Australia may lag in broadband standards but with the NBN rollout in full swing, our digital future looks bright. But will it save us money?
After what seems like endless discussion and headlines, the National Broadband Network (NBN) is finally rolling out across the country, and will keep doing so over the next seven years.
Announced as an election promise in 2007 by then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, the NBN is a nationwide, high-speed broadband service that’s estimated to reach 93 per cent of Australian homes by 2020 using the latest in fibre optic, satellite and wireless technology (the remaining 7 per cent of homes will be covered by satellite and wireless connections).
According to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, the NBN will deliver speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second, 10 times faster than initial projections of 100Mbps.
But the big question on everyone’s lips is: How much will access to this new super-duper internet cost?
Australian home internet costs are already some of the most expensive in the world and the largely taxpayer-funded NBN won’t come for free. How much you will pay will depend on who you choose as your internet provider.
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Chances are, your current telco will offer a variety of NBN plans and bundles, but your best bet will be to use a price comparison website to get the best deal.
Exetel, Internode, iiNet and iPrimus have all released NBN plans that are between 24 and 43 per cent less expensive per gigabyte than current ADSL2+ and phone-line rental plans.
Some entry-level NBN services start from less than $40 per month, but be aware there may be data limits, and connection and equipment fees.
So what is the point of the $43 billion dollar world-class telecommunications network?
In its initial pitch to tax-payers, Mr Conroy stated the NBN would save Australians $2.4 billion per year in time saving activities “if the number of households connected to the internet increased by 10 percentage points.” Those savings are expected to come in many forms including new opportunities in healthcare, education and aged care services.
For business, Senator Conroy predicts a dramatic surge in productivity through new online business opportunities and smarter, faster and less expensive operating procedures.
Opportunities for telecommuting and working from home are also predicted to increase and job seekers too would have greater opportunities to find employment. For consumers, more competitive online shopping will mean more savings.
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Aside from the money saving implications, however, the faster connection also has lifestyle benefits. Users will be able download movies in minutes rather than hours and multiple activities can occur in the one home at the same time with no reduced speed.
For example: someone can watch HD internet TV while a large file downloads within seconds on the computer at the same time as movie streams on to a games console.
Forget the money you’ll save, think of the arguments it will stop!
To find out if your area is next in line for the NBN go to www.nbnco.com.au
To compare broadband service providers and prices in your area perform a quick broadband search on Moneyhound.com.au
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