Internet Options While On the Road in Australia
Whether you are travelling for your holidays or business, there is always a need to have reliable internet. Travelling across Australia, from the cities to rural areas, you will likely experience a big difference in wireless internet access. However, free hot spots are starting to catch on more and more, and with the NBN broadband rollout, there should be high speed coverage for the entire mainland soon enough.
Currently, there are 3 main options for accessing the internet whilst on the go in Australia: WIFI, internet cafes, and high speed mobile broadband. Which one you choose will depend upon your personal need; for example, if you want to keep the children entertained during a long car journey, then mobile broadband is the best option for you.
Here are the best options for reliable internet when you are travelling around the country and how to make sure you have it in place before you leave.
High Speed Mobile Broadband
The advantages of mobile broadband make this the perfect option for a traveler who wants easy access throughout the entirety of their trip. There are many providers of mobile broadband in Australia. One provider, iinet (my former employer!) for example, offers you the chance to download high speed data even when we are in an area with no standard broadband connections. Mobile broadband is simple to use, all you need is the USB which automatically connects you to the internet – that’s it: simple.
The main benefits of choosing to get mobile broadband for your trip are that the data and payment options will suit the majority of people’s needs. For example, you can choose whether you will need 2G or 3G broadband with a whole range of data download packages available. Obviously these do have different costs attached to them. If you simply want to post photos to Facebook and check your emails, then the smaller packages will be the most appropriate. However, if you want to stream your favourite shows on the go then you will need a larger deal.
WIFI has been with us now for many years and is a great option for those of us who are planning to stay in one place for a short period of time. There are many places that offer WIFI hotspots such as hotels, cafes, restaurants and shopping malls. Adelaide and Melbourne are the most connected cities, and you can find some free Wifi hotspots in Sydney and Brisbane. Some hotspots, like at hotels, may charge you for this service.
WIFI is limited in service and range, so you will find that you’ll lose the connection if you want to go outside your hotel or guest house, for example. However, if you have a strong signal, you will find that the majority of your online needs will be covered by access to wireless internet.
Internet cafes are perfect for those of us who simply want to send an email or update our social media – and enjoy a cup of coffee or pastry in the meantime. Located across the country (especially in cities), they are a very useful resource, although they are very limited as to how they can be used.
Essentially you will get a coffee and use one of the many computers provided to do whatever you need to. You will pay for a specific amount of time, this varies from place to place, some may charge $5 AUD for half an hour but this can rise exponentially. There are also limitations upon what you can and can’t do, for example watching a Youtube video is fine, but an hour long TV show maynot be. You may also find that there are certain sites that have been blocked, such as gambling sites. This is a measure in place to protect younger visitors, but if you are simply checking emails or surfing the web – then this is a handy form or easy access internet. Many major shopping centres in Australia also have internet kiosks which can be used for a price.
Another option is to make use of a public library. Many libraries across Australia allow (somewhat restricted) internet access without even needing to sign up for a library card.
If you are travelling to Australia soon and want to try out internet cafes, then there are many sites available that have the locations of cafes in the area you are travelling to. Planning it into your trip will be helpful especially if you are using it to keep in touch through Skype etc.!
How do you stay in touch when you’re on the road?