium NBN plans, meaning all three of its unlimited data NBN plans come with a restricted maximum speed. Rather than letting customers reach the fastest speed on each wholesale NBN tier where available, Belong is capping speeds on each plan – in some cases, significantly below the maximum theoretical speeds normally offered by each tier.

This means Belong customers are now limited to the following download speeds:

  • Starter Plan (NBN 50 tier): 30Mbps download
  • Standard Plus (NBN 50 tier): 40Mbps download
  • Premium (NBN 100 tier): 80Mbps download

Belong NBN Plans & Speeds

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Belong NBN plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

NBN plans explained: speed tiers & evening speeds

Normally, Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50 tier) and Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100 tier) plans offer maximum download speeds of up to 50Mbps and 100Mbps respectively. This doesn’t necessarily mean customers are guaranteed these speeds, but rather that these are the theoretical potential speeds achievable on each tier.

Because speeds can vary, especially during peak periods, providers now list a typical evening speed for each plan, which outlines the average speeds experienced by customers during the busy hours of between 7pm and 11pm. If you’re on an NBN 50 plan, your telco will probably list a typical evening speed of around 40-45Mbps, but that doesn’t mean your performance is limited to that speed (and your provider is unlikely to restrict you from hitting your plan’s full maximum speed where possible).

Belong lists typical evening speeds of 30Mbps for its Starter plan, 40Mbps for its Standard Plus plan, and 80Mbps for its Premium plan. But what customers may not notice is that these speeds are now the maximum available on each plan – meaning your download speeds will never go faster than the typical evening speed offered on each plan, regardless of the time of day or network congestion.

While Belong is making these changes clear in its NBN speed information and NBN key facts policies, it’s information that is easy to miss if you don’t know where to look. Many customers may assume that the listed speeds of 30Mbps, 40Mbps or 80Mbps apply to typical evening speeds only, and that plans are still capable of offering a performance closer to 50Mbps or 100Mbps.

Screenshot of Belong NBN speeds
Image taken from Belong’s Key Facts Sheet: NBN Services, outlining the speeds customers can expect on Belong’s three home NBN plans.

Why would Belong cap NBN speeds?

Implementing speed caps is a move that, so far, hasn’t been introduced by any of Belong’s competitors. In fact, Belong’s parent company Telstra recently increased speeds on NBN plans by up to 15% for all customers free of charge, meaning the telco can now offer typical evening speeds of 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps.

As of December 2020, TPG and iiNet both cite a typical evening speed of 95Mbps on NBN 100 plans. Looking at other major providers, Optus offers 90Mbps, Aussie Broadband lists 89Mbps, and Vodafone 85Mbps on the same NBN 100 tier. So with other providers now offering faster plans, why has Belong now decided to restrict customer speeds?

Belong may be attempting to get ahead of a potential increase in congestion, as NBN Co winds up the extra bandwidth offer implemented to help providers manage the surge of traffic due to COVID-19 lockdowns in recent months. NBN Co ended this offer on November 30, so providers may now be looking for solutions to manage continuing data demands from customers.

Aussie Broadband Managing Director, Phillip Britt, warned consumers back in July that telcos may need to either reduce speeds, or increase prices in order to stay competitive. Belong’s new speed caps seem to be a way to manage this increased demand without raising plan prices, or targeting specific high-use customers under a Fair Use policy.

If needed, Belong could purchase more Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) capacity from NBN Co in order to offer more bandwidth to customers. This could allow for faster speeds even during peak periods, but Belong would then need to pass the CVC costs along to customers by adjusting monthly plan pricing – something the telco may be loathe to do in an increasingly competitive NBN market.

Comparing NBN Plans & Speeds

While Belong’s speed cap decision is unusual, it doesn’t mean you should dump your Belong plan, or write the telco off as a potential new ISP. If you’re happy with your Belong internet service and speeds, there’s no need to switch providers just yet if your existing plan is meeting your needs and budget.

With plans beginning at just $55 per month for unlimited data, no standard activation fees, and the option of a 12-month plan or no lock-in contract, Belong’s broadband plans are a simple and flexible option for value-conscious customers, and even received Canstar Blue’s Outstanding Value Award for NBN plans in 2020.

However, if fast speeds are a priority – and you’re looking for more in a plan than just low prices – you may want to compare the average real-world performances of other providers, including Telstra, Optus, Aussie Broadband and TPG. The ACCC’s recently-released report on NBN speeds is always a great place to start, as is Canstar Blue’s 2020 NBN Providers ratings.

We’ve compiled a range of plans in the below tables across various speed tiers.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Share this article

Advertisement