Do I need a home phone for the NBN?

If you still rely on your home phone daily, you may be concerned about moving to the NBN. There are plenty of NBN plans out there that offer an additional landline, bundled with internet offerings and other perks, but ultimately there’s a lot of confusion surrounding how it all works and what you need to get it working. We’re here to answer your questions about keeping (or ditching!) your home phone on an NBN plan.

In short: Do I need a home phone for the NBN?

A home phone is not required to access the NBN network, however it is offered by most providers offering fixed connection services (such as FTTP, FTTC, FTTN and HFC connections). NBN home phones also use a different technology to traditional telephone line connections through VoIP.

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Do you need a landline to use the NBN?

No, there’s no need an active phone when you sign up for an NBN plan. Unlike with ADSL internet, there’s no concern over line rental fees with NBN plans. However, if you like the idea of having a home phone and use it often, there are plenty of plans out there that offer bundled-in phones.

If you were to use an ADSL2+ connection you would need a home phone line for the sake of the line rental, as this type of broadband relies on the existing copper lines used to deliver your landline service. But if you’re upgrading to an NBN plan, your home broadband and phone lines are completely separate entities – NBN connects over new fibre networks (or satellite and wireless services), with a view to entirely replace outdated copper wiring.

This means that moving to the NBN allows you ditch the home phone – but it might be worth considering using VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) if you’re a landline user. VoIP converts your landline into using your internet connection, rather than the phone line. You just plug your phone connection into your modem, and completely avoid the copper wiring through your home phone line. As the aforementioned copper phone lines are being phased out, many internet plans now come with VoIP bundled in, or as an optional monthly add-on.

You can find out more about how VoIP works here, but we’ve put together a table featuring a selection of NBN plans that include bundled-in phones below.

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited NBN plans with bundled phones on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

NBN landline plans and prices

Landline prices vary greatly across what’s offered by providers. Some providers offer plans with pay as you go services (PAYG), whereas others offer unlimited landline calls as part of a monthly bundle. We’ve looked at this in a little more detail here. If you do plan on keeping your home phone, make sure you’re getting the plan that you need – if you make a lot of international calls, you should keep your eye on your money, as paying by the minute adds up!

PAYG plans typically don’t cost you any extra, with the assumption that you don’t use your landline often. Getting plans with minutes attached, or even unlimited national calling, cost around $10 per month, or are bundled in with your plan.

Each provider offers different plans, depending on your needs. Typically if you’re not big on landlines, pay as you go services will work for you. But if you prefer to keep your home phone line, you’ll probably want sign up for a plan that includes calls across Australia, and international calls if you need that too!

Should I get a home phone?

The idea of a home phone is now kind of dated, as smartphones are now so cheap, accessible, portable and commonplace. Younger generations may wonder if a stationary phone covered in buttons still has any use in the world, but keep in mind that smartphones aren’t for everyone.

Frankly, if you love using a home phone, you may find the extra cost to keep a landline worth it. But if you’re big on using your mobile phone, it’s easy to perceive your home phone as just an unnecessary monthly bill.

What home phone should I buy?

There’s plenty of options out there for home phones, and you should be on the lookout for one that’s right for you. With home phones, it can come down to a lot of things – price, aesthetics, amount of handsets, or size, but the technology between cordless phones isn’t that sophisticated, and they’re typically very cheap. You can read more about cordless phone types here.

Will my emergency devices work with the NBN?

Some emergency devices like security alarms, medical alarms and fire alarms use landlines to work properly, and you might be wondering how they’re affected by the switch to the NBN. Some of these devices aren’t compatible with the NBN network at all times, such as during a power blackout. This means if you’re living with emergency devices, you should be prepared for them to not work during a power outage. Your mobile phone, however, should still work.

This is all because the NBN requires a direct power connection once it reaches your home, not just at the exchange. Previously with ADSL2+ connections that used copper wiring, landlines could still be used because the copper network didn’t require power at the home to call people with. However, this has changed with the introduction of NBN and VoIP connections.

If you do rely on medical or emergency devices connected to your landline, you should speak to your equipment provider about your specific needs before switching to the NBN. Many alarm providers can offer alternatives, such as backup batteries, or verify if your devices will be compatible with NBN technology. NBN Co also advises that customers with medical or emergency alarms register their device before connecting to the new network – this will help NBN identify and manage interruptions to your service.

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