The differences between business and consumer NBN plans

Choosing between business and consumer NBN plans? Business NBN plans offer extra features to make your business more efficient.

At their core, business and residential NBN plans are naturally more similar than they are different. Both can deliver high speed internet and phone to your premises. However, business plans tend to have a few features that set them apart that you generally won’t find in home NBN plans.

Benefits of business NBN vs. consumer NBN

Business NBN plans

  • Free static IP address. Business plans will usually offer a free static IP address. This type of IP address lets you run a server, host a domain and set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so your employees can access your server remotely.
  • Increased support. ISPs can provide additional support to give you peace of mind and ensure your business stays online. Business NBN plans offer face-to-face video calls with technicians and greater visibility for your technical support requests.

Consumer NBN plans

  • Entertainment options. Consumer plans will generally offer more entertainment options including pay TV and streaming.
  • Family friendly. To meet the needs of families, ISPs can provide software for your family to browse safely online.
  • Bundles. If you have family members or partners, consumer plans will benefit you by providing unlimited calls to any of the services on the same bill as your bundle. Bundling also allows you to manage your services and costs from one bill.

Differences for business NBN plans

Application requirements

Businesses require a valid ABN/ACN: In order to sign up for a business NBN plan you will typically need a valid Australian Business Number or Australian Company Number, as well as the relevant personal identification information.

Price and installation

The price of NBN installation is generally the same for both businesses and homes in the same connection circumstances. Actual pricing may vary depending on whether you’re switching from an NBN plan to another NBN plan, or from an older ADSL or cable plan.

As such, some of the fees will be one-offs.

Fees include:

    • Start-up fee: A sign up fee which can vary between providers and plans.
    • Professional install fee: A fee for technicians to come around and install the relevant equipment.
    • Casual plan fee: If you opt for a casual no-lock-in plan, that flexibility can come at a cost.
    • Activation fee: A further fee for activating your connection after the equipment is present.
    • $300 charge from NBN: If you’re in a new development and not already connected to the NBN network.
    • Temporary connection fee: If your voice service is connected for three months or less you may be charged an additional $100.

Speed and data allowance

Fixed-line NBN internet plans typically come in 4 different speed tiers.

However, not all providers will offer all of these speed tiers, and there may be differences in the options offered to home and business customers. For example, a provider might only have NBN100 as a business plan. For customers on fixed wireless or satellite connections, different speed scenarios apply.

Speeds can also change once your connection has been “throttled” or “shaped” after reaching your monthly data limit. However, the shaped speeds are often considerably slower for homes than businesses.

For example, an NBN25 business plans may be shaped to a still-effective 8/1Mbps, while consumer plans might be throttled all the way down to a nigh-unusable 256kbps/256kbps after reaching the limit.

There are many factors other than shaping which can impact your speeds, and there’s little point in getting a superfast plan if your speeds will be bottlenecked elsewhere, whether you’re after a home or a business plan.

Contract length

Both consumer and business plans provide month-to-month, 12, 18 and 24 month options, but consumer plans often provide more flexibility in changing to higher or lower speed plans.

Business services

Business plans include a static IP address. This can help prevent impacts from network congestion and enable some services that rely on a single fixed IP address being available. They are often not offered on residential plans because they may not be necessary.

Fixed phone calls

Both consumer and business bundles can include generous call allowances, including mobile, local and national calls. If your business requires a decent amount of calling, using business VoIP will provide significant value. VoIP is Voice over Internet Protocol, which allows you to make all of your business calls over your broadband connection.

Support services

One of the key differences for business NBN plans is in the level of customer support offered. Most NBN plans will offer some kind of 24 hour service, but for business customers, depending on the provider, this may extend to dedicated customer hotlines and support guarantees, alongside features such as live chat or specialist support for business purposes.

Extra benefits

Entertainment services are available with both consumer and business plans, such as subscription TV which a lot of businesses can still use.

Business plans offer additional perks, such as vouchers to purchase business applications such as Sharepoint, Office365, Norton Small Business or similar. Business customers can also expect to receive more discounts as more plans and services are added to meet growing business needs.

Compare NBN plans today

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