Internet in Australia
Internet use in Australia follows similar trends to those of most other developed nations. However, the country falls behind many other Western nations in terms of broadband speed, and plans are generally more expensive.
According to research group, Nielsen, 16.2 million Australians have internet access. The most widespread and fastest growing type of connection is mobile wireless.
World Bank data ranked Australia 25th in the world in 2010 for Internet usage with 76 users per 100 people. This placed it ahead of the US (#27/74 users per 100), Spain (#39/66 users), Italy (#51/54 users). Australia was also above the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 65 users per 100 people.
However Australia was behind Iceland (#1/96 users), Sweden (#6/90 users), the UK (#10/85 users), New Zealand (#11/83 users), and Canada (#16/82 users).
Home Internet plans in Australia
Most plans are 24 months in duration. A number of 12-month plans are also available, however, their value is generally not as good as for the longer plans.
Types of connections available include wireless (mobile and fixed), ADSL 2+, mobile broadband, satellite broadband, naked DSL, and cable.
Mobile wireless is the most popular type of connection in Australia, followed by DSL.
Broadband bundles are also popular in Australia. They enable customers to make savings by combining their broadband and telephone accounts with one provider.
Broadband Guide lists the prices of all types of internet plans from the major providers in Australia.
Popular communications blog, Whirlpool has a free online calculator that shows which plans are available in your particular area.
Ensure service is available
If fast broadband is important to you, do research to ensure it is available in the neighbourhood your are planning to move to. For example, in parts of the Northern beaches in Sydney, like Bilgola Plateau, no new ADSL broadband plans are available due to old infrastructure. A new connection cannot be established until someone in the neighbourhood moves and gives theirs up. Thus you must rely on wireless internet which is more costly and generally slower.
How do you do the research? Simply call providers with the street address of the house/apartment you are considering living in, and they will do a service check for you.
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is an industry sponsored, but independent, service for consumers. If you feel you have been overcharged or unfairly treated by your Internet provider, the TIO may be able to assist.
In 2011, the TIO received a record 197,682 complaints from consumers. This led to the Federal Government giving additional powers to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to force telecommunications companies to become more transparent with their pricing and billing.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner offers guides on how to protect your online privacy, and information on privacy legislation in Australia.