With the rapid growth in mobile phone ownership, many Aussies looking for home broadband are determined to find plans that do not include phone line rental.
It makes sense, if you’re not going to use a home phone service, why bother paying for home line rental? But this overlooks the fact that ADSL2+ broadband requires an active phone line to work at all.
It’s important to separate the two concepts. Paying for line rental doesn’t mean you are paying for a home phone service. Line rental covers the cost of keeping the copper line active and doesn’t include call costs or handset rental fees. It is just a necessary part of signing up for ADSL broadband.
So yes, you do need to pay line rental, but no, you don’t need a landline phone service.
The good news is that many providers bundle the cost of line rental into broadband plans now, so the cost of line rental is basically invisible. Many providers also include a free phone service too, which you might find is handy to have if you have a family with kids too young to own a mobile phone.
What about Naked broadband?
The alternative to paying line rental for ADSL broadband is opting for a Naked DSL service instead. Naked DSL still uses the copper phone line to deliver the internet to your house, but the phone number is removed from the connection, so no one has to pay Telstra for the rental.
Naked DSL came into vogue at the end of the last decade with the promise of making broadband connections cheaper while continuing to offer the same speed and service as a regular ADSL2+ service.
But these days, there is very little difference in the price of ADSL2+ and Naked DSL plans. As we mentioned above, many providers absorb the cost of line rental on ADSL2+ plans and bundle it together into a single monthly price.
Here are a few examples for comparison:
ADSL2+ Plans including line rental
Naked DSL plans
What about Cable broadband and the NBN?
Both Cable broadband and newer NBN connections rely on different infrastructure to current ADSL2+ connections, and neither require an active phone line to work.
In fact, the NBN will eventually replace the telephone system in Australia as we know it. Approximately 18 months after your home is connected to the NBN, the current phone technology will be deactivated and you will need to move to an NBN broadband plan to access a home phone service at all.
This poses a problem for people who rely on the current phone systems to power emergency alert devices and home security systems. Your connection to the NBN requires your modem to be powered on at all times, but if there is a power outage then you lose your connection and your home phone service as well.
If you use devices that automatically make phone calls, it is recommended that you look at portable battery options. Your best bet is to contact your device supplier and ask them about recommendations for keeping these services up and running.
Cutting phone line image via Shutterstock