Internet Communication Guide
Telecommunication infrastructure in Australia in urban areas is quite advanced and internet speeds are decent. Compared to other countries (Asia, Europe, US), though, it may seem a little slow. The government is working on a National Broadband plan but, to date, it means that many overseas visitors can get frustrated with the speeds.Prices vary and depend on your plan. Expect to pay between $10 to $120 a month. A great comparison website that shows all broadband plans is: http://www.comparebroadband.com.au
You can apply and set up your broadband plan over the Internet. First you will require a landline as they require that phone number to attach the ADSL to. They will require a standard credit application which will include a copy of passport, drivers license and bank card. (Note much of this is to establish an address in Australia so it will be very difficult to apply for broadband without an address).
Connecting to the internet can take a day to 2 weeks, depending on the company you go through and the set up you require. You are expected to set up your broadband modem and system yourselves. If you require assistance then you will need to arrange for installation for a fee from the provider.
ADSL2 and NAKED ADSL
ADSL is where you are connected to the internet by your phone line. Your modem can be wirelessly connected to your computer. Most connections in Australia for residential use, offices and commercial outlets are ADSL2 connections.
Wireless is a great option for those that intend to use the internet in different locations. It works through towers that are erected around Sydney. It is not as fast as cable or ADSL connections, but is convenient. The wireless market has become very competitive and you can get 1GB of data for $10 a month.
Cable is where you are connected to the internet by cable. Your modem can be wirelessly connected to your computer. Not very popular in Australia.
Major Internet Companies
Telstra Bigpond http://www.bigpond.com This is the most expensive provider, but the speeds, connections etc are all TIER 1 which means that Telstra actually own the broadband space and they then lease broadband bandwidth to other providers who then become TIER 2.
Optus http://www.optus.com.au is one of the most popular providers with families. They have excellent plans to suit a family with adults and school kids.
iiNET http://www.iinet.net.au/ is best known for their affordable NAKED ADSL packages and is a great options for general usage and would suit a single or couple.
Internode http://www.internode.on.net is popular with IT people and heavy gamers as they have good plans for the top end users.
Virgin Broadband http://www.virginbroadband.com.au, like much of Virgin Group, is aimed at young people by offering flexible plans and also is making good progress in the wireless broadband market.
Vodafone and Three http://www.vodafone.com.au/three and http://www.vodafone.com.au are both owned by Hutchison Telecom and offer competitive plans but have always specialised in mobile and mobile Internet. They are not well know known for their fixed line broadband plans.
Exetel http://www.exetel.com.au is another good options for ADSL. Not as glamorous as some of the other brands but certainly good value for money and excellent service.
Other providers include TPG Internet http://www.tpg.com.au.
There are internet cafes everywhere in Sydney and in the metropolitan area it is practically guaranteed you will always be able to find one within walking distance. Because there are so many, they mostly offer competitive prices, usually around three dollars an hour.