A guide to internet costs | ACMA

A guide to internet costs

Setting up an internet connection requires:

  1. a computer

  2. a modem

  3. telephone line, cable or satellite dish access

  4. an internet service provider (ISP)

Make sure you talk with your ISP and computer vendor about the type of computer and modem you need, before purchasing anything. There are hundreds of ISPs in Australia, but it’s worth thinking about your needs, before choosing one.

ISP account types

ISP accounts are varied and usage is usually calculated in one of three ways:

  1. a charge for the amount of time spent online;

  2. a periodic charge (for example, monthly) for access to the internet; and

  3. a periodic charge (for example, monthly) for access to the internet plus charges for excess amounts of data uploaded and downloaded outside the usage allowance of the account.

Downloading and uploading data

Here is some information explaining approximately how much data you use with each online activity.


Approximate megabytes (MB)

Emailing, reading web pages

0.02 – 0.5 MB per activity

Receiving, sending images

0.05 – 0.25 per picture

Downloading single MP3 file

4 MB

Downloading single music video


If you only intend to email to family and friends, it’s better to not pay for extra time for data you won’t use. If you want to download and send videos and music, get a deal that gives you a higher amount of usage time.

Setting up

Some ISPs charge for set-up of your internet connection and others offer a start up disk or package on a CD-ROM that will automate the whole process for you.

For broadband customers, a registered technician may be required to install equipment or you may be able to install it yourself. If you require extra phone sockets for your broadband connection, you will need a registered cabler. You can choose any registered cabler to do the cabling in your home or office.

Registered cablers must follow rules set out by the ACMA to make sure cabling is done safely and that the cabler has the skills to do the job.

Last updated: 24 February 2019