Harbour ISP NBN and ADSL broadband plans compared

Get reliable and high speed Internet connectivity through a Harbour ISP NBN fibre, fixed wireless or satellite connection.

Regional Australia is a big focus for Harbour ISP. Founded in 2005 in the mid-west town of Mudgee NSW, the broadband provider became the first in Australia to supply satellite Internet over the NBN. Harbour ISP's rural coverage has only grown since, with the provider offering an extensive suite of fixed-line, fixed-wireless and satellite NBN plans as well as traditional ADSL broadband plans across Australia.

These plans support month-to-month, 12-month and 24-month contracts and can be bundled with a home phone service delivered using either voice over IP (VoIP) or the traditional landline network.

Harbour ISP also offers fibre broadband services delivered over non-NBN networks. These currently include Opticomm, OPENetworks and LBNCo fibre services and are only available in select areas of Australia — most commonly in new housing estates and other modern multi-dwelling properties. Because access to these services is still so limited, you'll need to check with Harbour ISP to determine your eligibility for them.

Harbour ISP fixed-line NBN plans

For fixed-line NBN connections, Harbour ISP provides Internet services using fibre to the premises (FTTP), fibre to the node (FTTN) and fibre to the building (FTTB) technologies. Plans for these NBN fibre plans include NBN50 (Standard Plus) and NBN100 (Premium) speeds. However, if you're an FTTN or FTTB customer, you'll need to confirm with Harbour ISP whether you're able to receive speeds above Standard (nbn25).

All of Harbour ISP's fixed-line and fixed wireless NBN plans come with unlimited data.

Due to factors like congestion and cable quality, the connection speeds used to categorise NBN plans don't reflect the actual speeds you'll see in practice. As such, Harbour ISP provides the following guide for typical download speeds its users will receive during the peak hours of 7:00PM to 11:00PM:

  • Standard Plus plans: 42.20Mbps typical evening speeds
  • Premium plans: 82.70Mbps typical evening speeds

Along with the regular monthly cost, there are a few one-off set-up charges to be aware of with Harbour ISP's fixed-line NBN plans. These are determined by your chosen contract: sign up for 24 months and you won't have to pay any set-up fees at all, plus Harbour ISP will throw in a free Netgear modem-router. On a 12-month contract, you'll have to pay extra for a modem-router, while on a month-to-month contract you'll need to cover both the cost of a modem-router and a $99 set-up fee.

However, in return, both the 12-month and 24-month contracts carry an early termination charge if you choose to cancel your service before the completion of its full term. This fee can be as much as $350, but may be less depending on how long you've already spent on-contract.

If you want to know about the extras Harbour ISP offers with its NBN plans, we've got your covered below.

Harbour ISP fixed wireless NBN plans

For Aussies living outside the wired NBN rollout, Harbour ISP has fixed-wireless plans capable of offering Basic, Standard and Standard Plus NBN speeds. Sporting either an unlimited data allownance, these plans are as follows:

Basic plans

  • Basic Fixed Wireless Unlimited, which includes a Basic NBN connection and unlimited data for $59 a month

Standard plans

  • Standard Fixed Wireless Unlimited, which includes a Standard NBN connection and unlimited monthly data for a month

Standard Plus plans

  • Standard Plus Fixed Wireless Unlimited, which includes a Standard Plus NBN connection and unlimited monthly data for a month

Like its fixed-line plans, Harbour ISP's fixed wireless plans are subject to a number of factors that prevent Internet speeds from achieving their theoretical maximums. Harbour ISP advises that users on its Basic plans can expect to receive typical download speeds of Mbps during the peak hours of 7:00PM to 11:00PM, while users on Standard plans will typically see Mbps during that same period.

Though monthly pricing remains the same whether you sign up for a month-to-month, 12-month or 24-month contract, the upfront costs do not. Opting for the freedom of a month-to-month contract will tack on a $99 set-up fee, and you'll need to pay extra if you require a new modem on both month-to-month and 12-month contracts. 24-month contracts, meanwhile, include a modem-router for free.

However, be aware that signing up for a fixed-term contract means dealing with an early termination fee if you decide to cancel your service before the full term has elapsed. On both 12-month and 24-month contracts, this can be as much as $350 depending on how long you have left in your contract.

For more information on the extras Harbour ISP offers with its fixed wireless plans, click here.

