CHOICE membership

Best Internet Provider


#21

Hello CHOICE Community!

I’m moving house and need to get internet. I’ve never managed this process (currently I live with my brother who has foxtel and organised all the internet things for me). I am incredibly confused and naive when it comes to getting connected.

What I know:

  • I don’t have cable on my street
  • I’m pretty close to the exchange
  • I like to stream on Netflix and this will be the bulk of my TV watching (maybe one tv show a night)
  • I’m not a heavy gamer or downloader
  • It’s just me (one person!)
  • I don’t have a wireless router or modem (are the ones they provide any good?)
  • I have a limited budget, so pricing is important

Who do you get your ADSL from and how have you found the experience with that provider?

Thanks in advance for your protips or warnings! It seems like there are a lot of terrible providers out there…


#22

My son recently signed on with TPG. He is Very Happy with them. The initial connection was not running as expected and they ended up visiting twice to ascertain the real problem to get it right. No dramas involved.

When you pick an ISP ask what they offer and check the street prices and reviews. You can get good used modems on ebay for $20-30. Since NBN will happen, look for one that is VDSL capable (from your description it is unlikely you will get fibre). (My son got a used Billion 7800N on ebay for $20+post - great modem but no VDSL)

I have been with iPrimus for 14+ years. There were some early rocky patches and they rose to excellent, but that once excellent operation has taken a hit since M2 took them over, but overall not enough angst to go elsewhere, yet.

FWIW since NBN is coming to my street soon I am getting letters from ISPs wanting me to sign up with them. I have noticed their plans look very similar. It reminds me of the electricity-gas market where what you get is the same, it is just the smiling faces who answer phones and send you bills who vary.


#23

Most plans will be similar as they all package a similar product (NBN sets the specifications). The difference is not the package they sell but what CVC (Connectivity Virtual Circuit) the provider has paid for. The provider is charged by the NBN for the amount of traffic in Mbps (Mega bits per second) across their user base so if for instance if they wanted 12 Mbps for every connection they would need to pay (current cost I think not including the discounts available) $17.50 X 12 per household. A smaller provider to offer this would have a huge bill to pass on to their consumers/customers. By the way the average CVC that providers pay for per user is close to 800 Kbps.

Basically if they skimp on CVC then you suffer speed losses and the more CVC they have paid for the better your connection will be. Plus the bigger players like Telstra Optus and TPG have enough traffic and may also own their own backhaul infrastructure (the part of the network that connects to the global internet) to cover the cost of a bigger CVC budget . Also not all their customers are going to be on the internet 24/7 they can pare their CVC back a bit (economies of scale).


#24

@TillySouth

The distance from the exchange or the Tophat if it is in place in your area (DSLAM) is the most important factor in what speed you will get over ADSL/ADSL2+. You say you aren’t far but copper cable can run a funny way to your street. If you are less than about 3 km of copper from the exchange/tophat you will get around 7 Mbps (Mega bits per second) or better. ADSL has a max speed of around 8 Mbps and ADSL2+ around 24 Mbps (you need to be within about 1 km of copper to see this) but will be better than ADSL till about 4 km of copper from the exchange/Tophat. For Netfix streaming you will need about 5 Mbps at least to get best viewing. This doesn’t count anything else you are doing so more will be needed if using your ADSL internet for phone etc when also streaming.

Not really knowing if your habits will change when you get your own place I think perhaps around a 100 GB (Gigabyte) plan should be adequate. I base this on around 30 days X 1.5 GB/streamed show + around 50 GB for other activities eg listening to Spotify, reading/sending Emails and other browsing.

The modems/routers in most cases are adequate and if you take a longer plan not a month to month plan, eg 12/24 months, many are supplied free. Just make sure you get one that has 4 wired ports and wireless. Most Smart TV’s these days can connect wirelessly but if you have a dedicated PC it is always better to connect the PC via wire if you can (more stable connection).

Price wise of the larger operators TPG probably is the best cost followed by Optus and finally Telstra. Smaller operators buy their bandwidth from the bigger players and may compete a bit better than Telstra so for example look at Belong (Telstra subsidiary) $55 a month on a 12 Month contract for 100 GB a mth with a Sagemcom Modem that is Wireless N band + 4 X 100 Mbps wired ports so will be more than you will need to stream Netfix. There are others such as Exetel, iiNet (now a subsidiary of TPG), Foxtel (which will get you their basic entertainment bundle as well). All of them have people who love them and hate them, but I do recommend you read about all of them online and see which one may fit you best (remembering you are going to see more complaints than you will see praise).

