Your NBN phone: Fibre phone vs VOIP

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Your NBN phone: Fibre phone vs VOIP

We took a look at two phone services offered by Internode over the NBN - their Fibre phone and their NodePhone-Initial phone service.

Once the NBN eventually rolls down your street and you're ready to switch over to it, your phone service will also come via the NBN (that's if you elect to have a phone service).

You'll find that there are two ways of getting a phone service via the NBN. For example, Internode recently announced that its NBN customers can get telephone services over the NBN via either: 

Or, you could elect not to pay for a phone service from a carrier like Internode, instead using Skype, or your mobile phone plan instead.

So what is the difference between FibrePhone and NodePhone? Let's take a look.

 Making phone calls over the NBN

The NBN box: you can see the two phone ports on the left

If you are connected to the NBN via fibre optic cable, you'll find that here are two types of ports on the back of the NBN box that's installed in your home or office:

  • UNI-V ports: there are two of these. They can take the same RJ-12 connectors that are on modern phones.
  • Uni-D ports: There are also four of these wider RJ-45 connectors - the same type that are used on Ethernet network cables. 

With the UNI-V port, you can connect your current telephone, and assuming you have a contract for telephone services from your provider (eg. Internode) you'll be able to make and receive calls just as you always have.

One advantage of this method, if you elect to get the optional battery backup unit with your NBN box, is you can keep making calls for about four hours if there's a blackout.

In addition, you can plug your plain landline telephone straight in.

The alternative is to make calls using a VOIP service. This means your phone calls will need to travel through one of the UNI-D ports. 

There are advantages here in terms of price, which we'll disucss below, although you'll need to make sure you have the right equipment. For example, a VOIP-equipped router to plug your phone into. This then plugs into the UNI-D port on the NBN box.

So which is the cheaper option?

Remember, there are are many different variables when comparing telephone costs - like call charges, flag-falls on international and mobile calls and different rates for special services such as directory assistance.

But there is one major difference between Internode's Fibre Phone and their NBN VOIP service, called NodePhone-Initial.

On the upside, the call rates and conditions are largely the same on either service:

  • no charge to call another Fibre Phone or NodePhone service 
  • 18 cent untimed calls to any standard fixed line phone in Australia 
  • no flag-fall and 29 cents per minute to any standard Australian mobile phone service 
  • 15 cent flag-fall and rates from 5 cents per minute to international destinations 

But choose the Fibre Phone on NBN and you'll a monthly fee of $29.9 - that's similar to paying a monthly line rental fee like the one you might be paying today for a telephone service over the copper network. There's also a $49 setup fee, though you don't pay it if you take a 24 month contract.

Get NodePhone-Initial though, and there's no monthly line rental fee.

A final note about alarm systems

Incidentally, we have seen reports from early adopters of the NBN using the UNI-V port for connecting alarm systems that remotely call back to a security company base. 

They are having difficulty with the alarm system calling back and have had to make alternative arrangements.  

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