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Broadband Hacks for Cheaper Internet

If you’re searching for the cheapest broadband deal, Canstar Blue reveals a few broadband hacks to cut the cost of your plan.

Home internet bills can add up over time, so you want to ensure you’re getting bang for your internet buck and the cheapest broadband deal. Canstar Blue reveals a few broadband hacks to cut the cost of your plan.

First and foremost, this means identifying your broadband requirements, shopping around, comparing offers from a variety of providers, and ensuring you’re on a suitable plan. There are also a number of other factors that are worthwhile weighing up when it comes to cutting costs.

Last year’s Commerce Commission Annual Telecommunications Monitoring Report shows home broadband prices are on the rise. There was little variation in the costs for entry level (60GB at 10Mbps) and light user (150GB at 30Mbps) plans year-on-year. However, medium-user (unlimited, 500GB at 100Mbps) and high-user (unlimited, 500GB at 800Mbps) plans rose $13 and $17, respectively.

In the following guide, we look at:

Broadband hacks: How fast is fast enough?

As a first step, you should determine your broadband plan requirements. Essentially, you should be asking, “How fast is fast enough?” Once you’ve settled on a suitable speed, you’ll be able to compare appropriate plans for your household.

Of course, faster plans come with higher price tags. For this reason, it’s important not to sign up for a plan if you’ll not make use of the speeds on offer. Often, a lower speed plan will get the job done.

Also keep in mind that if you’re on an open-term plan, you’ll be able to change plans and providers from one month to the next if you’re not happy with the speeds provided (as we look at below).

In weighing up your speed requirements keep the following in mind:

  • Services – what range of online services will you be using on a regular basis? Will you be going heavy on 4K streaming and other data-intensive services?
  • Number of people – how many people in your household will typically be connecting at the same time?
  • Number of devices – from smartphones to smart TVs, gaming consoles and smart appliances, how many devices will be regularly accessing your household’s broadband connection?

In addition to the above, it could well be worthwhile using an online bandwidth calculator to help gain an understanding of your broadband needs.

Broadband hacks: How much data do you need?

These days most broadband plans come with unlimited data. However, there are still some options available for lighter data users. It may well be that you simply require a data-light plan to cover the basics.

If this is the case, you may be able to sign up for a cheaper broadband plan. For instance, if you’re only using 50GB of data per month, you’ll very much be at the lighter end of the usage spectrum, and it could be worthwhile exploring plans with data caps.

However, keep in mind that there is often little difference in costs between unlimited usage plans and capped plans. The key price differentiator is typically the broadband speed.

Also keep in mind that if you exceed the data limit on a capped plan and require extra data, there will be additional costs involved.

Make the switch with open-term plans

If you sign up for a fixed-term plan, you’ll be locked in with one provider. You may be able to change plans with the provider itself, but you probably won’t be able to switch to a competitor without paying an exit fee.

However, many providers offer open-term plans. This means you pay for your broadband on a month-by-month basis. If you’re keen to switch to a competitor, you’ll be able to do so at relatively short notice.

You can use this type of flexibility to your advantage if another provider is offering a better deal for your household. Of course, before switching, it will also be worthwhile seeing if your current provider can match a competitor’s deal.

In short, don’t be afraid to make the switch. If you’re on an open-term plan, keep an eye out for deals, and make sure your household is on the best plan available.

Broadband hacks: A BYO router provides flexibility

You should keep router costs in mind when weighing up the upfront costs of signing up for a plan. Routers can vary significantly in price, and it is worthwhile matching a router to your household’s individual requirements.

Many providers offer routers with their plans. You may have the option of purchasing a router upfront on an open-term plan, or of paying for a router on a monthly basis over the course of a fixed-term plan.

Alternatively, you may choose to use a BYO router. If you already have your own router, this will offer flexibility when it comes to changing plans. However, you should confirm with any potential provider that your router will be compatible.

Broadband bundle discounts

These days there are all sorts of bundle deals available that can be harnessed to help reduce your monthly broadband costs. You’ll need to weigh up the full scope of your household’s needs and match the various services on offer to your requirements.

Many providers bundle broadband with electricity services, and this could be a good starting point. Or it could be that you’re looking to match your mobile service with a broadband plan. It may well be that you’re able to secure a monthly discount.

Of course, as with regular broadband plans, if you are looking to bundle services, it’s worthwhile shopping around.

Related article: Best Broadband Bundles

Broadband hacks: Other discounts

Other broadband discounts may come in the form of sign-up incentives, such as a monthly discount for a set period of time. For instance, a provider may offer discounted services for customers who sign up to a fixed-term plan.

With this type of deal, you’ll need to weigh up the long-term value provided by a plan. Upfront discounts are great, but you want to ensure that the value is ongoing, be it six, 12 or 24 months down the track.

Also, keep in mind that if you’re locked into a contract you won’t be able to switch providers if something better comes along.

Some providers also offer loyalty programs. These types of programs generally suit proactive shoppers, and if you’re keen to engage, you may well be able to secure additional value over the longer term.

Cut back on the extras

Do you really need a landline? Chances are you mainly use your mobile these days, in which case paying an additional monthly fee for a home phone that will rarely be used probably won’t be necessary.

The same goes for various other extras, such as music and video streaming services, that may seem good in theory, but which after a period of time may rarely be used. You will need to look to the long term in determining whether these types of extras will deliver value.

Keep in mind that this works both ways. If you are planning on using an added service over the longer term, and would be using it regardless, chances are you’ll be able to get it at a discounted rate when paired with a broadband plan.

It’s about more than just the cheapest broadband plans

Ultimately, if you’re after the cheapest broadband plan, it’s always worth shopping around. And don’t forget to check the small print. Locking yourself into a two-year deal at a fixed price might be a good deal now. But will it still offer good value 24 months from now, especially if you foresee your needs changing?

And while bundling broadband and power can offer tempting discounts, it’s only a good deal if both services come at reduced prices.

Customer service is also a huge consideration. If you’re not a tech wizard, it’s reassuring to know that your provider offers great technical advice to ensure your broadband is always up and running.

About the author of this page

 Martin KovacsThis report was written by Canstar author Martin Kovacs. Martin is a freelance writer with experience covering the business, consumer technology and utilities sectors. Martin has written about a wide range of topics across both print and digital publications, including the manner in which industry continues to adapt and evolve amid the rollout of new technologies

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