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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, but more on that later.

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 100GB $65*
Unlimited $75*
Home Phone Packs° Local, standard and mobile calls $20
$100 of international calls $15

*Speed boosts on NBN from $5 extra per month

° Home phone packs optional extras

Start Social Initiatives

As mentioned earlier, Start has a program whereby it works with local charities to provide internet to the most disadvantaged. Start has said that modern life starts with the internet, and not having a connection at home means that children do not have equal access to education and families go without essential services.

Start has cited the ABS statistic that 4 in 10 of Australia’s lowest income families are living without internet. To combat this, Start has provided over 6,411 days of free internet to disadvantaged families in Australia. For a telco with a social conscience, Start is worth a look into. But let’s see how its internet plans look first.

Start ADSL & NBN Plans

The process for creating your Start Broadband plan couldn’t be much easier. Simply pick what type of connection you have at your place – ADSL or NBN, your data allowance, then your download speeds, talk add-ons and finally contract length.

  • NBN 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 start at $5 extra, but the first speed jump is free. For example, a 100/40 plan with unlimited data will cost $95 a month.
  • There are two contracts to choose from: no lock-in, which includes a $59.95 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 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 (PDF).

How does Start Broadband compare to other providers?

Start Broadband is generally quite competitive in the broader market, and if you’re after a telco with a social conscience, it may be well worth a look into.

Start NBN Plans Compared

  • Unlimited top tier NBN from $95 a month.

For unlimited top-flight NBN, $95 per month certainly is more competitive in the broader market, but can you find a cheaper plan? That answer is probably yes. At this tier, plans under $90 a month are not hard to find, and providers worth keeping an eye out for include MyRepublic, Barefoot Telecom and Mate Communicate. All three offer competitive plans, but Start’s social initiatives may be worth paying extra for – your neighbours or friends & family could be affected.

Start ADSL Plans Compared

  • Unlimited data from $75 a month

Unlimited data for under $80 a month stacks up well against the big elephant in the room, Telstra, but there are a number of cheaper providers that may be worth a look into. The ADSL world can be a murky one, where providers advertise plans that do not include line rental. Line rental can cost an extra $20-$30 a month, so it’s important this is included in the advertised price. Start competes alongside SpinTel, AusBBS and TPG, which all provide something under $60 a month. Once again, Start stands out for its social initiatives, which may be worth paying extra for, knowing your money isn’t just going to a faceless business.

Should I start afresh with Start Broadband?

Start Broadband offers a pretty concise range of internet plans across both ADSL and NBN connections. As far of the cheapest plans, however, there are a range of other providers out there offering similar plans for less money. Simply put, there are other providers offering not just cheaper prices, but more data for less of your dollars.

  • Some other providers include home phone packs in their prices, and some go one further to have no set-up fees, with no contract.
  • On the plus side, Start Broadband’s lack of start-up fees with the longer term contracts makes it more attractive.

If you’re looking for a cheaper prices and more ‘bang for buck’, you will likely find what you’re looking for with another provider. However, some consideration must be given to Start’s social initiative, providing free internet to disadvantaged families. It may not be something you think about, but connecting more Australians to the internet can only be a good thing, right?

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