Exetel NBN Review: The Best Value NBN Standard Plus Plan

Exetel NBN plans offer a range of options for low-usage internet users but ACCC data shows the ISP is behind on delivering advertised speeds.
Exetel NBN Review
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Data options for low-usage customers
Great value on NBN Standard Plus
Generous introductory offers
Ranks low for download speed in ACCC and Netflix reports

What you need to know

Exetel NBN offers a wide range of nbn50 and nbn100 plans for residential and business customers that compete with some of the best plans on the market. The internet service provider (ISP) entered the Australian telecommunications scene in 2007 with a unique proposition for broadband users: unlimited off-peak downloads. This decision was made in a bid to manage user bandwidth by encouraging heavier downloads outside of the network’s busier hours.

These days, we’re swimming in unlimited data plans so on-peak/off-peak times don’t factor into pricing and data allocation as much.

While Exetel NBN offerings are fairly par for the course, it does offer some fantastic introductory offers, flexible data options and the best value NBN Standard Plus plan on the market.

The best value Standard Plus NBN plan

If you’re not looking to stream Netflix in 4K, upload large videos, or live stream Fortnite on YouTube, you probably don’t need to fork out for Exetel NBN Premium internet (nbn100). Still, the NBN’s promise of speedier, sturdier broadband is appealing no matter what you’re using it for and Exetel offers the best value on the mid-tier Standard Plus NBN speed option (nbn50).

Is Exetel NBN any good?

For years, Exetel was a favourable option in serviceable regions thanks to its flexible off-peak allowance for huge downloads. But with the market shift towards unlimited data and speed becoming the main differentiator for price, off-peak and on-peak are two terms that are slowly slipping out of the broadband consumer lexicon.

The metric we use to measure if a broadband provider, such as Exetel, is “any good” is constantly changing. Before the NBN rollout, data allowance was the most important factor when choosing a provider. These days it’s all about speed and, thankfully, the ACCC gives us a good stick to measure with.

Out of the 8 providers tracked by the ACCC, Exetel ranks 7th (second last) for download speeds in busy hours and the busiest hour for the network. During busy hours, download speeds averaged at 81.7% of the provider’s maximum advertised speeds. During the network’s busiest hour, Exetel delivered 60.1% of its maximum speed on average.

The only provider that scored lower for download speeds during busy and busiest hours was Dodo/iPrimus.

Conversely, Exetel performed higher than any other provider for upload speeds during the network’s busy hours, delivering, on average, 89.9% of its maximum upload speed.

So Exetel’s performance isn’t so great when it comes to delivering the maximum speeds it promises.

This is supported by Netflix’s ISP speed index ranking. Despite Exetel’s claim that it’s NBN offering is optimised for streaming, it actual ranks quite low on Netflix’s ISP leaderboard.

Exetel places 6th on the leaderboard below Telstra, Optus, iiNet, Aussie Broadband and TPG. It’s the third-lowest ranking NBN provider, beating only MyRepublic and Dodo/iPrimus.

See what else we’ve got to say about MyRepublic’s gaming-focused plans and Aussie Broadband’s top-value NBN plans.

If you’re not too fussed about speed and streaming, Exetel offers a diverse range of NBN plans and one high-value Standard Plus plan (see above). Exetel has also stuck to offering various data allowances where others have moved to unlimited. While that’s antithetical to the simple plan structures popular with NBN providers like Belong, it’s still nice to know you can save a few bucks if you’re not planning on downloading entire television seasons or digital game purchases.

Exetel also runs a consumer-friendly speed check service for FTTB, FTTN and FTTC customers. After Exetel connects you, someone will follow up with a line speed check post-activation. If your speed doesn’t match what you paid for, Exetel will downgrade the plan and refund the price difference. If you’re not getting the speed you’re paying for, Australian consumer law protects you from having to pay out the rest of your contract anyway.

Still, it’s nice to see a provider proactive about only charging you for the speeds you can get at your property.

Exetel NBN plans

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What is Exemail?

Exemail is Exetel’s email service for broadband customers. Exetel offers select ADSL and Mobile Broadband customers 10 to 30 free Exemail POP3/SMTP email addresses when they sign up. These email addresses have a low data limit on storage and spam filtering will cost you extra.

Why anyone would want one is beyond us but Exetel still advertises 30 free email addresses as a selling point on its ADSL plans. Haven’t these people heard of Gmail?

How to set up Exetel NBN modem

On its 12-month plans, Exetel will cover the $59 charge for a ZTE AC1600 Dual Band VDSL/ADSL modem (but you still pay $20 shipping) . Otherwise, you can pay $59 + $20 shipping upfront if you opt for a month-to-month plan.

The Exetel NBN ZTE modem comes preconfigured for voice calls and internet usage so all you need to do is plug it in and connect your devices once you’re address is connected to Exetel NBN.

On the back of the name, you will find the name of the modem’s Wi-Fi signal and the default password. You can change your modem’s password by access your Wi-Fi’s firmware and settings via your browser.

If you’re still having trouble connecting to your modem (or your bringing your own), try giving it a power cycle before calling Exetel’s technical support team on 13 39 38.

Should I sign up to Exetel ADSL or NBN

Well, that depends, is your address NBN-ready? First step is to check your address on the NBN rollout map. If your address lands in the promised land of purple, congratulations, you’re ready to connect to the NBN. The rollout map will also tell you what technology is used at the location you’ve provided.

If you’re ready to connect, NBN will be your only fixed line option. If you’re still in a big patch of muddy brown, the NBN rollout has commenced in your area but not yet available. If your address is represented by any colour at all, then best of luck to you, building hasn’t even commenced in your area.

If your address in one of the latter, outside of everything the light touches, you can likely still sign up to ADSL.

Failing that, a solid Wireless Broadband (4G/LTE) could be your best bet.

How to switch existing Exetel ADSL to NBN

Once your address is NBN-ready, you will have roughly 18 months to switch from ADSL. If you already signed a 12-month contract for Exetel ADSL, you will be encouraged to switch to NBN free of charge as soon as possible. Exetel will no doubt contact you directly but if not, give the sales team a call on 13 39 38 and let them know that the NBN build in your area has been completed.

This will all be done from the other end of a tech support call but you may require a new VDSL2 modem to take advantage of the NBN. If you took the previously mentioned Exetel ZTE modem with your ADSL contract, you already have the equipment required.

If you’re a month to month customer, you’re not obliged to sign up with Exetel when the time comes to upgrade. We’d recommend checking which NBN providers service your area before making a decision.

How do I cancel Exetel NBN?

If you’ve got jack of Exetel or simply aren’t eligible for Exetel NBN/internet at your new address, cancelling is pretty straightforward. Just email one of the following email addresses from your account-nominated email address and request to cancel:

  • residentialsales@exetel.com.au
  • residentialsupport@exetel.com.au

Otherwise, you can give Exetel a buzz on 13 39 38 and talk to somebody over the phone. Exetel is one of the better providers when it comes to managing phone support expectations. Over on the Exetel website, you will find a live estimate of waiting time and the number of people in the queue in front of you.