Does broadband Internet require a landline connection?

Matt Sayer 18 August 2017 NEWS

old-phone

Or can you cut the cord and ditch your home phone completely?

With every man, woman and child owning a mobile phone these days, the need for a traditional landline service is lower than it's ever been. Why pay for a home phone you never use, especially when so many mobile providers offer free calls and capped plans with more than enough talk time to satisfy the chattiest of chatterboxes?

In fact, with the NBN continuing to roll out across Australia, the need for landline services is dropping further every day. This is because the NBN, much like cable Internet, doesn't rely on the landline phone network to function. Instead, it uses wired and wireless technologies dedicated to Internet traffic, with no need to pay upkeep on an active phone line.

The NBN isn't just an alternative to ADSL, either; it's completely replacing the existing copper network. In fact, 18 months after your area has been declared NBN-ready, the old copper cables will be completely disconnected, rendering any service that still uses them non-functional.

Fortunately, losing the copper network won't leave you without a home phone service. Once the NBN has rolled out, you'll be able to use a voice over IP (VoIP) phone service to make calls over the Internet. The only caveat with VoIP is that making and receiving calls requires your modem to have a steady power supply. If you get hit with a blackout, a VoIP phone simply won't work.

To get around this, you can purchase a backup battery for your modem and plug it in during emergencies. Most backup batteries provide a few hours of operation, but longer-lasting options are available.

What if I'm still on ADSL?

While the idea of scrapping your landline service and pocketing the extra money each month sounds pretty nice, cutting the cord isn’t quite that easy. That's because a hefty chunk of Australia's broadband network still relies on the landline network's infrastructure to function.

All ADSL Internet connections operate over the same copper cables that landline phones use, meaning you need an active landline connection to use ADSL broadband. Lose the landline service and you lose the Internet, too.

This is why most broadband plans mention line rental as part of your monthly bill. The thing is, line rental isn't the same as a full phone service; you're just renting the cables, not paying for the ability to make or receive phone calls. A phone service will typically cost extra on top of basic line rental.

Given how traditional ADSL works, paying for line rental is impossible to avoid. That said, most Internet providers factor line rental into the monthly cost of their plans, which at least saves you the hassle of purchasing it separately.

The naked DSL solution

Even if you can't access the NBN yet, there is a way to avoid line rental if you look beyond traditional ADSL services. The simplest solution is signing up for a naked DSL plan, which some Internet providers offer alongside standard ADSL. Naked DSL functions the same as ordinary ADSL with one exception: it removes the telephony component entirely, dedicating the copper cables to Internet traffic alone. While this means you won't be able to make or receive phone calls on those cables anymore, you'll save money by no longer having to pay for line rental.

Since many providers of naked DSL also offer VoIP services, which allow you to make and receive calls over the Internet instead of the copper network, naked DSL can be an attractive alternative to regular ADSL. Unfortunately, your house will still need to have access to an active phone line in order to hook up naked DSL. It's also worth pointing out that, despite cutting out line rental, naked DSL plans aren't always that much cheaper than standard ADSL.


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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    TamaraAugust 21, 2017

    Can I get home phone with NBN satellite

    • Staff
      MattAugust 21, 2017Staff

      Hi Tamara,

      Thanks for your question.

      You will be able to sign up for home phone as an added extra with most NBN Satellite providers. Some providers will offer a traditional home phone service over the copper cable network, but many are transitioning to voice over IP (VoIP) services, which use the Internet to handle phone calls. This is because, 18 months after the NBN has rolled out in any particular area, the traditional phone network will be switched off and VoIP will be the only way to make and receive phone calls.

      If you want to future-proof your phone service, then, you might want to look into VoIP services rather than traditional phone services to go along with your NBN satellite service.

      I hope this helps.

      Regards,

      Matt

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