What you should look for when comparing broadband providers
Most broadband plans are offered on a 24-month contract. This can make plans cheaper, but restricts your flexibility if you plan to move house or decide you're not happy with your current provider. Plans that run for shorter periods or on a month-to-month basis also exist, though typically you'll pay higher installation costs and will often have to buy your modem/router/connection device outright.
For most technologies, you won't have any effective control over the speed – it will be the "best available" and is likely to vary based on your location and the condition of cabling and wiring. The NBN has multiple speed tiers, which allow customers to select the maximum theoretical speed they can access the Internet with. However, some providers don't offer all speed tiers, which could dampen your enthusiasm if you're looking for the fastest connection.
The data allowance for broadband plans is typically measured in gigabytes (GB) per month. Many providers offer cheaper plans with lower data allowances, while others offer unlimited plans for a higher price. Determining how much data you will use each month will give you a solid start to choosing the best plan for your needs. However, be wary of providers that promote capped data plans on higher NBN speed tiers.
Pricing & minimum costs
The beauty of the NBN is that it has largely standardised pricing across ISPs. While you're likely to use the monthly cost as your basis for comparison, also look at the minimum total cost. If you sign up for a long-term contract, you'll often get a discount on installation fees and hardware, but you'll be stuck with paying out the whole contract if you decide it's not suitable.
The bonuses offered by an ISP when you first sign up are the biggest differentiators between providers. Some ISPs offer unmetered access to streaming services like Netflix, while others bundle in pay TV from Foxtel or Fetch TV. If you sign up for an extended contract, most ISPs will supply you with a new modem router for free and possibly waive any set-up fees too.
Providers will often offer a discount if you bundle your broadband connection with other services such as pay TV, mobile phone or landlines. While this can save you money, make sure that all the bundled services are suitable for your needs and that you're actually saving money. Bundled deals will also usually require you to sign up for a 24-month contract.