Is the NBN worth the money?


The National Broadband Network is delivering world-class internet speeds to more and more homes across the country every year, but not all Australians are blown away by their NBN plans.

A Canstar Blue survey has found that, for many NBN customers, their new plans are not worthy of the extra money.

It found that households connected to the NBN are paying an average of $77 a month for their service. That compares to an average of $70 per month for those with either ADSL or cable broadband.

Four out of five (80%) NBN customers agreed that switching to the high-speed network was a good move, but only seven out of ten (71%) believe they are getting value for money.

Do you need unlimited data?

Head of Canstar Blue, Megan Doyle, said that households could be falling into the trap of overestimating their broadband requirements, with half (49%) of NBN customers signing up to unlimited plans.

“When the NBN arrives in your suburb it comes with huge expectations and the potential to get carried away with the level of service you need,” she said. “Switching to the NBN doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay more, but with the download speeds available, it can be tempting to opt for a more expensive plan than you actually need.

“If your current ADSL2+ service is working well for you, then you probably don’t need to upgrade to one of the highest NBN speed tiers. You might find you’re doing exactly the same things at home, but paying more for the privilege. If that’s the case, it’s natural to feel like you’re not getting value for money.”

Finding a better deal

The survey found that 37% of NBN customers believe they could find a better plan with another provider and 28% would like to switch in the near future.

“Once you’re on the NBN you have literally dozens of options, so don’t be afraid to explore them,” said Mrs Doyle. “But first, assess your current plan and determine whether or not you’re paying for something you may not need. If that’s the case, ask your provider if you can downgrade to a cheaper plan.

“However, if you’re not satisfied with the support you receive and the options on offer from your provider, it’s time to look elsewhere. For some people there is a tendency to trust the biggest telcos to do a better job, but there are lots of smaller ones that are equally capable of sending you the bill, so see who is offering the best overall package for you.”

Highest-rated NBN providers

Canstar Blue surveyed a total of 6,000 households and broadband customers were asked to rate their service provider on a number of factors, including network performance, customer service and value for money. The ratings were based on the responses of almost 4,500 bill-payers.

TPG was the highest rated of the NBN providers, scoring five-star reviews on network performance, contract clarity, value for money and overall satisfaction.

Meanwhile Westnet topped the ratings for ADSL/cable services and Internode was deemed best for bundled phone and internet plans. Optus had the most satisfied customers for mobile broadband.

“With so many broadband providers to pick from, these ratings offer a helpful guide,” said Mrs Doyle. “They represent the honest opinions of thousands of bill-payers across Australia who have given a very clear message about the service providers they think are living up to expectations, and those that need to up their game.

“No one should settle for mediocrity. If you don’t feel like you’re getting the best value from your broadband plan, or the best customer service, you should challenge your provider to do better and potentially take your business elsewhere.”

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