Picking an NBN provider can seem like an insurmountable task. NBN lists over 160 retail service providers for NBN products, and you can bet this list will get longer with time.
To help you get on top of this decision, we've put together a quick guide to help you spot the differences between providers when choosing a new NBN connection.
NBN Providers (most popular)
|NBN Provider||Plan Types||Prices from|
|Telstra||NBN 25 & 100||Plans from $75|
|Optus||NBN 12, 25 & 100||Plans from $60|
|TPG||NBN 12, 25 & 100||Plans from $49.99|
|Belong||NBN 12, 25 & 100||Plans from $50|
|MyNetFone||NBN 12, 25 & 100||Plans from $49.99|
|Spintel||NBN 12, 25, 50 & 100||Plans from $39.95|
|Dodo||NBN 12, 25 & 100||Plans from $29.90|
Most searched for NBN providers on WhistleOut between January to December 2016.
How to choose an NBN provider?
When you consider that all NBN service providers tap into the same core network, it makes it easier to compare the providers on an even playing field. The NBN owns and manages all equipment right up to your house, so there are no differences in the quality of equipment to take into account.
This means that you are pretty much free to compare the price and inclusions in NBN plans without having to worry about other elements beyond your control. When weighing up the value in an NBN plan, consider the following:
- Speed of the connection - slower NBN12 plans will always be cheaper than faster NBN 25, NBN50 or NBN 100 plans
- Amount of data included - unlimited plans offer piece of mind, but you may be able to save some money with a plan that included a limit on how much you can download
- Included phone calls - if you need a home phone, there are plenty of NBN plans with included calls to Australian phone numbers
- Bundle Entertainment - certain top-tier providers will add services like Foxtel or Fetch TV to your monthly bill
- Contracts - if you'd prefer to avoid a long-term contract, most providers now offer monthly plans. The trade-off is usually that you will pay higher setup costs with no-contract plans
What to look out for?
While we say above that all providers operate on the same level playing field, they do make other important decisions that can have an impact on the performance of your connection.
Connectivity Virtual Circuit or CVC is a charge that providers pay NBN which relates to the capacity on the network that providers can offer their customers. Think of it like the size of the pipe that providers connect their customers to. Providers that underpay for CVC have a smaller pipe to connect customers to, and you might experience congestion as a customer of these providers if too many of your neighbours are sharing this limited resource.
It is impossible to know how much 'pipe' each provider has to offer, but you might be able to get an idea of the network performance by looking up customer feedback on online forums, like Whirlpool. You might also assume that providers with cheaper plans will pay a lower CVC, but this isn't necessarily the case.
Home network image via Shutterstock