Questions to ask the ISP
Is this service available in my area?
The best way to check whether a broadband service is available in your area is via an ISP's Web site. Telstra, OzEmail, Optus and iPrimus for example, all have facilities on their Web sites which will allow you to enter your phone number or postcode and see whether you can receive their chosen services.
For a complete list of broadband providers in Australia, check out the Broadband Choice Web site: bc.whirlpool.net.au.
How much does it cost to install?
Installation prices will depend on a range of conditions, including whether you install the service yourself or opt for a technician; how long you sign up to the plan; what modem you choose (for example, if you select a 1- or 4-port ADSL modem, or if you buy a modem independently of the ISP) and any additional equipment you need (such as a Ethernet card, additional phone line filters or splitter).
Several broadband ISPs have also been actively promoting self-installation ADSL packages, which not only save subscribers from the hassle of waiting for a professional technician to come out to their home, but also reduce the cost of installing ADSL services.
ADSL broadband in a box
A range of ADSL services have now been introduced as bundled broadband packages available from retailers such as Harvey Norman and Dick Smith Electronics' shelves.
Much like purchasing a prepaid mobile phone, these broadband in a box bundles provide subscribers with an approved selection of modems, service plan, and one fixed IP address and are targeted at home and SME users. If you're confident you can install the service yourself, or you need the static IP address, this option may be a good one for you.
What are the download limits per month?
Most broadband services are now capped at a certain amount of download capacity per month, which means you will be charged an additional amount for any excess downloads (usually around 15 cents per megabyte). Some service providers however, such as Optus, offer uncapped plans which do not charge for additional usage, but instead reduce in speed as users exceed their monthly limit. This is worth looking into if you think you are likely to go over your specified download limit.
The download limit is determined by the plan you sign up for. Plans for both ADSL services and cable in the residential space range from 300MB download limits per month, to up to 10GB (and of course, the more download bandwidth you require, the higher the monthly usage charge). Make sure you check these limits thoroughly before subscribing to a service.
Note: Some ISPs will also charge for upstream traffic. If you are planning to upload a lot of data onto the Internet (running a Web site for example), you're best to check out what the ISP's policy is regarding uploading information before you sign on the dotted line.