Australians have been living with the impact of coronavirus for six months now, with social restrictions being one of the major changes to our regular lifestyles.
More time spent at home with the kids has highlighted the importance of having a good internet connection so that all of our work, schooling, social and leisure demands can be met.
With all this additional time and pressure being placed on our home internet connections, telco comparison site WhistleOut surveyed 1,000 Australians to find out what impact social restrictions have had on how we spend our time online and how our internet performance has fared.
It turns out that single mums are amongst the country’s heaviest home internet users, while also being amongst the least informed about the internet service they are using.
Single mums amongst the heaviest internet users during COVID-19
More hours online
As you might expect, the survey highlighted that most Australians (78%) now spend more time online everyday. However, some people are spending radically more time online than they did pre-coronavirus, with 39% spending at least an additional three hours online each day. When looking at single mums specifically, 52% are now spending at least three more additional hours online on a daily basis.
Where is this time being spent?
What’s clear from the research is that Australia is a nation of streamers. Collectively we’ve found streaming services to be our most valuable online service or app during coronavirus, (24% nationally, 27% for single mums), and 39% of us signed up to a new streaming service during the early lockdown period (32% for single mums).
Similar to most other Australians, single mums have found themselves using the internet in new ways as a result of coronavirus restrictions. 40% of single mums have held video catch ups for the first time, 29% have started online shopping, while 21% have begun using online yoga or personal training courses and 19% started taking online classes like painting, cooking or learning a language.
Yet with all these new activities and hours of additional time being spent online, the research showed a large percentage of single mums don’t fully know what kind of internet service they are paying for.
When asked ‘What kind of home internet connection do you have?’ 17% of Australians didn’t know the answer, with this rising to over 1-in-5 (21%) for single mums.
And when it comes to those with an NBN service, 23% of Australians don’t know what speed tier their connection is, with this number jumping all the way to 1-in-2 (50%) for single mums.
Single mums amongst the heaviest internet users during COVID-19 (cont.)
The need for speed
You might wonder ‘what difference does the speed tier really make anyway?’ The short answer is ‘a lot’.
Most home internet plans now come with unlimited data and it’s the speed of the service that makes the biggest difference to the user experience, and the price you pay. The faster the speed, the better the performance you’re likely to get.
The table below outlines the different NBN speed tiers people can get, starting at 12Mbps (known as Basic I) and going all the way up to 1000Mbps (known as Ultrafast NBN):
Our research clearly showed that people using NBN services of 50Mbps or higher have been much happier with their internet performance compared to those using slower speeds (note, the naming convention for NBN speed tiers was changed shortly after this graphic was created).
For anyone unsure about what speed their NBN (or other home internet) service is delivering, we would suggest using a free speed test tool to find out what internet speed they are getting with their current service, and compare it to what else is available.
When it comes to home internet people tend to ‘set-and-forget’, but performance and prices can vary significantly. Running a simple free test will quickly tell you whether you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for.
With most Australians now spending more time online than ever, good quality fast internet services are coming into their own. 50Mbps plans are where we see performance satisfaction really start to lift and are usually fast enough for most households. NBN50 plans with unlimited data start at about $60/mth.
Internet providers regularly run promotions to get new customers so if you discover that your current service isn’t what you hoped it would be then you may be able to find a deal that offers a cheaper price and better performance at the same time.
See this article for more detailed support on choosing an Internet provider: Finding the best Internet provide for your household.