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Canstar Blue’s annual review of business broadband providers has seen Optus, iiNet, TPG and Telstra compared on customer service, network performance, value for money, contract clarity/flexibility, bill clarity & overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
No matter the industry, every small business needs an internet connection to survive. Whether it’s organising rosters, doing the pay run, emailing staff, operating point-of-sale systems, or ordering products, businesses in Australia can thrive with a solid broadband connection. As they say, a small business is only as good as its communications, and having reliable and fast internet is a sure-fire way to keep communications flowing. So if your small business is less than satisfied with your current internet provider, our 2020 review and ratings may help you find a better deal.
Canstar Blue annually surveys hundreds of business owners and key decision-makers across Australia to find out which broadband providers are consistently delivering, and which are more like a bump in the road. After a lengthy six years as Canstar Blue’s number one rated business broadband provider, iiNet has finally been dethroned, with Optus sweeping in to take the top spot in our 2020 review.
While no NBN provider is perfect – and it seems reasonable to assume you’ll have the occasional issue with any telco – our ratings are designed as a high-level guide to which providers are getting it right more often than not, and which ones still have work to do.
Here are the best NBN providers for business, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
Optus has come out on top in our 2020 ratings, achieving the only five-star score for overall satisfaction in this year’s review. Last year’s winner iiNet came in second place, although it maintained impressive results across most review categories, while Telstra and TPG followed in third and fourth place respectively. Each of the four included providers was rated on a variety of important factors, including customer service, network performance, value for money, clarity and flexibility of contract, and bill clarity.
Read on for an overview of what the four telcos in our 2020 review have to offer business NBN customers, as well as a list of other providers who market their services at businesses.
There is a diverse range of internet plans on offer for businesses big and small. Here is an overview of what the biggest internet providers in Australia are offering business owners when it comes to NBN.
Optus’ small-to-medium business broadband is priced on par with its residential NBN and ADSL plans, with prices beginning from $75 per month for unlimited data. NBN plans include Standard Plus (NBN 50) speeds as standard, with a boost to Premium NBN 100/20 available for an additional $20 per month.
Optus scored five stars for overall satisfaction in 2020, as well as five stars for customer service and clarity/flexibility of contract. The telco was awarded four stars in all other categories, including network performance and value for money.
iiNet’s small business broadband options include both NBN, ADSL2+, fibre and cable connections, with unlimited data and high-speed NBN plans available. Unlimited data plans begin at $79.99 per month for both basic NBN and ADSL customers, and include pay-as-you-go calling, a static IP address, and a free Wi-Fi modem on 24-month contracts.
iiNet was awarded four stars for overall satisfaction in 2020, but did take home five-star results for network performance, value for money, clarity and flexibility of contract, and for bill clarity.
Small business broadband from Telstra begins at $100 per month for unlimited data for both NBN and ADSL customers. Plans are available on a casual month-to-month basis, and new customers will receive a Telstra Smart Business Modem with 4G mobile broadband backup. However, cancelling your service within 24 months means you’ll need to pay out the remaining cost of your modem.
Telstra was rated four stars for overall satisfaction, bill clarity, and contract flexibility in our 2020 review, and received five stars for network performance.
TPG offers small business NBN plans from $69.99 per month at Basic NBN 12 speeds. NBN 50 and NBN 100 options are also available, and all include unlimited data and your choice of a month-to-month or 18-month contract.
TPG received four stars for overall satisfaction in our 2020 ratings, with a five-star score for customer service and four stars for network performance, value for money, and contract clarity/flexibility.
If you’re looking for a broadband provider to service your business – whether it’s from home, the office, or anywhere in between – here is a list of telcos marketing services in your direction:
Canstar Blue’s 2020 survey of business broadband customers has revealed the extent to which many are incredibly reliant on fast, reliable internet to operate efficiently.
So, many businesses are still experiencing challenges with their broadband connections. Are they happy with their current provider and plan?
No business should have to put up with a subpar NBN plan. Often, the internet is the lifeblood of a business, and having a lacklustre plan can be both frustrating and financially impairing. This year, two providers in our annual review were rated five stars in terms of network performance – iiNet and Telstra.
If value for money is a key factor in finding a NBN plan, last year’s winner iiNet was the sole telco to score six stars for value in our 2020 ratings, followed by Optus and TPG with four stars each. In terms of customer service, Optus and TPG were each rated five stars, while iiNet was the highest scoring provider for bill clarity. Finally, Optus and iiNet both achieved five stars for clarity and flexibility of contract.
What’s most important to business owners will vary, but our ratings provide a guide as to which telcos are keeping customers happy across various categories.
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This page was written and is regularly updated by Canstar Blue’s Telco Editor, Tara Donnelly. Having spent more than seven years writing for and editing telco comparison websites, she’s an expert in all things phone & internet, including NBN plans and how to find the best deal for your family. She loves to highlight the next best NBN deals, while also flagging the things you need to be aware of. Tara also acts as a spokesperson for Canstar Blue.
