Australia’s Cheapest Gigabit Internet Plan Is Only $89

Australia’s Cheapest Gigabit Internet Plan Is Only $89

This week, DGTek RSP Pineapple Net announced an early end-of-financial-year sale for its symmetrical gigabit internet plan, bringing it down from $119 to $89 for one month. In comparison, the next cheapest symmetrical gigabit internet plan we could find is with Aussie Broadband for $695 a month.

This all leads to a few big questions: Who the hell is Pineapple Net? What is symmetrical internet (and why should you care)? And what’s the catch?

Who the hell is Pineapple Net?

Pineapple Net is a reseller of the DGTek private fibre network, an NBN challenger primarily located in Melbourne, but also with some buildings in New South Wales and Queensland.

Their current plan line up is now:

Speed150/150 Mbps250/250 Mbps350/350 Mbps500/500 Mbps1000/1000 Mbps
Price per month * for the first 9 months$59$69$79$89$89 (with EOFY24 code)
Ongoing price$65$79$99$109$119
Current Pineapple Net plans

Full disclosure: I am a current Pineapple Net customer, and they’ve been really good. The internet is fast, the prices are low, and you get that smug feeling of superiority whenever you do a speed test. Before DGTek owned Pineapple, it was delightfully chaotic in a small-town corner shop kind of way, but sadly it’s now run as a professional operation (still with personal customer service, though).

What is symmetrical internet (and why should I care)?

cheap nbn 25 plans
Image: 20th Television Animation

Great question! Symmetrical internet speeds are when you have the same upload and download speed. It’s something that most companies don’t offer due to hangovers from ADSL (and also as a ploy to get you to pay more). So, for example, most gigabit NBN plans are 1000/40, which is weird. In comparison, DGTek gigabit plans are 1000/1000

Richard Barresi, Co-CEO of DGTek said non-symmetrical speeds are the vestigial tail of ye olden network times.

“One of the main reasons is back in ADSL days you couldn’t really provide a symmetrical service on that DSL line. When things get upgraded, technology is upgraded but it’s not so easy for the product and the systems behind that to be upgraded.

“It’s easier for them to continue offering asymmetrical speeds. The second reason, and I say the biggest reason is companies can charge exorbitant rates for symmetrical speeds.”

Barresi continued, “They probably could provide [symmetrical speeds], if they wanted to do a bit of configuration changes in their core networks and edge networks. I wouldn’t say it would require much. But they wouldn’t because of all those commercial services where they’re charging, something like $800, $900, even more than $1,000 for a gigabit symmetric. In fact, Telstra charges way more than that.”

Another reason, though, are the constraints placed within the NBN reseller model.

“The way that an ISP, let’s say Aussie Broadband, buys an NBN tail, they’ll pay the NBN for that tail, and that will be limited to a certain speed. So, that’s the number one and the major reason why they can’t [offer symmetrical speeds] – it’s expensive. DGTek doesn’t do that, we provide a fixed rate to our ISPs. They can decide if they want to put 50 megabits, 100 or 1000 and we charge the same. We don’t limit it, so that’s one major difference,” Barresi said.

The reason why DGTek can offer symmetrical speeds is because the network was custom built well after the ADSL days, following the European model.

“To be honest, it cost us money. But [from the beginning] we severely over engineered the network so that everyone on our network will be able to actually reach their subscribed speeds,” Barresi said.

Interestingly, it costs internet companies the same no matter what speed you have. What costs them more is how much data you actually use. Charging more for higher speeds is less about how much it costs them to give you fast speeds, and more about them placing a bet that people with faster speeds will download more data. For a lot of people that is true, but also there are a lot of people who are just impatient, and in our current piracy-averse culture, people aren’t downloading as much as they used to. This has led some service providers to float the idea of one day moving to a more electricity-based model, where you pay for usage rather than max speed, which has some potential merit to it for some people. But that’s a conversation for another day.

What’s the catch?

There is always a catch, sadly. There are two catches here:

  1. That $89 offer is only for your first nine months, after that it goes back up to $119 a month if you want to keep 1000/1000, which is still Australia’s cheapest symmetrical gigabit internet plan. Or you can drop down to 500/500 for $109 ongoing, which is still way more speed than most people would ever fully take advantage of.
  2. DGTek and Pineapple Net aren’t available in a lot of places. You can look up your address here, but if you’re not in metropolitan Melbourne (or in buildings in Qld and NSW which used to have Spirit Internet, which DGTek acquired a few years back), you’re out of luck. My condolences.

Still, it’s nice to know that better is possible. Hopefully other networks and ISPs will lift their game, too.

This story has been edited to reflect that the $89 is for the first 9 months, not just the first month.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.