NBN GUIDE: How to choose a plan that's right for you
WITH more than 12,000 homes and businesses in the Gladstone region already connected to the NBN and another 13,820 due to be hooked up by this time next year, choosing the right broadband provider is the talk of the town.
The Observer spoke to comparison site finder.com.au's editor-in-chief and resident broadband expert Angus Kidman to get the inside info.
Mr Kidman said the first step was understanding what type of NBN connection was available at your property.
"Whether it's fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) or fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) which is slower, you don't have control over that - but you do have control over which provider you go with and the maximum speed you choose," he said.
He said first-time customers should make sure they don't confuse promises of unlimited data with high-speed connections, and avoid being lured in by buzzwords like "ultra-fast" - instead focusing on the advertised download speed.
Anything with a maximum speed of 25mbps or slower may be no faster than previous ADSL connections.
Mr Kidman said customers should also avoid signing on with providers who advertise their package's maximum speed but do not publish their estimated peak evening speed.
"What happens in the evening is people finish work, they go home and think, 'let's put on some Netflix'," he said.
"When enough people do that you get a bottleneck effect and that can really slow things down if the provider has not invested in that connection (by purchasing bandwidth).
"Some people say "it's all done over the same wires", but if a provider isn't putting their money where their mouth is I'd tend to avoid that provider."
Mr Kidman also advised customers who aren't satisfied with their download speeds to contact their provider.
"It's definitely worth going to a provider and asking them to do a speed check," he said.
"If they won't check the line or they're stalling, you can always go to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
"Sometimes just saying that is enough to get them moving... there's a long history of telcos having to give refunds to people because they sold them a speed that wasn't available."
To check your property's NBN connection status, see the Check Your Address function at nbn.com.au
You can compare broadband plans at finder.com.au/broadband-plans