Canstar Blue surveyed 2032 Australian small to medium-sized business owners or key decision-makers (i.e. the key decision-maker for the business) across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who currently have a business broadband plan and the business pays the bills – in this case, 787 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 by mean overall satisfaction. 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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You might think the two terms describe the same thing, but modems and routers are actually different. Today, however, they’re often used so interchangeably that they almost do mean the same thing – that little box you access the Wi-Fi through, and in fact, most modems today are modem routers, a mix of the two. But what are the differences between modems and routers, and which is best for your home internet needs?
Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a key difference. Routers connect your devices around the home to each other, while your modem connects to the internet. When you connect to Wi-Fi you’re actually connecting to the router part of your box, which then forwards traffic through the modem component and to the internet.
Luckily, we’re not living in 2001 anymore and providers these days often include a hybrid modem-router in the package. This means that you simply need to ‘plug and play’ without fiddling with two devices. You'll only need to get into the back end of the one device through a setup portal. You can also buy these modem-router hybrids separately to couple with BYO plans.
If you need a guide on how to setup a modem, we have a great one here.
Most devices on the market today may say they are a ‘modem’ or a ‘router’. However, the fact is the device you are purchasing probably includes both.
As briefly mentioned earlier, routers can be more secure, but why is this so? This is because it emits a Wi-Fi network in which your device connects to. This is instead of connecting straight to the internet through a modem. This alone can mean there’s an extra layer of security, but does not ward off attacks entirely.
Routers with firewalls can basically police your traffic, patrolling the type of traffic allowed and preventing malicious software from infecting your devices. Firewalls allow you to control incoming and outgoing traffic, and can provide peace of mind when surfing the web.
A modem often provides no such security, and as such can be dangerous if connecting directly to the internet through one.
This may come down to how you connect, rather than what device you connect to the internet through. Connecting via modem to the internet is likely through an Ethernet cable, and this generally leads to much faster speeds as opposed to if you connected through Wi-Fi.
Of course, buying the right router for your needs, and making sure it’s ready for the NBN can aid in securing faster Wi-Fi speeds.
Prices are largely similar if comparing a like-for-like model in the router and modem spaces, however if combining the two into a ‘modem router’, prices can be dearer. Take the below examples from D-Link:
However, many retail networking devices these days are both a router and modem combo. Prices start at approximately just $40 to upwards of $1000 for the most premium models.
If you’re looking for a new provider and a new modem-router, then you can relax as many providers include a device on their broadband plans, often at no extra charge if you jump through some hoops. Below you'll find a selection of plans with modem routers bundled in.
iiNet includes modem-routers with many of its plans over both ADSL and NBN connections, with discounts offered for customers who sign up to a plan for 6 months. Currently, iiNet's included modme is $99.95 upfront on a no-contract plan, and $59.95 on a six-month contract. A $10 delivery fee applies.
With iiNet, unlimited plans start at about $70, and speed jumps on the NBN can be added from an extra $10 per month.
Dodo provides unlimited data from just $29.90 per month on ADSL, and on many plans includes a Wi-Fi modem. The included modem is a Dodo-branded ‘HG659’ modem and is $0 on a 24 month contract. 12 month contracts attract a $50 fee, while month-to-month plans see an increased fee to $109.
To get the best deals you usually need to sign up for two years, but to see Dodo include a high-performance router for $0 is promising.
Optus has unlimited data starting from just $60 per month across both the NBN and ADSL connections. Month to month plans attract a $200 set-up fee, which includes the modem, while 24 month plans have $0 set-up.
Optus also offers entertainment bonuses like Optus Sport and Fetch TV packages. To get the best deals you usually have to either sign up for 24 months or pay at least $80, but modems are included on most plans.
TPG has unlimited plans starting at around $60 a month and a choice of three speed tiers on the NBN – 12, 50 and 100. For $0 set-up customers have to be willing to sign up to an 18 month contract, but both contract types include a modem.
TPG stands out for having NBN 50 speeds at only $10 extra over its base plans, and a ‘typical evening speed’ on that speed tier of around 42Mbps.
Australia’s biggest telco includes its ‘Telstra Gateway’ modem with many 24 month plans, and has unlimited data from $99 a month. NBN plans start at NBN 25 by default, with speed boosts available from $15 a month extra.
The modem boasts AC classification and gigabit speeds, making it NBN-ready and capable of some fast speeds.
A number of other, smaller, providers also include modems as part of the plan – sometimes at no extra cost or on lengthy contracts! The standout providers below are:
There are many other providers that include modems as part of their plans, all you have to do is hunt around for the best deals. Keep in mind to get one included at no extra cost you may have to sign up for a year or more!
If you’re in an electronics store scratching your head and the assistant comes over and you say either modem or router, they’ll likely refer you to the same thing. Because these days the terms are used pretty much interchangeably, and often both the modem and router come in one neat package. Today you can’t really go wrong, but if you have a modem only, you will need a router as well.
Alternatively, going with a provider with an included modem can take a lot of hassle out of the equation. Though if you’re a discerning buyer, going your own way may be more satisfactory. Remember – routers ‘route’ the Wi-Fi network around your home, and modems connect you straight to the internet. Happy shopping!
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