Australians pick cheaper broadband, quality over fast speeds

Australians pick cheaper broadband, quality over fast speeds

Summary: A poll by research group Roy Morgan has found that Australians overwhelmingly choose a cheaper deal for broadband rather than faster connection speeds, while an Australian Industry group survey shows businesses are more concerned about quality and reliability.

TOPICS: Telcos, NBN, Australia

Speed of broadband services ranks low in the priorities of both Australian businesses and consumers, according to two surveys released today.

An Australian Industry Group survey of 170 businesses in the manufacturing, services, construction, and mining industries released today showed that 75 percent of respondents see high-speed broadband as being important to their business, but the quality and cost of the service rates higher than the download and upload speeds. A total of 40 percent of the users said that quality of service is important, while 30 percent ranked costs and access pricing highest, with 15 percent focusing on upload and download speeds.

Australian businesses are patient, however, with just 11 percent listing the rollout timeframe as being the most important issue.

As most businesses focused on the cost for services, Ai Group CEO Innes Willox welcomed the new Coalition government's promise to look to reduce the cost of services on the National Broadband Network (NBN).

"Affordability is also a key issue, particularly for small to medium enterprises. While we welcome the new government's focus on reducing access prices, we will be looking to the reviews to provide more detail on how this commitment will be met," he said in a statement.

The cost of the plan, not speed, is also the deciding factor for consumers choosing a broadband connection, a Roy Morgan poll of over 1,000 Australians that have signed up to a new ISP in the last 12 months has shown.

The decision on which ISP to go with is centred on a cheaper or better deal, according to 46 percent of respondents, while 19 percent want a faster connection speed. A total of 14 percent want to bundle their broadband with other services, while 14 percent are influenced by word of mouth.

Just 7 percent chose an ISP based on unlimited downloads. TPG and Dodo, which both offer unlimited download plans, overwhelmingly had customers choose their services based on price, at 74 percent for TPG and 70 percent for Dodo.

Optus had approximately half of its customers sign on for price, while only 27 percent of Telstra's customers came over because of the price.

Roy Morgan's general manager for media and communications, George Pesutto, said that it isn't always about price, however.

"While Dodo is also associated with cheaper deals, our research shows that consumers choose other ISPs for other reasons: Telstra for bundling other products and connection speed, iiNet for dissatisfaction with previous ISP and availability in area, and Optus for bundling and other incentives," he said.

Given the NBN has yet to reach a critical mass stage in its rollout, many residents would not be able to choose a higher speed than what is already available. Residents may soon find themselves competing against businesses to get onto the NBN first, however. The Ai Group has recommended, among other things, that greater priority should be given to rolling out the new infrastructure to "poorly served businesses and industrial estates in outer suburban and regional areas."

The group has also recommended that affordable access to fibre to the premises be made available to businesses.

Topics: Telcos, NBN, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • There is only one speed

    I have an ADSL2+ connection. It does not matter which ISP I choose, the speed will be the same. It is the same copper no matter who supplies the connection. Most people realise this so no wonder price is a high priority.
    I think it will be a bit different with the NBN FTTP where you can actually choose your speeds.
    • There is more to speed than the sync speed

      I've been on quite a few ISPs and there is more to speed than just line sync. Most ISPs have evening slowdown, some have no detectable slowdown. For example, I am with Internode now, evenings are not a problem, full speed ahead. TPG (on their own DSLAM mind you, with dark fibre) my even download speeds (single thread) dropped from 16Mb to 4Mb, and most online games were unplayable.
      Most people don't realise they often get what they pay for and go for the cheapest deal.
  • Who is funding these?

    I am highly suspicious that the liberals (or organisations connected with them) have funded these.
  • I have 2 choices dialup or ADSL!

    The 2 chioces I am given ADSL speeds are not purchaseable on speed, it's only got one speed really f@#$ing slow! Thats on fine days when it rains it's even F%$^ing slower.
    Kevin Cobley
    • Water in your pit.

      If your connection is slowing down when it rains you've probably got corrosion on the cable joins and water in the pit.

      Start documenting the weather conditions and the speed and then give that info to your DSL provider and ask them to log a fault using the data.
  • I pick cheaper broadband, quality over fast speeds

    While I can get 45Mbps on my 4G service, and 4.5Mbps on my ADSL2+ the choice is always going to be ADSL2+.

