Updated: $50 unbundled ADSL2+ plans compared

We compare best ADSL2+ plans from 10 Australian ISPs

We've scoured the details of broadband plans offered by Australia's most popular ISPs to see what $50 can get you if you're after a basic, unbundled ADSL2+ plan. While you can receive better data allowances and lower overall monthly charges if you bundle your phone services with an ADSL2+ plan, sometimes changing phone carriers is out of the question (you might live at home with your parents, for example).

The following table shows what you can expect to get for around $50 and includes any caveats you need to know about, such as uploads counting toward your data allowance, as well as peak and off-peak times and if the ISP supports Fast Transfer. (If two ISPs support Fast Transfer, then you can switch from one to the other without notifying your current ISP; the change can be made within a few days and usually involves a reduced setup cost. You will still need to check if your current ISP supports Fast Transfer to the ISP you wish to switch to.) The setup costs we've included are for BYO modems only. If you want your ISP to supply you with a modem, this will increase the setup cost.

(At the time of writing, Optus is the only ISP not to offer an unbundled broadband plan.)

$50 unbundled ADSL2+ plans
ISP and
plan name
Setup feeFast
50% off-peak*
10am-2am2am-10amNo**Yes$69 with 6-month contract,
$119 without a contract
LiveNet 40 - Unlimited
$49.9540GB peak,
unlimited off-peak
8am-2am2am-8amYes, 256Kbps***Yes$100 with 24-month contract,
prorated termination fee up to $300
Elite ADSL
$492GBn/an/a64KbpsNo$99 with 12-month contract,
free with 24-month contract
$44.9010GB peak,
10GB off-peak
$69.99 with 12-month contract,
free with 24-month contract
$5060GB peak,
180GB off-peak
8am-2am2am-8amYes, 512Kbps******Yes$95 with 12-month contract,
$100 cancellation fee
Home 3
$49.9525GB peak,
25GB off-peak
8am-2am2am-8amYes, 128KbpsYes$79.95Yes
$49.9530GBn/an/aYes, 128KbpsYes$129,
$79 with 24-month contract
Lite (Zone 1)
$49.9510GB peak,
10GB off-peak
10am-2am2am-10amYes, 128KbpsYes$118,
$59 with 12-month contract,
free with 24-month contract
ADSL2+ Super 40 Anytime
$49.9540GBn/an/aYes, 56KbpsNo$149,
$99 with 6-month contract,
$59 with 12-month contract,
free with 24-month contract
Super Fast Standard/130
$49.9570GB peak,
60GB off-peak
8am-2am2am-8amYes, 1MbpsYes$59 with 12-month contract,
free with 18-month contract

*aaNet counts 80GB as one data block, but will only count 50 per cent of any data that you download in the off-peak period. For example, if you download 40GB during the peak period and another 40GB in off-peak time, you will have only used 60GB of your 80GB quota.
**Excess usage is $3 per gigabyte
***Speed reduced in both peak and off-peak when peak data allocation is exhausted.
*****18 cents megabyte up to $69.90; additional data blocks can be purchased for each peak period.
******Up to another 30GB at which point access is blocked; there is an option to switch to an excess data payment of 50 cents per gigabyte.

From the table, you can see that some ISPs include uploaded data in their allowance. This means you might quickly run out of quota if you're a regular YouTube contributor, for example. BigPond's plan is one example of this, and it's a poor plan to begin with, offering only 2GB for your $49.95 outlay if you don't have a Telstra phone line. However, the company does provide better value (to the tune of 50GB for $49.95) if you bundle your home phone with it.

Perhaps the most enticing plan on the table is Exetel's ADSL2 AAC plan, with which you can download all you want during the off-peak time. Likewise, AAPT's offering is a good one with the same unlimited off-peak period. In fact, even without the lure of unlimited off-peak data, the Exetel and AAPT plans stack up well against the likes of iiNet and Internode.

If peak and off-peak times don't appeal to you, then aaNet's 80GB for $49.90 is an interesting proposition. Only 50 per cent of any data downloaded during the off-peak period is counted toward your quota. This means you can get more than 80GB out of that plan if you schedule all your downloads for the off-peak interval. The only downside is that if you go over 80GB, you have to pay an extra $3 per gigabyte.

Overall, we think TPG's offering is the best choice. It provides 10GB more data for the peak period than the other ISPs, and even if you go over that amount your download speed is capped at a still healthy 1 megabits per second. The TPG plan also offers a static IP address and the setup fee is waived if you sign on for 18 months.

Taking into consideration the quota, shaping speed, setup fee and free upload traffic, we'd rank these $50 unbundled plans as follows:


(Of course, numbers don't always tell the full story: ISPs can often have wildly different levels of customer service and reliability, so buyer beware.)

Are you on an unbundled broadband plan? Do you agree with our rankings? Should aaNet be higher up? Did we leave out any relevant ISPs? Leave a comment below.

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Elias Plastiras

Elias Plastiras

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