Surfin’ Australia

Today I want to talk about surfin’.



Image Courtesy of monkeyc

No, not that surfin’ – the other one!

For some people, one of the first considerations when moving to a new home, let alone to a new country, is “can I get an Internet connection?” – so I thought this may be of interest to you.

There is a bit of a political debate going on at present about Australia’s plans for high speed broadband. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was in Tasmania earlier this month to promote the launch of the project which is being rolled out there first.

Back in the UK I had an Internet connection with a company called which cost me £22.95 per month. Here, I use a company called TPG and it costs me $49.95 per month. I am convinced my  connection speed here is much faster than I used to get back in England. What I currently get from TPG is about 2.5 Mb per second on what they call ADSL2.

Mind you, that wasn’t available when we first got here back in November 2007. I did have to wait until April for our area to get hooked up. So before that happened I had to use dial up. That was slow. Very slow. So it probably does very much depend on where you are in Australia.

Having said that, Kevin Rudd has claimed we have slower broadband connections here in Australia than anywhere else in the western world. So he has given the green light to a project to install high speed broadband, the Rolls-Royce of Internet connections, throughout Australia.

Apparently, 1.5 Mb per second is the average broadband connection speed here, and 12 Mb per second the average in the rest of the western world. But high speed broadband will offer connection speeds of up to 100 Mb per second, and this project aims to deliver that to 90% of Australian homes. With those sort of speeds, a standard definition film could be downloaded in eight minutes instead of about an hour.

So what is the debate? Kevin Rudd says the project, called the National Broadband Network, will cost around $43 billion (gulp) to complete the work and customers will probably have to pay around $100 a month for the service. His opponents say it will cost much more than that resulting in $200 month charges which customers would not be prepared to pay.

Either way it’s not worth getting excited about yet. The whole project is going to take eight years or so to complete. But if you have heard those claims that Australia’s broadband connections are the worst in the western world, I shouldn’t worry too much. I use the Internet a lot and and I am more than happy with my broadband connection. Your Facebook will live on.

But do remember, Australia is famous for a different kind of surfing.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Andy Lee April 12, 2017, 12:00 am |

    We arrived in Brisbane a month ago and just wanted others who are arriving to know that we had an absolutely terrible experience with trying to get connected to broadband with Telstra, we opted for them as they are the biggest company, and I needed connecting to broadband quickly for work. However, they have consistently lied about when we would be connected; receive our router and when our Foxtel would be connected. Every single person we have spoken to has pretty much contradicted everyone else we spoke to and we were no where being connected after almost 4 weeks when we were told we would be connected within 48 hrs! The pathetic excuses and damn right lies and contradictions were incredible, which like them I told them I had recorded as proof. They made my awful experience with BT look good! We have cancelled and cant even get that right! my initial though was gross incompetence, however I believed they lied about cancelling us, as we have just received an email saying we have just joined a new entertainment package when in fact we have just cancelled one! I think it is a vain attempt to keep us on or charge us! We shared this with colleagues at work and it seems Telstra are renowned for this! they said it would likely be the worst experience we would have with a company in Australia!!
    We tried Optus and we were told our line is RDSL which apparently means that Telstra owns the line and that they have to pay Telstra to use the line! and this meant it would cost us an extra $40 a month on top of their standard product! So we searched the net and came across Nextalk, they only use an Oz based call centre which after our experiences with Telstra was most welcome! I have to say from the minute we spoke to them it was night and day with the service we got from Telstra, they answered all our questions before we asked them as if they knew what we would ask! I was sceptical about the promises they made, however they delivered everyone of them! It was truly amazing, they told us when we got connected, within 3 days! and we did it in 2! they gave us an approximation of when the modem would arrive (3-5 days from order) and it did arrive on day 3, and with tracking notification via text. We bought their modem to avoid any potential aggro which was similar priced to shop bought ones but with theirs they can dial in to if you have any probs. It was plug and play and indeed it was, when it worked I kissed the modem today!! nextalk don’t do Foxtel but I’ve noticed most of the programmes we like Blindspot, Hawaii 5’0 and madam secretary (Sky programmes) are available for free on the main channels, we’ve seen an advert for a Fetch box which adds extra channels so will look into that. Also for some reason, nextalk don’t need to pay the premium Optus has to! So as we are now connected to the internet I just wanted folks to know about our experiences!!