    I like movies so when, I download say 20 HD movies (50G) per month. Lets look at the costs of the data.

    ADSL2+ is approx $50
    Telstra 4G is approx $500

    So I pick cheaper broadband, quality over fast speeds
  • Mushrooms?

    The results of the survey just prove that the cost of having high speed broadband outweigh any perceived advantage '' At The Moment ''. However it would be a very short sighted person who thinks that this situation will last. Unfortunately our current government cares more about polls than people
  • i'd like t see the survey questions ...

    cos i suspect this is a crock of shit designed to elicit specific aniticpated responses?

    What business won't choose the answer for reliable & reasonably cheap over most other options including upload/download speeds? Especially if it's presented in an either/or format that excludes an have it all option? Show me the questions. For that matter, what business won't support a government strategy that gives business precedence over domestic consumers? Bit of a no brainer both of these i'd have thought

    another no brainer is how domestic consumers choose bundled options based on price. I've lost track of how often over the last decade we've been contacted at home by alternate ISP's offering to go over recent bills with us and show us how switching to their byndled phone /internet plans can give us more while saving us money? Sometimes we've succumbed - and no matter what the isp or what the plan, i've nevcer known us to comeout much ahead over the committed time. Such things are just too complicated for most of us to workout. And i know i'm not alone in this. I imagine many domestic respondents to such surveys would choose both price and bundled optins - it's pretty much all we know

    irrespective of all this, as far as i'm aware - none of my family or freinds want this current governmemt's broadband plan. We consider it short sighted, ill concieved and of a model designed to possibly exclude many of the poorer mortgage holders or renters. Thank goodness this government wasn't in power when construction on the sydney opera house was started. If they had been i don't doubt bwe'd have ended up with a utalitarian, cost efective opera house resembling sydney domestic airport. It seems this government has no aesthitic vision for the future, and little idea of how to plan for a future in a rapidly chagning digital world.

    it's not looking good
  • All this says... that Australia needs better broadband at a decent price...
  • I'm with TPG.

    I'm with TPG. I don't notice slowdowns, but I'm not with them for the speed. I'm with them for the unlimited quota. I like being able to stream Netflix or VUDU without having to worry about going over my limit or not.
    • Two things

      A: Wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about water in your pit

      B: Do you even have access to Fibre.

      I am currently on fibre. I have 1TB of data. The household I am in have yet to use more than a quarter of that. Trust me. We HAVE tried.
  • ADSL2+ is not so bad

    This pretty much supports the view I've had since Labor announced its grandiose plan.
    • ADSL2+ is not so bad

      If you are less than 300 meters from the exchange/node
      • Not the best...

        When you're at the outside edge of the exchange area (where I'm currently situated). About 2.5Mbps down/0.75Mbps up connection speed. Youtube is somewhat choppy. Streaming audio is useless.
  • Surveys

    I've seen such surveys. Either you get to rank what are the most important considerations for your net service (speed, cost, brand, etc), and normally people will place cost first, which does NOT mean that the other considerations are not important. Or the other usual manner in which they rank service is that they list two options: A and B. They will, e.g., say Option A costs $75 per month, gives you speeds of x, is with brand A, while Option B costs $110 per month, gives you speeds of y, is with brand B, etc. They go through dozens of such choices between option A and B and try to work out trends, e.g. if this respondent appears to place more importance on speed or price. This latter method is a bit better since it allows for interacting variables, but since none of the choices will never really match what is really currently on offer, and is all about hypotheticals, it also has its limits as a tool for analysis as far as I'm concerned. Clearly neither of these can be taken to reflect whether or not the public wants the NBN or faster internet, especially since in a hypothetical people will tend to latch onto one or two important variables like price to get through the survey in less than half an hour, or give more weight to one variable or other than they would when faced with a real decision. Besides I find the surveys with multiple options tend to exaggerate one variable or another (like price) for small increments of other variables (like speed) in order to more easily detect trends. Real life is not so pat.
    • Besides which...

      ...I imagine if you surveyed users in the day of dial-up were asked about having to pay $20 more per month for adsl without having first experienced it, or having every website and internet service desigend for it, they'd show less enthusiasm for it in a survey than in real life.