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Do you need a phone line for the NBN?

Do you need a phone line for the NBN?

For anyone who remembers the dial-up days of the early internet, it’s no secret that the ways in which we can access the web have advanced significantly.

But in the age of mobile phones, if you’re looking to sign up to an NBN plan you may be wondering if you need a phone line to connect.

Do I need a phone line for my NBN connection?

Short answer, no. You should not need a home phone to connect to the NBN. 

If you’ve previously needed a phone line to connect to the internet with an ADSL connection, for example, this news may come to some relief for those looking to ditch their home phones in favour of their mobile phones.

ADSL connections relied on copper phone lines as both home phone and internet services were delivered through this same infrastructure. The NBN typically uses a separate network from your home phone service. 

Two common types of NBN connections are:

  • FTTP (Fibre to the Premises); and
  • FTTN (Fibre to the Node).

FTTP offers arguably the fastest and highest bandwidth NBN plans as the fibreoptic cables run directly to your home. However, FTTN are often located in old telephone exchanges and use existing copper telephone lines.

Despite using existing copper lines, even FTTN NBN plans do not require you have a home phone for your service to work. Instead, FTTN could connect through an existing socket or additional socket in the home, as well as other connection options that do not require a home phone.

Can I keep my home phone and still use the NBN?

Most Australians would choose an internet only NBN plan and instead opt to use their mobile phone as their primary phone service. However, there are several options available to you if you want to use the NBN and still make phone calls. 

  • Standard phone line

If you have an existing phone line or are looking to add one to your home, this is still possible under most NBN plans. If you wish to keep your home phone, you’ll simply need to focus your NBN plan comparison and search to options that offer home phone bundles. Keep in mind that 18 months after you are connected to the NBN, if you do not sign up for a phone line plan, your existing phone (and internet) service will be disconnected.

  • VoIP

You may also notice several NBN plans that offer Voice over IP (VoIP) programs. A VoIP will allow you to make phone calls over the internet through your NBN connection. Just keep in mind that if your service were to go down, your ability to make calls would be impacted as well.

  • Fibre Phone

Fibre Phone is a type of VoIP connection only available to FTTP NBN connections. Unlike a standard VoIP program, Fibre Phone connections are supported by a battery back-up with up to five hours of power. Meaning, if your internet connection were to fail, you would still be able to make phone calls until the battery ran out.

  • Social Apps

You may also opt to use apps like Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and more to make phone or video calls online. These social apps will typically offer web platforms or desktop apps that allow you to use the services without a mobile phone.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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