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Broadband for Regional Areas

posted Jul 2, 2011, 5:25 PM by Daryl du Plessis   [ updated Jul 2, 2011, 5:42 PM ]
There are many options when considering a broadband plan. Generally speaking broadband can come in the form of ADSL, Cable, Fibre, Wireless or Satellite. Your location will determine what is available. For ADSL you will need to be within 5KMs of the phone exchange; fibre and cable are only available in certain estates and newer developments; wireless is generally available wherever you can get a mobile signal and satellite is the failsafe that is available just about anywhere.  The NBN is expanding the reach nationally of fibre, next generation wireless and satellite and will be rolled out over the next 8 years. Each technology has its own limits and benefits but I would rate fibre as the best choice then ADSL and cable, wireless and then satellite in that order.
 
An easy way to find out which providers and technology you have access to is via the broadband choice website at http://bc.whirlpool.net.au/. There you can search for plans based on your landline phone number or other criteria if you don’t have a landline. Some criteria that you may consider are: the monthly cost, contract length, hardware provided, quota allowed (how much you can download and upload) and connection speed. Some plans will shape your connection speed (reduce it to a slower speed) if you go over your quota, others will keep the same speed but charge a fee per GB used over your quota. Be aware that most providers will charge a setup fee and these can vary in price. The contract terms can vary from 1 month to 2 years and if you plan on moving before your contract expires, you may need to pay a termination fee. Another catch is that some plans have free uploads (for instance for sending email and uploading videos etc) and others will count the uploads as part of the quota.
 
Lastly, if you have limited access to broadband, you may qualify for a subsidy under the federal government Australian Broadband Guarantee program. The link below provides more information on these subsidies.
 
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