Harbour ISP satellite NBN plans

Aussies living in the rural and regional areas of the country where fixed-line and fixed-wireless Internet isn't feasible have plenty of options for high-speed broadband with Harbour ISP's satellite NBN plans. Delivered via the Sky Muster satellite network, these plans support both Basic and Standard speeds and feature on- and off-peak data caps: one for the peak hours of 7:00AM to 1:00AM and one for the off-peak hours of 1:00AM to 7:00AM.

All of the above plans can be upgraded to a Standard (nbn25) connection for $5 extra a month.

Harbour ISP charges no set-up fees for its satellite plans, regardless of your chosen contract length. However, if you sign up for a 24-month contract, you'll get a free modem-router included with your service. Bear in mind that fixed-term contracts come with hefty penalty fees for terminating your service early: cancel your 12- or 24-month contract before it's complete and you could be in the red for as much as $350.

While Harbour ISP's satellite plans are all capped, you won't be caught out with any steep excess usage charges should you shoot through your monthly data limit. You'll just be stuck with a reduced Internet speed of 128kbps until the end of your current billing cycle.

For information on the extras Harbour ISP offers with its satellite NBN plans, click here.

Harbour ISP ADSL plans

Harbour ISP's ADSL plans come in two forms: On-Net and Off-Net. On-Net plans are delivered via Harbour ISP's preferred carrier network and are the cheaper of the two options, but you must live within service range of that carrier network to be eligible for them. Otherwise, Harbour ISP's Off-Net plans use Telstra's ADSL network and carry a fairly steep premium.

Three ADSL packages are available for both On-Net and Off-Net customers, all of which come with unlimited monthly data:

On-Net plans

  • Standalone ADSL2+, which does not include line rental and costs $49 a month
    ADSL2+ with Phone Line Rental, which includes pay-as-you-go calls and costs $69 a month
  • ADSL2+ with Phone Line Rental Plus, which includes unlimited standard local, national and Australian mobile calls and costs $119 a month

Off-Net plans

  • Standalone ADSL2+, which does not include line rental and costs $69 a month
    ADSL2+ with Phone Line Rental, which includes pay-as-you-go calls and costs $89 a month
  • ADSL2+ with Phone Line Rental Plus, which includes unlimited standard local, national and Australian mobile calls and costs $149 a month

Depending on your chosen contract period, you may also have to pay an upfront activation fee with Harbour ISP's ADSL plans. This, too, costs more on Off-Net plans than on On-Net plans. For month-to-month contracts, the activation fee is $99 when On-Net and $165 when Off-Net. 12-month contracts reduce this to $59 On-Net and $89 Off-Net. 24-month contracts on both On-Net and Off-Net plans come with no activation fees.

To use your ADSL service, you'll need a compatible modem. If you don't already have one kicking around your house, Harbour ISP will sell you a basic modem-router for $99, with more expensive options available if you so desire. Sign up for a 24-month contract, though, and Harbour ISP will throw that basic modem-router in for free.

Before signing up for the long term, just note that you'll have to pay out an early termination charge if you want to cancel your service prior to its original end date. This charge is based on how long you have left on your contract, but can be as much as $350.

For information on the extras Harbour ISP offers with its ADSL plans, click here.

Harbour ISP extras

Harbour ISP offers two types of phone service with its broadband plans: a traditional landline service and a voice over IP (VoIP) service. The landline service is only available in conjunction with Harbour ISP's ADSL plans, while the VoIP service can be bundled with any of its NBN plans.

For the VoIP service, two options are available. $10 extra a month will get you the basic service with unlimited local and national calls plus 1,000 minutes to 12 select countries, while $20 extra a month will couple all that with unlimited calls to Australian mobiles.

Along with its Internet services, Harbour ISP has a wide range of hardware up for purchase. If you don't already have a suitable modem, you can choose from a selection of modem-routers with varying capabilities and prices ranging from $69 up to $320, depending on your networking needs.

If you spring for a VoIP phone service to complement your NBN plan, you also have the option of purchasing a phone adaptor for connecting your existing landline handset to your modem, or you can pick up a completely new VoIP-ready handset for $99 or more depending on the model.

Should you be looking to host your own website or video game server, Harbour ISP can set you up with a static IP address on any of its NBN plans for an extra $10 a month.

Harbour ISP also lets you bundle its mobile plans with your broadband service, combining the two into a single bill. You can read more about Harbour ISP's mobile plans here.

How does Harbour ISP compare?

There's no shortage of broadband plans to pick from with Harbour ISP, but how do they all stack up? Let's take a look.

How do Harbour ISP's fixed-line NBN plans compare?

