Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  Choosing The Right ISP Plan

Choosing The Right ISP Plan

Tags : 

Go back in time about a dozen years, and the majority of Australian Internet users were on dialup. Speeds, to put it kindly, weren’t great, but we were at least (largely) removed from the era where ISPs gave you a set number of hours of dialup time. You might be disconnected at “peak times” if you’d been connected for too long — or if a random seagull landed on a line somewhere, or something — but you could, for the most part, download as much as your poky 56kbps connection could handle.

These days, the majority of Internet users in Australia are on a broadband connection of some kind, but (again, with certain exceptions) those plans are limited by the quantity of data you’re permitted to shift around. Downloads isn’t quite the right word there; the vast majority of plans count any data you upload against your quota. This makes picking a plan with enough data a rather vital consideration. Choose too little, and you’ll either pay hefty excess fees (especially for mobile broadband) or get shaped down to speeds last seen in the dialup era. Choose too much, and you’re paying for data you’ll never use.

How much data does the average Australian use, anyway? The latest figures from the Australian Communications And Media Authority (ACMA) paint an interesting picture. Its latest report (which can be found here: http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_410070) suggests that in the December 2010 quarter, the average fixed line (that’s ADSL, ADSL2+ and Cable) connection downloaded 18.8GB of data; that’s a little over 6GB per month for the quarter. Switch to a mobile broadband service and the figures tumble down to around half a gigabyte per month. Whether that’s to do with the higher cost of mobile broadband or its sometimes spotty availability is rather hard to say, but I’d bet more on the former case.

That’s a whole lot of streaming video, or if you’re feeling uncharitable, a lot of torrented episodes of Top Gear, and undoubtedly there are edge cases on both sides of the equation; those folks who consistently use their entire massive quota each month, and those who only scrape through on a few megabytes here and there. The latter case customers are the ones that ISPs love, by the way, as they’re both far more profitable and less hassle. If every user tried to access their full data quota each and every month, most ISPs would simply collapse; like mobile telephony it’s built on a slightly oversold premise.

The broadband usage figures are interesting, but what’s their take-home value? Most ISPs will allow you to view a rough breakdown of your ongoing figures, and if you’re paying for a connection you barely touch the edges of, it’s well worth examining if you can switch down a pricing tier. That 6GB per month figure seems like a good base point to grow up from, bearing in mind that vital upgrades such as operating system patches and Antivirus software signature upgrades can rather easily eat up a few GB each month by themselves if things get busy. That’s without ever touching a single Web page, and as I’ve covered before, it’d be a very bad idea to leave your PC unpatched and unprotected.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Recent News

pc-clean

Most people, if given the choice, will try to skip out on doing the evening dishes, or for that matter even loading a dishwasher. It’s not exactly the most thrilling of chores to undertake, but if you don’t clean your dishes somehow, everything ends up dirty and unusable. It’s much the same story for your… More 

fb

Facebook is a service beloved by many, because it makes it so very easy to keep in touch with friends, family, acquaintances and more in an environment that’s generally easy to use and that can be quite fun. It’s one of the world’s busiest web sites, and one of the tech world’s most valuable companies…. More 

browsers

The chances are good that when you browse the web, you’re doing so via Google’s own particular browser, Google Chrome. Chrome has anywhere between 47% to 60% of the browser market sewn up. That might not seem that impressive, but the next largest market share is usually given to Apple’s Safari browser at between 13%… More 

mackeyboarda

Apple sells itself as a premium brand, both in style terms, but also for the quality of the computing equipment it sells. That’s a proposition that can very much become quasi-religious for some folks, although few would suggest that Apple sells bad computing equipment. Wherever you sit on that spectrum, there’s no doubting that consumers… More