Looking for (Broadband) Love

Dear Readers, I could use some advice.

On previous trips around Australia, I have relied for my internet connections on a month-long dial-up account from Supernerd.  This has the advantage of being able to purchase service for only thirty days at a ridiculously cheap rate.  It had the disadvantage of being excruciatingly slow.

But I wasn’t willing to pay the A$25/day fee that most hotels charged for in-room internet connections (often free but never more than $9.95/day here in the USA).  Some of the places we stayed offered free wi-fi in the hotel lobby: also often excruciatingly slow, and uncomfortable in the bargain.  (Try sitting is a tiny Melbourne hotel lobby in the middle of winter as a tour bus unloads 50 passengers and their luggage  for a taste of the experience.)

But, enough whinging.  This time around I’m determined to do better and have been investigating the much broader range of choice.  I don’t think monthly broadband plans were even an option three years ago.  So here’s what I’m looking for, and I hope that some of you can advise me on selection.

We’ll be in capital cities for the most part: Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, and Darwin, with a mid-course detour to Alice Springs.

I’ve got two devices I’ll be carrying with me on this trip: a MacBook and an iPad2 with both Wi-Fi and AT&T 3G networking. (Both bought here in America.)  AT&T offers an international 3G account but the price is scandalous: US$200 for 30 days and 200MB of data transfer.

I’ve done some research and so far I am thinking about going to a Telstra shop in Melbourne (first stop) and buying their Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband USB Pack to get service for the MacBook.  It costs A$79 with 2GB of data.

The iPad2 has a removable SIM card, and I’m thinking of buying the Telstra Pre-Paid micro-SIM, which would cost A$30 for 3GB of data.

Both deals look pretty good from this side of the Big Pond, but the devil’s always in the details.  So please, if you have experience, tips, warnings, or recommendations, pass them along.  You can leave comments on this post, or find my contact details on the About the Blog page.  Many thanks.

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5 Responses to Looking for (Broadband) Love

  1. Mark Smerdon says:

    I’ve done some research and so far I am thinking about going to a Telstra shop in Melbourne (first stop) and buying their Turbo Pre-Paid Mobile Broadband USB Pack to get service for the MacBook. It costs A$79 with 2GB of data.
    This is the way to go Will.
    It is what I use and is fast and reliable and Next G will be available nearly everywhere you go.

  2. Mark Smerdon says:

    It also lets you collect and send mail using you own pop3 account with you own ISP. I use a Netherlands ISP and pop3 account as well as my Aussie one, and it lets me use that. Very handy if you hate webmail, like me.

  3. shawjonathan says:

    Mark’s probably right, Will, but if you were just using your iPad, the Telstra micro SIM would be fine. It also gives you 3G anywhere that Telstra has coverage, which is more places than any alternative. But the iPad has its own limitations — no Flash, for example.

  4. Claire says:

    I’m late to this but for future reference I use the Telstra USB 3G broadband when I go to Australia, and it works fine. But I only use Telstra because I’m going to remote areas that no other network covers. I think some of the other carriers have better deals so if you are just in the major cities, consider Vodaphone or one of the others. Telstra’s customer service is also terrible. Trips to Yirrkala or the Centre, however, will require Telstra.

  5. Rachel Fensham says:


    I’m writing about Bangarra for a dance publication, and I’d have to say that your interpretations of their work are fresh, lively and well-informed, I particularly like your piece from 2008 on ‘Awakenings’ where you reflect upon the mix of traditional Yolngu dance and American modern dance in their choreography. Your American eye makes it possible to see some of those connections in ways that seem really important. This is exactly what makes Page’s work unique, elusive and perhaps in its persistent messages, transformative in Australia.


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