Where do you see yourself in two years? Still in Australia? Still in the same job? Still alive? A lot can change in 24 months, and signing up for long contracts for things like an internet connection (especially on the NBN) is a bad idea. Why in the world would you sign a contract for something before you know it works?

Because let’s face it: the government’s national broadband network has been a bit of shit show so far. It’s been a decade of politicians fighting and talk-back radio callers moaning. 

But one of the big wins of the NBN is that there is now heaps of choice. There are stacks of small providers offering the same internet as the big players, but with lower prices and fairer contracts, and better yet, most don’t ask you to sign your life away when you connect, making it easy to move on if the service sucks. 

Vodafone is obviously a big deal in phones, but not so much as an NBN provider. This plan is both fast and cheap, and Vodafone’ s no contract terms and 30-day Network Satisfaction Guarantee mean you can send it all back if the service is rubbish at your house. 

You also get a special WiFi modem which has a SIM card inside to get online straight away while technicians fiddle with the actual NBN connection. And, if there is an NBN blackout, the SIM card keeps you streaming.

Here’s a factoid for your next BBQ: Belong is actually owned by Telstra, which is good news if you’re a bit suss about brands you’re not familiar with. Belong is basically baby Telstra, but cheaper and with no contracts to lock you in. Belong also sells mobile phone plans which are worth a look, especially if you have friends overseas.

There’s nothing fancy about an Exetel plan; no video services, no cheap movie tickets, no fancy-pants gadgets. But keeping it simple helps Exetel keep it cheap, and unlike most internet plans, you won’t pay a setup fee when you sign up.

Like the other plans above, this is a no-contract plan, so you can try it out for a while and stick with it if it works for you.

Even though we’re focusing on the smaller players here, you can actually get a no-contract plan with Optus for about the same price. It doesn’t come with extras like Fetch TV at this price, but the internet should be fast, and there are no contracts to chain you down.

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Image: Scholastic