With the above you will need to pay for a phone line so sometimes getting a plan that includes phone and internet can be a better deal, you don’t have to use the phone so can just pick a cheap combined plan. For example TPG offers a 100 GB plan with phone for $50/month. This plan has peak and off peak limits so watch out for this (make sure the peak times and limits fit you). For $60/month you get unlimited data.

If you get a Naked ADSL plan this will be a bit dearer than a similar data allowance (this does not include the required phone line) plan but will be a bit faster and the phone line cost is included but has no actual phone voice connection. Naked uses the bandwidth of what would have been your phone voice connection to get higher speeds on your internet.

In the past I have used TPG, my Brother in law currently uses them. They can/will take a while to answer your support calls. Price was reasonable for the service I received and my B in L is happy with them.

I have used Optus, a close friend currently uses them and has advised that it is similar to TPG for support calls. Price was again reasonable. My friend is reasonably happy and has remained with them for years.

I have used Telstra, they were the highest cost but if I had a fault they responded the fastest. Long waits at times on phone if ringing for support.

Most if not all providers these days use overseas call centres and this can be a bit harrowing to deal with at times. If your need for support is easy then most get fixed reasonably fast but remember there have been bad outcomes for many users.

Currently I don’t have ADSL and a smaller provider supplies my internet via commercial wireless.

Some comparison sites for you to look at:

https://www.whistleout.com.au/Broadband



http://youcompare.com.au/homephone (click the phone & broadband link down the page)
or this one for pure broadband http://youcompare.com.au/broadband
http://www.comparebroadband.com.au/


#25

@grahroll, Well done on your multiple and very informative posts. I had 40 years in very high end computing and retired a few years back; your posts continue to be enlightening and often educational. Cheers,


#26

We have tried a few over the years, tpg, iprimus, iinet, and few local ons but went to Telstra a few years back and although it is the highest cost amongst peers, it has been rock solid, reliable and fast with typical speeds as tested using OOKLA from mid teens to the mid 20’s mps. We use netflix and foxtel, often simultaneously as my wife and I enjoy different shows and it can usually keep up although sometimes when the network is busy as in the evenings we can only use one at a time.
But we also have a latest generation fast wireless modern AC1750 I think.


#27

Telstra adsl2+ also gets my vote . Over the years it has been extremely reliable . I have good download speeds 17 - 22 mbps . They have always been great in the service department . Prompt and very efficient . Couple of years ago I needed to phone for medical assistance . Phone was dead , pre paid mobile recharge was broken . I got on my computer using my Telstra Mobile Cellnet Card a Netgear 320U , used voip to. explained the situation to them. They phoned an ambulance for me . A tech arrived within 10 minutes and repaired the phone line to get .Adsl 2+ working again .They recharged my mobile phone . I did not have to go to hospital . The tech was there with the paramedics . He asked me when a family member would be home . I said roughly 5 hours . Telstra phoned me every 1/2 hour or so to see that I was ok until a family member was with me . Long winded post but service like that deserves it .


#28

Hiya TillySouth

I have been with 4 different NBN providers and found Telstra to be the best.

I did not choose Telstra initially as it is a tad more expensive than the others. I had multiple problems with Dodo, TPG, iinet and Optus.
I must state I was looking for a provider who could offer a Bundled Service, one that included my home telephone as well as the Internet, and wanted unlimited FREE (included) local and national phone calls to mobiles as well as hardlines, as I live just outside the metro area as far as telephone calls are measured.

Telstra is the ONLY provider that could offer the service and allow me to keep my CURRENT telephone number.

All of the others required me to change my home phone number, which has been used for the last 52 years.

If you can not decide, I suggest you get all of the information from all of the different companies and decide exactly what it is that you want and need from an ISP provider…

I hope this helps!
Good luck in your quest!
Cheers Natalie :smile:


#29

Wow @gahroll this is such amazing advice, thank you so much for taking the time to write this up.

I’ve just looked it up and I’m only 700m from the exchange - here’s hoping for enough speed to watch Netflix without buffering (priorities!).

I’ll report back on how the sign up process goes, but right now I’ve narrowed it down to TPG, Belong and Spintel.


#30

I used Spintel a few years back on my way through trying to find a good ISP,
needless to say I would never ever use them again.


#31

Thanks @tndkemp.

I’ve taken the plunge and done the typical young person, single income thing and signed up for TPG.

I’ll be updating you all with my progress as hopefully it will be useful for others in the future! Here’s hoping it’s an easy setup…


#32

We’re on Naked ADSL2+ with iinet. We’ve been with iinet for just over 10 years. Based on our experience, I make the following observations which would be relevant for whichever provider you choose.

