Since online activities are a big part of our day-to-day lives, it’s no surprise that business owners and homeowners consider choosing an internet subscription an important decision. After all, picking the wrong one can mean shelling out more cash than you intended per month if you’re not careful, or you could end up paying for something you don’t use very often. It doesn’t help that many registered internet service providers and resellers are offering pretty tempting NBN deals.
With so many players in the game, and a number of factors to consider, how should you go about choosing the best subscription for you? Here are a few tips to help you out.
Keep Your Needs In Mind
The first step to picking the right subscription is to think about what you and other people in your household use the internet for.
Casual surfers are those who just go online to check their email, surf the Web, check their social media accounts and watch the occasional YouTube video. Online gamers, as the name implies, use the Web largely for their games; the same goes for video streaming enthusiasts. Social networkers are somewhere in the middle, using the Web casually in most areas except when it comes to social media accounts.
It’s also important to consider the ages of those you live with, since different age groups don’t spend the same amount of time online. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 15-24 year olds spent the most time online, at around 70 hours per month. Those aged 45-65 – and up – spent the least, with about 32 hours per month, and those aged 25-44 spent about 40 hours per month online.
You’ll want to take a similar approach when analysing your business’s internet needs, and instead of looking at how long each employee is online, look at your online usage as a group. A business with only the basic online activities as part of their day-to-day workings will need lower bandwidth than one whose online activities are the core of their everyday operations.
Look at the Speed and Latency
NBN plans typically centre around five speed tiers, each with different upload/download speeds. The first – and lowest tier has a download speed of 12Mbps and an upload speed of 1Mbps, which is sufficient for the casual online user. If your online tasks are more data-intensive, you’ll want to consider getting a plan from one of the higher speed tiers.
These different speed tiers are the reason you need to consider the internet use patterns of your household or business. Even when just one or two out of the group use the internet heavily, you’d still want to meet their needs and so choose a speed tier based on that.
For example, if your household has a social networker, an online gamer, and two social networkers, you’ll want to consider a Tier 5 plan, with its upload/download speed of 100/40Mbps. Businesses that constantly use video conferencing platforms like Zoom can’t go wrong with either a Tier 4 or Tier 5 plan.
Consider Pricing and Customer Satisfaction
We know that the internet isn’t the only utility bill you have to pay each month, and if you can get more than one service from one provider, it may be worth it. Even if you don’t get that, opt for a provider with a history of great customer service and customer satisfaction. That way, you’ll avoid any potential headaches in the future.
To start narrowing down the list of providers, look for those with good coverage in your area. Then look at their subscription plans for the speed tier you want.
Remember, though, that each plan involves different cost elements like the upfront cost, monthly fees, and a possibly minimum contract period ranging anywhere from one to 24 months. So instead of looking at the monthly fees, it’s a better idea to look at the total cost for a 24-month subscription with each provider you’re considering, then comparing those costs.