Getting a new internet service | ACMA

Getting a new internet service

Before you choose a service and sign on the dotted line with an internet service provider, make sure you know what you’re committing to.

Picking the right service agreement

The first thing to consider is what kind of service agreement is best for you. For internet services, there are three basic types:

  • Fixed term contract—contracts usually between 12 and 36 months. You may be given a modem or asked to bring your own. Choose carefully—early termination fees may apply.
  • Pre-paid—gives you more control over how much you spend but some providers can charge higher rates.  
  • Pay monthly (no contract)—provides flexibility and means you can shop around for the best network access deal.

Shopping around

Once you’ve figured out what kind of plan you’re after, it’s time to check which providers can give you satisfactory internet performance at your home or business.

To help you wade through the mass of products and services, telco providers must provide two pieces of information to help you understand and compare services:

  • a critical information summary
  • standard charge information.

Providers must also follow set rules when they advertise products and services.

Critical information summary

A critical information summary (CIS) should provide you with clear information about their products, plans and services. This should allow you to easily compare what is being offered for both services.

For more information, see our critical information summaries for telecommunications consumers page.

Standard charge information

Standard charge information should allow you to quickly and easily compare telecommunications service providers and offers.

In advertisements for post-paid internet plans, service providers must include the cost of using one megabyte of data in Australia—as a rough guide, you can view approximately 20 pages on the internet for each MB of download, an average four-minute MP3 (music file) is approximately four MB or a five-minute video can be up to 30 MB.

For more information, see our what are standard charges page.

General standards for advertising

To help in making an informed choice, service providers must communicate product and service offers in a way that is clear, accurate and not misleading.

This includes using language suited to the intended audience and providing, clear and accurate information in plain language without exaggerating or omitting key information.

For more information, see our understanding advertising page.

Last updated: 03 March 2019