    • BobinOz April 12, 2017, 5:32 pm |

      An oxymoron is a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in the same sentence, and in Telstra’s world, ‘I needed connecting to broadband quickly’ is almost certainly an oxymoron. It simply contradicts the whole philosophy of the company and the way it likes to work.

      I feel your pain Andy, in fact I did felt your pain almost exactly some time ago and it resulted in the longest ever post written on this website…

      Sounds like Nextalk did a good job for you, I’ve not heard of them, not sure we get their service in Brisbane. For the record, I use TPG for my internet and have done for nearly 10 years now, I have been very happy with them but they do use Telstra’s network, although their prices are very good, there is no additional premium. They are going to hook me up to NBN in a few months, so looking forward to that.

      As for Foxtel, you don’t need to get that through Telstra, you can get it direct from Foxtel and I’m pretty sure it will hook up with any ISP. I switched from Foxtel to Fetch TV in August last year when they took over coverage of the English Premier League and I think it’s a pretty good setup. I had a few initial teething problems with it, but it has settled down quite well in recent months so it’s certainly worth looking at if you like their packages.

      Oh, and welcome to Australia 🙂

      • Mark April 12, 2017, 9:14 pm |

        An Oxy moron is a figure… Is that not two separate words in the case of some companies Bob? . Andy I could not help but comment in this as I too have been left to the decisive powers of Telstra…Its Communication knows no bounds of intelligence. The staff I bet are lovely people, their on the ground engineers are brilliant but put the call staff behind that computer and well anything can happen. I just think of the money they could make instead of paying me the likes of $400 for mucking my phone net and everything up. If you have the heart complain to Telecoms ombudsman they will make them sort it out even if you haven’t gone with them. In the JC way Ill finish with
        Some say they get their staff trained by the Chuckle Brothers. (to me to you) Some say their complaints department consists of one man with a roulette wheel to decide his response. Some say their software is from a 1986 talking Austin Maestro. All we know its called the ‘Telstra’. May your problems be small ones form now on in Andy !!!

        • BobinOz April 13, 2017, 8:57 pm |

          Steady on Mark, it doesn’t get much more insulting than Austin Maestro! And it’s definitely one word, although Telstra might think it’s two 🙂

  • Kuba January 4, 2014, 7:31 am |

    Hi Bob.
    You mentioned downloading a movie.
    I wonder – how strict, in reality, are “antipiracy” laws in Australia?
    Can you download a movie from the net? What about streaming of e.g. tv series etc?

    • BobinOz January 6, 2014, 7:51 pm |

      We do have unrestricted access to the Internet and as such we can get to illegal sites to download pirate copies of movies. It’s still illegal though and there is still the possibility of getting caught.

      We do have a streaming service here, Quickflix I think, I haven’t used it though so cannot tell you how good or bad it might be.

  • BobinOz July 16, 2010, 12:36 pm |

    Hi Jeremy

    Most ISP’s cap your usage at some point and if you go over it your Internet connection slows down to a crawl as they switch you to a connection speed equivalent to dial up. For any of you who remember the Internet in the 90s, that’s where it would take five minutes for each page to load.

    So you do need to shop around. The country’s biggest supplier is bigpond who offer 25 GB per month for $79.95.

    I use TPG, who I highly recommend even though they royally messed up my recent telephone number change. Telstra (bigpond owners) were responsible for the bulk of the delay, but a TPG mistake added three or four days to process. But despite that their customer service is very good. I’d say excellent.

    They offer 130 GB per month for $49.95, 500 GB for $59.95 or unlimited for $75.00

    See the difference?

  • Jeremy July 15, 2010, 9:04 am |

    I know this post has been up for a while, but I did have a question about internet use in Australia. Does your service provider there have a monthly data cap? It seems like many of the service providers I’ve looked up in Oz have limits to how much data you can transfer per month with charges they tack on nicely if you happen to go over without letting you know. Kind of like having a cell phone and going over your allotted minutes. Is this pretty much standard there and if so… why? I’d think a company that set up in Australia that offered unlimited usage for data (and offered great customer service without insane phone rules) could price competition out of the market or force them to start offering unlimited data as well. Being here in the USA, it’s kind of an unheard of concept for home internet use to be limited in that way. Since I use the internet often as a replacement for cable television, for example, I’m definitely curious to find out more.

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