It can be very useful to speak to other ADSL2+ subscribers located nearby to determine what sort of speeds you should expect. During the last 10 years, we’ve only had a couple of occasions where our speeds have dropped very significantly and suddenly, eg downstream went from consistently stable 14Mb/s to very flaky 2-6Mb/s. The ISP (iinet in our case) won’t immediately lodge a fault with Telstra to rectify problems with the copper infrastructure. They’ll first engage VisionStream to investigate and confirm that there is a problem. Then the confirmed problem will be notified to Telstra.

Of course, I have no way to verify what VisionStream technicians have told me, but I note that different technicians have told me the same thing: for the speediest resolution, Telstra will swap out bad copper pairs from a customer that has complained, and give that pair to another customer (rather than repairing the faulty pair).

If you encounter a similar issue, the best course of action seems to be that you must be polite yet firm with the ISP’s call centre staff. They will be obliged to follow a script which includes requests that include power-cycling your modem, performing an isolation test, trying a different modem, and so on. If you are certain that there is a copper fault, you must break out of that scripted cycle, or you can waste hours or even days of your time. I know now that with iinet, I just need to explain that I’m a long-term subscriber, know enough about what my modem is telling me in terms of fault diagnosis, refuse to follow their script, and firmly insist on speaking to a supervisor.

Your ISP should have a good record of your connection stability and speeds over time, so if it suddenly goes bad, get them to look at that data. Also note whether the issue has coincided with a major weather event, such as heavy rains. Those Telstra cable pits out in the street can be poorly maintained in some cases, and your copper may end up getting wet or worse. ( One visiting VisionStream technician took the time to show me several pits on our street and explain the types of issues that crop up ).

Good luck and happy streaming !


#33

TPG has maps showing your distance from their DSLAM, and speeds to their customers. Every ISP should be required to publish these.
https://www.tpg.com.au/maps/

Click on a specific location on the map and it will show local speeds.


#34

@TheBBG that map is fantastic! Thanks for posting the link.


#35

@ScottOKeefe thanks for this - this is the problem we’re having at my current address. We think it’s the copper but the ISP consistently tries to throw us off. I reckon it’s been months of back and forth, including replacing the modem and it not improving. I’ll pass this on to my brother and let him know!


#36

A very good guide that I’ve used over there years is ADSL2 Exchanges
WIth NBN slowly rolling out, it will become less useful unfortunately. I haven’t yet seen anything similar for NBN.

Personal experience, I’ve been most happy with Internode. That said, I’m on the far end of the geek scale with some very, very specific networking needs that the main players won’t touch (FWIW, Internode got bought by Iinet, which then got bought by TPG).

TPG have had a very bad reputation for network quality in the past, though slowly getting better. If you’re not particularly technical, Telstra is usually the way to go (That’s what both my parents use) - particularly if you’re in regional areas.

If you’re having cable problems, get them to check if you’re in an area with Pair Gain enabled. Quite a lot of older suburbs have this, and it’s not very nice.

Last thing to add on the advice: Keep a spare old telephone around that you can plug into the wall. It will help with checking on line issues, even if you never normally use the phone number on the attached DSL (because, like many of us, we’re forced to pay for a product we don’t want).


#37

Quick update for everyone, signed up to TPG yesterday. Received a confirmation email, all very clear. Today I received a text to say they’d be by next week to set it up - which is really good considering I had been given an estimate of 2-3 weeks. They’ve let me know I don’t need to be home for the install too which is great.

I also received an email with tracking for my modem which is on its way in the mail too.

But most importantly… once I get it set up I’ll run a speed test and let you know how fast it is!


#38

Hi jcouch

You can ditch the phone component part and ask for Naked ADSL. You will still pay a price for the phone line that is built into the Naked cost but you should receive a speed boost to your internet as Naked will use the full bandwidth available on your line rather than having some set aside for the phone.


#39

NakedDSL is only available when your ISP runs their own DSLAMs in the local exchange, and in some cases as resellers of Optus access. Anywhere that a provider is running as a reseller of Telstra access, you won’t have the option to purchase Naked DSL. Unfortunately, that is most of Australia outside the small core around the big city centres. All this information about the exchange configuration can be found on the ADLS2 exchanges link I posted earlier.


#40

I have to slightly disagree with your post. Internode, iiNet, TPG are some of the providers of Naked plans, from the iiNet site FAQ on Naked (https://www.iinet.net.au/internet-products/broadband/naked-dsl/faq#toc_2) comes this:

"What are the requirements for Naked DSL?

Your physical phone line must be owned by Telstra, or a Telstra reseller.*" (my highlighting)