What To Look For In NBN

How to choose the right one…

I need to start by saying I’m biased when it comes to NBN providers, so when I talk about my favourite NBN provider, it isn’t meant to be a recommendation, it’s just the one I’ve gone with.

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself about an NBN service, and your answers will help you to choose the right provider.

  1. What do I need the Internet for?
  2. How much data do I need?
  3. Do I need a phone as well?
  4. Should I lock into a contract?
  5. How good is the support/customer service if I have a problem?
  6. Will I use the Internet to watch Netflix on my TV?
  7. Where can I find reviews about different NBN providers?
  8. What are the set-up costs?

Most seniors only use an Internet connection to check their email, see what the grandkids are up to on Social Media, Google the weather and watch ‘how to’ videos on YouTube.

So how much data do we need, how much will it cost, and which company is the best NBN option for us?

The Phone Issue

Since landlines, as we knew them, were phased out a couple of years ago, a home phone is now delivered via the Internet. Our home phones are now reliant on an Internet connection rather than a couple of copper wires, as they were in the past.

If you have a home phone in your unit, you will no doubt have a modem as well. The modem plugs into the place your old landline used to be plugged in, and then the phone plug goes into the back of the modem. And your phone is more than likely connected through Telstra, just like it used to be.

And there is nothing wrong with Telstra – except the cost, and possibly their customer support.

With so many great mobile deals around, you may not even need a home phone. A lot of people now use a mobile phone for all calls.

NBN Roll-Out

The roll-out of the NBN has given us more options. There are probably more companies now than we’ve ever had who are willing to supply our Internet connection.

Once we’ve worked out how much data we need, we can start looking for the right company to provide the Internet.

This can be a daunting task because there are so many companies.

If you need unlimited data, then Google something like:


Read the fine print on any recommendations.

Telstra comes out on top on a lot of surveys, but Telstra is expensive. They don’t have a lock-in contract but if you leave them within 24 months, you will have to pay some costs associated with the supply of the modem. And if you have any problems with a Telstra service you can be on the phone for hours trying to get it sorted out – and even then you may not be successful. If you visit a Telstra store to speak to someone, remember to phone them first for an appointment – you can’t just walk in and speak to a consultant, like we used to.

I don’t know if they still do, but Telstra used to charge $10 per GB if you went over your data limit.

What Do I Think?

I only have experience with the company I have been with since the NBN arrived at Mountain View.

iiNet/Westnet offer a Senior Plan for $39.99 a month for 50GB of data. You won’t run out of data – they simply ‘shape it’, which probably means they slow your Internet down.

There is a two-year contract with the Senior Plan, but I have been told that the only time they would enforce that contract is if you leave to go with a different provider.

When you have a problem with your service, you can call the company and speak to someone in South Africa. Their customer service is the best I’ve ever encountered with an Internet provider. Having said that, if you need to speak to tech support for a more complicated issue, then you might be transferred to someone with an accent that might be a little more difficult to understand. But most problems are handled adequately by the support team in South Africa.

I have had very few outages with iiNet – maybe two or three in as many years but I usually get a message to let me know the service is down, and it is very quickly restored.

I have an unlimited plan and have opted for a faster speed than average because I have four websites that I blog on (not often enough lately….), one of them being this one.

The Internet connection we have here in the Community Centre is with iiNet and has so far been very reliable.

And on that note, we should all be making good use of the Internet in the Community Centre. If you have to download an update to your iDevice (iPad/tablet/phone/laptop), do it here – use this data.

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