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Do you need a phone line for NBN?

There are many different types of NBN but unlike internet of yesteryear, there’s no need to pay for a phone line to access them.

Nathan Lawrence
Jul 07, 2023
Icon Time To Read2 min read

Internet without a phone line. Back in the fledgling days of the internet and early broadband, that felt like a dream. Fast-forward to more recent times and paying for a phone line isn’t necessary to access the ’net. That said, there are still some key considerations that involve phone sockets for certain NBN technologies to access the best NBN plans.

Do you need a phone line for NBN?

No, you don’t need to pay for a separate phone line for NBN, unlike the bad old days of dial-up. Modern broadband is either fully fibre or a hybrid mix of fibre and copper, where the copper component is exclusively used for its digital (internet) component rather than a mix of analogue (landline calls) and digital as it was with older internet technologies. It’s a lot like ADSL except with the potential for much faster speeds.

If you’re in the market for an NBN plan, here’s a look at popular picks from our comparison engine.

Which NBN technologies use a phone socket?

While you don’t need to pay for a separate phone line to access the internet, there are some NBN technologies that utilise the old phone socket (without an adaptor) to get your home online. These NBN technologies are Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC), Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) and Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN). Note that there is a slight difference between FTTC vs how FTTB and FTTN operate.

FTTC homes use an NBN connection box/a> (aka an NBN modem) that connects to a power outlet and a telephone wall outlet. That NBN box then connects to a router via an Ethernet cable to share the internet around the home. FTTB and FTTN connections also need a power outlet and telephone wall outlet to get online, but the difference is they use a modem-router, which combines the otherwise separate roles of a modem (bringing internet into the home) and router (sharing the internet around the home).

Can I get a home phone with an NBN plan?

Yes, there are NBN plans that include a home phone service. The difference between old and new home phone technology, though, means they no longer use copper wiring to make and receive calls. Instead, it’s all digital and home phones use voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology for outgoing and incoming calls.

Admittedly, there are some shortcomings to VoIP phones. Digital phone services aren’t compatible with things like EFTPOS systems, certain security alarms and medical alert systems, which are reliant on the copper network. Additionally, if your home loses internet for any reason (including a power outage), your home phone won’t work because it’s reliant on internet connectivity. There are ways around this, though, with an NBN modem with 4G backup.

Note that while the copper networks in metropolitan areas are being turned off, this isn’t the plan for the copper networks in rural and regional areas. If your home uses NBN Sky Muster Satellite or Fixed Wireless NBN to get online, you should also be able to keep your traditional landline home phone (and any copper network-dependent services).

Below is a daily updating list of popular NBN plans that bundle a phone line.

What are the alternatives to an NBN home phone?

If you don’t want to bundle an NBN internet plan with a home phone, the best workaround is a mobile phone plan. For the best mobile plans, consider a SIM Only mobile plan for better overall value and inclusions or a Prepaid mobile plan if you prefer more control over what you’re spending. Note that all Telstra mobile plans, Prepaid and SIM Only (called “Upfront” plans), are paid in advance, whereas most SIM Only plans are paid at the end of a billing month.

Check out the daily updating list below for popular SIM Only plans from our comparison engine.

Alternatively, the daily updating list below is for popular Prepaid plans from our database.

NBN phone line frequently asked questions

NBN uses digital technology (vs old analogue tech) for phone calls, which means a VoIP phone service is required for traditional home phone calls. As for the internet, FTTN, FTTB and FTTC NBN technologies all use a phone socket to get online (though you don’t need to pay for a separate phone line).
First, sign up for an NBN plan that includes a VoIP home phone line. Next, connect a compatible landline handset to the corresponding port on your router or modem-router to make calls. Check with your NBN provider if you’re uncertain about which ports to use.
You don’t need to pay for a new phone line to access NBN internet. That said, you do need to buy a VoIP-compatible headset and an NBN plan with a home phone add-on if you want to make and receive calls.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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