What to look for when comparing broadband plans

Comparing broadband plans online
Sunday, June 7, 2020

At Broadband Compare we believe that everyone should have the information they need to make an informed choice about their broadband plan. 

We understand that finding the best broadband plan, isn’t a one-size-fits all process of recommending the cheapest. We try to make it as easy as possible to compare broadband plans side-by-side to help you make an informed choice about the broadband products and services that are best for you.

It can feel like there are a lot of factors to consider when comparing broadband plans. We’ve outlined some of the top things to look for when comparing broadband plans. Enter your address in our comparison tool to see a custom list of plans available at your address. 

Here are the top things to look for when comparing broadband plans

1. Your best broadband plan will depend on your address

Your best broadband plan will depend on what is available at your new address and whether fibre, VDSL or ADSL is available. Or whether you need to look at wireless or satellite options. Simply enter your new address in our address checker for a comprehensive list of broadband plans available.

2.  Choose your connection type.

Your connection type will depend on how you plan to use the internet, how many people live in your home, and what type of connection is available in your area. If you live in an area where fibre broadband is available, it will usually be the best option for you in terms of price and performance. The main connection types are:

  • Fibre - The fastest connection option is Ultra-Fast Broadband (fibre). One of the main advantages of fibre is that it offers a constant speed, so the service won’t fluctuate like older broadband services that rely on copper cable technology. Fibre is the best option if you have multiple people at home conecting their phones, tablets, laptops and devices to your home Wifi. Fibre broadband offers consistent high speed that can cope with multiple people working online, streaming videos, playing games, and downloading content at the same time.  Compare Fibre plans
  • VDSL - runs over existing copper lines and delivers much fast download and upload speeds than ADSL. Generally VDSL is slower than fibre broadband, but you will still be able to have multiple users connected in the home, and 90% of people on VDSL plan can still stream Netflix videos in Ultra high definition (UHD). The connection speed you receive will depend on how far from the exchange you are and how many other users are connected during peak times. Interestingly, VDSL users in some areas report better speeds compared to entry level fibre Broadband connections. Compare VDSL plans
  • ADSL -  is the most commonly available type of broadband available in New Zealand and runs on existing copper phone lines. Compare ADSL plans
  • Wireless - Wireless broadband uses the 4G mobile network to connect to a modem at your house. Wireless broadband can only be used in areas with a strong 4G signal, so it isn’t available everywhere. It can be a good option in areas that don’t have good copper or fibre broadband service, for example in rural areas. Compare Wireless plans

3. Ratings

Choosing a provider with a good track record can give you peace of mind when choosing a new broadband provider. There’s no point choosing the cheapest plan if their service is patchy, or it’s difficult to get customer support when you need it. When you compare broadband plans on Broadband Compare, the Broadband Compare rating takes into account price, plan features and customer reviews, so that you can make an informed choice. 

4. Cost per month vs. Cost per year

It has become increasingly common for broadband companies to try to entice new customers with plans that include free or discounted months. For example, pay nothing for the first 3 or 4 months, or pay a lower rate for the first 6 months, then revert to a higher ‘standard’ monthly rate. This can make comparisons a bit more complicated as you need to compare low introductory rates and then the higher rate. 

It can help to compare the cost per year rather than the cost per month if you are signing up for a 12 or 24-month plan. This can help ensure that you are getting a good deal across the lifespan of your contract. 

Comparing the cost per year is simple when comparing with Broadband Compare. Enter the address in the address finder to view a list of plans available at your address. Then use the menu on the top right to change from “price per month” to “price per year” or “price per two years”.

5. Think about the features that are important to you.

The main ones to consider are:

  • Data – Some broadband plans have a data cap or data allowance. This is the amount of content you can upload or download during a billing cycle. If you are a very light internet user, you may find that a plan with a data cap is a cost effective option. However, unlimited Broadband plans (with not data cap) are increasingly commonplace – offering a cost effective option with no usage limits.
  • Contract options – The contract is the length of the contract you will be locked-in for, if you want to cancel your contract early you usually have to pay a cancellation fee. Broadband contracts are typically open term (no contracts), 12 month, or 24 months. A 12 month contract is considered as “standard” in New Zealand, but there are some options with two or three years terms, they allow you to lock-in an agreed monthly rate for the full term. If you don’t want to commit for that amount of time, you can also choose a ‘no contract’ plan, which usually runs from month-to-month.
  • Speed – Choosing plan with a connection speed that won’t slow you down will depend on whether you plan to spend your time on the internet sending email, downloading music, streaming videos, or gaming. Learn more


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