NBN phone lines explained

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With the NBN rollout nearing completion across Australia, it’s become the main type of internet in the home, rendering ADSL obsolete because of its speed. In the move to the NBN, a lot has changed, including speeds, data allocations and costs – and one of the biggest changes is to the humble home phone line.

You’ve probably got a lot of questions about having a home phone on the NBN – we’ll be answering some of them in this article.

NBN phone lines explained

The NBN replaces traditional landline networks for phone and internet services through an equally useable and reliable phone and internet service. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) has been introduced as a way to make phone calls as a result. It allows you to make phone calls over your NBN connection. It combines the features of a traditional landline phone service with the cost-effective call charges that your service provider offers.

The NBN has essentially been implemented to phase out the existing copper phone service, and it is more advanced as a result. It comes with all the features that modern consumers expect from a phone, complete with voicemail, call waiting, 3-way chats, caller ID and more, which a lot of modern home phones still don’t have. Phone calls should also be possible on some NBN connections without disrupting internet quality.

How do NBN phone lines work?

You’ll need to have your NBN phone service paired with an NBN internet connection – typically this is achievable by bundling these two things together through a single provider, although some providers offer home phone plans included. If your NBN plan is cancelled, your phone service will also be cancelled. It works with your existing handset which saves you money having to pay for a new one, unless you’re using a ‘pulse dialing’ phone (such as an old rotary phone), although these are uncommon.

Moving to the NBN network is not automatic, so you will need to arrange to have your phone and internet services moved to the NBN network before your ADSL connection is disabled. Your service provider will be able to advise you on how to do this.

Generally, you can rely on your VoIP home phone service to be just as reliable as a traditional copper wire home phone service. This system is typically faster than the copper wire system because it uses light to transmit data, rather than electrical impulses. The copper method is much cheaper to implement, but the NBN Fibre system is significantly faster and requires much less maintenance, so it is the better option in the long-run.

In homes using Fibre to the Curb and Fibre to the Node connections, copper will still be used inside the home, so you may notice some bandwidth issues with a home phone in use. In homes using Fibre to the Premises, a service called Fibre Phone can be used, which is a superior version of VoIP, allowing for more bandwidth traffic.

Keep in mind though that, as VoIP relies on having an internet connection, if your internet goes down so will your phone line. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got a reliable mobile phone plan.

How do I get an NBN phone line?

You can get an NBN phone connection by signing up on an NBN internet plan and bundling in a call pack (some NBN plans will come with this included). Your home needs to be capable of an NBN connection.

Most NBN providers will offer plans with bundled in home phone lines. Some NBN providers include home phone services on plans as Pay As You Go (PAYG) add-ons, however, you can typically get call packs for around $10 extra per month. Some plans will even offer an additional add-on for international calls. Make sure you check with your provider before signing up on a plan if a home phone is important to you.

You’ll need to sign up to the same provider you’re getting an internet service from for your phone line service. If you’d only like a phone service, some providers offer this as a standalone package. Below you’ll find a snapshot of NBN providers from the Canstar Blue database, most of which offer home phone services that are either included or able to be included. Alternatively, you can find an NBN plan using our free internet comparison tool.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of 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 referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from 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 referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of 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 referral partners.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of 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 referral partners.

How do I set it up?

Your home phone docking station will need to plug directly into a power socket and into your modem-router, which might not put it in the most optimal place. Switching to the NBN makes phone wall sockets you would have previously used unusable in FTTP and HFC homes, as the NBN uses separate technology. This isn’t the case for FTTN, FTTB and FTTC homes, which will use copper lines inside the home to connect directly to your modem.

Once you’ve done this, power up your modem and your home phone, and provided you have a home phone plan on the NBN, you should be good to go.

NBN home phone not working?

If you’re encountering problems with your home phone when switching over to the NBN, there are some solutions you can try.

  • Try unplugging the phone line cord between your modem and your phone and plugging it back in. Do this from both ends.
  • Consider replacing your home phone.
  • If the phone isn’t working at all, make sure you’ve got phone-line capabilities as a part of your NBN plan. You can do this by contacting your NBN provider.
  • If your phone is still not working correctly, contact your NBN provider.

Make sure the phone line you’re attempting to connect to the NBN isn’t a ‘pulse dialing’ phone, such as an old rotary phone. These types of phones will not work on the NBN.

Do I need a home phone on the NBN?

No, you do not need a home phone on the NBN. In fact, you’ll find the NBN a lot cheaper without a home phone. It might be worth considering not getting a home phone entirely and instead looking for a good mobile phone plan. Below you’ll find a snapshot of mobile phone plans that you can pick up instead of a home phone plan.

Here is a selection of postpaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use Canstar Blue’s phone plan comparison tool to see a wide range of plans on offer from mobile providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

Here is a selection of prepaid plans from Canstar Blue’s database with a minimum of 10GB of data, listed in order of standard cost, lowest to highest, then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see a wide range of plans from other providers. This table includes products with links to referral partners.

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