Watchdog urges households to check their internet costs

woman shocked at internet costs

NBN Co has gained approval for a change in broadband charges, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reports. That may mean some prices will come down – though it’s far more likely to result in another cost increase for households. 

The changes take effect from December 2023.

Remember, the price you pay for your broadband is set by your broadband provider, not by NBN Co.

Upward ‘creep’ of internet charges

It’s not unusual for broadband customers to pay more for your service than you actually need to. How many emails do you get from your ISP (and others) ‘advising you of changes to your account’? Your internet costs increase and you keep meaning to do some comparisons, but rarely do

You’re definitely not alone in this, but now’s the time to pay attention to the cost of your internet services.

Choosing a broadband provider

You’re usually looking for the fastest internet at the best possible price, right? A faster internet speed means you’re able to have more devices online at the same time, with no buffering.

Have a think about what ‘fast internet’ means for your household, specifically. Every household will have different needs – and should be paying very different bills.

For example, in a household of four people who regularly stream video, browse and enjoy online gaming for example, a speed of around 50Mbps would be a minimum requirement. There are 50Mbps plans available for as little as around $54 a month.

One person living alone and just browsing the internet each evening won’t need 50Mbps. There are plans for as little as $49 with enough speed to stream, browse and game.

Switching broadband providers

If you’re not on a contract, switching providers can be easy and quick. 

The ACCC is actively encouraging households to shop around for better deals.

“It has never been more important for consumers to compare prices between retailers to make sure they are getting a deal that represents good value for them,” says ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey. “There are significant price differences between retailers so it is worth seeing what other deals are available.”

It’s worth contacting your current broadband provider to check how much data you’re using per month.

Make sure you ask for a three or six-month average to get a realistic idea. Include at least one school holiday period as that’s the time when your maximum data limits are tested. Most families don’t use data to the same level once school terms are back.

Ask your provider whether you’re on the right deal for your household – and if you aren’t, ask for a better deal. There’s plenty of competition for broadband customers at the moment, so you have the power to switch to another provider if they won’t offer you any savings.

Kate Browne, head of research and insights at Compare Club, says current broadband deals aren’t always easy to understand. “Most of us couldn’t live without the internet at home. It’s now an essential service, just like energy, but understanding the plans on offer in the market for many people is just far too complicated.

“It’s easy to shop around for a better deal but for many Australians, they simply won’t know where to start in a market full of jargon and changing deals.”

How to switch providers without the hassle

Using a comparison service can take away the stress and complexity of comparing plans with various providers and too many buzzwords. “I’d urge people to do a quick comparison with an expert who can find out exactly who’s using your internet and how, as well as having good oversight of the offers in the market,” says Ms Browne.

The bottom line

There’s a good chance you’re already overpaying for your internet. Broadband prices are changing, and likely to rise. It’s wise to get some help comparing deals and working out what’s best for your household.

Do you monitor your internet costs? Do you shop around when you’re notified of an increase? Share your tips in the comments section below.

Also read: How to use Find My Device on iPhone and Android

This article originally appeared on Expert Analysis and is republished with permission.

Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for the ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

Disclaimer: YourLifeChoices is part of Compare Club Media.

Written by Gillian Clive

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One Comment

  1. City-centric like everything else. I live 50km from a major region city and have a satellite connection with a download speed of 3Mbps. Yes, 3. It takes 4 times as long to download a movie than it does to watch it. And forget streaming. My IP is constantly pushing plans with unlimited data but what’s the point if I can’t use it?

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