Harbour ISP is a middle-of-the-road contender in the fixed-line NBN space. While it's not the cheapest provider around, it's far from the most expensive, and it's worth considering if your data needs are relatively humble.

It's a little tougher to make the case for Harbour ISP's unlimited fixed-line plans. Providers like Flip TV, Spintel and Exetel charge less per month and less upfront for their equivalent plans, making them cheaper over the short and long terms. And if you're vying for the cheapest possible short-term expense, Mate Communicate doesn't charge any set-up fees at all plus it's currently offering discounted monthly rates for the first six months of your service.

If you're itching for something faster than a Basic or Standard NBN plan, here's what Harbour ISP charges to upgrade to a higher speed compared to the competition:

Harbour ISP Spintel Flip TV Hello Broadband Exetel MyNetFone
Standard N/A N/A $10 extra $10 extra N/A $10 extra
Standard Plus N/A $10 extra $30 extra $25 extra $5 extra $20 extra
Premium $20 extra $25 extra N/A $49.05 extra $35 extra $30 extra

How do Harbour ISP's fixed-wireless NBN plans compare?

With many providers pricing their fixed-wireless NBN plans the same as their fixed-line NBN plans – Harbour ISP included – the outcome is more or less identical for both.

Harbour ISP's unlimited fixed wireless plan is reasonably good value. While it does charge slightly less for a new modem than it does on its fixed-line NBN plans, Harbour ISP still trails behind Flip TV and Spintel – especially with Spintel throwing a pay-as-you-go phone service in at no extra cost.

Since Harbour ISP charges the industry-standard $10 extra a month to upgrade its Basic fixed-wireless plans to the faster Standard connection, the above comparisons hold true at the higher speed, too.

How do Harbour ISP's satellite NBN plans compare?

Satellite broadband is a specialised market, and only a handful of Australian Internet providers offer NBN plans delivered using the technology. Harbour ISP does a solid job of hanging with the best of these providers, especially with its higher-capped plans.

That said, its entry-level 10GB on-peak/75GB off-peak plan competes reasonably against the market. Do keep in mind, however, that these plans skimp with on-peak data to use - if you're a night owl, you'll get great value, but otherwise it'll be easy to go over your allowance.

Harbour ISP stacks up more favourably at higher data caps. Its 45GB on-peak/115GB off-peak plan is one of the better value-for-money options at this price point, delivering more data than similarly priced plans from IPSTAR and Reachnet. SkyMesh's competing plan does represent a compelling alternative with its 140GB of off-peak data, but steep upfront modem costs mean it ends up considerably more expensive over the short term than Harbour ISP's plan.

If you're hungry for as much data as satellite NBN can offer, Harbour ISP's ROCKET plan is a decent way to get it. It's not as cheap as equivalent plans from Reachnet or IPSTAR, but it's significantly less expensive than SkyMesh and Clear's offerings.

Like most satellite providers, Harbour ISP charges an additional $5 a month to upgrade from the Basic speed tier to the faster Standard speed tier, so the comparisons above are applicable no matter which connection you prefer.

How do Harbour ISP's ADSL plans compare?

Like most ADSL providers, Harbour ISP charges two different rates for its plans dependent on where you live. The premium attached to its Off-Net plans makes them tough to recommend, so the comparisons below are based on On-Net pricing.

If you've already got an active phone service, there are only a few compelling standalone ADSL plans worth considering. Dodo and TPG deliver the standouts here, with Mate Communicate an appealing short-term option thanks to its $0 set-up fees. Compared to these offerings, Harbour ISP's more expensive standalone ADSL plan is a tough sell.

Harbour ISP struggles with its home phone and ADSL bundle, too. Exetel and TPG offer cheaper alternatives with their bundle plans, while plans from Mate Communicate and MyRepublic come with unlimited local and national calls for the same price or even less per month.

Why should you consider Harbour ISP?

Harbour ISP provides plenty of choice for broadband-seeking Aussies. Whether you're a city dweller looking for a high-speed fixed-line connection or you live out in the bush and require a satellite connection to conduct your online business, Harbour ISP has plans that cater to the vast majority of Internet needs.

These plans are competitively priced, too, especially at the budget end of the NBN spectrum. If all you're looking for is a basic broadband service at a decent price, Harbour ISP is worth considering.

Rural Australians relying on satellite services for their Internet have reason to choose Harbour ISP as well, as its satellite NBN plans offer a large variety of data cap configurations to suit different appetites and are priced quite competitively with the rest of the market.

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