What NBN plan do you need and how much should it cost?


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We increasingly rely on internet-driven tools and appliances as part of our modern lifestyle - and having the right NBN speed helps everything run smoothly. Better still, a decent speed doesn't have to break the budget.

These days, most NBN plans have unlimited downloads. That's great news for consumers, and it has allowed the proliferation of so-called smart appliances that make life easier and more interesting.

The catch is that we now tend to have multiple devices drawing on solid chunks of data at the same time. This highlights the need for sufficient NBN speed to manage this demand.

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Sluggish internet speeds can mean music streaming won't play. Your favourite streamed movie may be interrupted by slow buffering. And uploading files can be an eye-wateringly slow process.

All this can be avoided by having the NBN speed that meets your needs.

How much speed is right for you?

The speed of an NBN connection is measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). If you have a 50 Mbps connection for instance, data is transferring to your devices at twice the speed of a 25 Mbps connection.

But it's not just about the speed of data transfer. The higher the speed, the more devices you can have connected to the internet without buffering delays.

If you live on your own, maybe work from home occasionally, and like to watch Netflix, a plan offering 25 Mbps may be sufficient. If you're a keen gamer, you might want to upgrade to a 50 Mbps plan.

However, if you're a family household with four or more devices connected to the internet, you're likely to need a faster speed.

Frankly, if you share your home with teenagers, it can be worth heading straight to a 50 Mbps - or even 100 Mbps plan. Few things can be a greater source of angst for teens than slow buffering especially if they're about to score a victory on Fortnite.

Adjusting NBN speeds should be hassle-free

Even if you don't have teens, the reality is that we are using ever-increasing amounts of data.

More's most popular NBN speed used to be 25 Mbps. These days, 50 Mbps is the top pick, closely followed by 100 Mbps. I can see the time coming when 100 Mbps - or even faster, is the go-to speed.

If you are unsure about which speed to opt for, the good news is that you shouldn't have to lock into a slow speed, or be stuck paying more for a higher speed that's not really warranted.

All of More's plan are no-contract, and many other providers offer this flexibility. It makes it easy to upgrade or downgrade your plan from month to month, letting you finetune your NBN speed without penalty.

How much should you pay for NBN?

The faster your NBN speed, the higher the cost. That said, NBN services in Australia typically take up just 1.1% of average household income. So internet access shouldn't be a budget-buster regardless of the speed you choose.

When it comes to how much you can expect to pay, there is a wide range of variations between providers.

Around 200 telcos operate in the Aussie market. This creates plenty of competition and has helped to bring prices down.

However, not all services will be available in your area. This is something to check by entering your address on an NBN provider's website.

What is more certain, is that with so many providers, it is definitely worth looking beyond the market giants such as Telstra. Smaller providers can offer very competitive deals.

It's also important to take advantage of any sweeteners to pocket significant savings.

As a guide, Commonwealth Bank customers who sign up to More receive 30% off NBN plans for 12 months.

This cuts the cost of our 25 Mbps plan from $66 monthly to $46.20. On our 50Mbps plan the cost is reduced from $77 each month to $53.90. And on our XXL Speed Boost NBN with typical evening speeds of 92 Mbps, CommBank customers pay $69.30 rather than the standard rate of $99 per month.

It's worth stressing that you are not locked into these plans for a specific term.

If you find 25 Mbps just isn't fast enough for your needs, it takes only a few minutes to adjust your plan in the More customer portal and switch to 50 Mbps. And for a bit extra each month, that increase in speed can be worth its weight in household harmony.

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Andrew Branson is CEO of More and Tangerine, two Australian-based telecommunication providers he co-founded with his brother Richard in 2013. Andrew is an expert on the telco industry including the NBN.