Note - this issue has been recently addressed in more up to date articles, available at
Why Do I Need to Pay Line Rental?
Shopping for Broadband - What to Avoid
Hands up if this is you:
1. You want an internet connection in your home.
2. You almost never use your home phone. You use your mobile for all Australian calls, and Skype or another VOIP (voice-over-internet-protocol) service for overseas calls. Or you use email.
You just moved into a place and don’t have a home phone service. There’s a phone point, sure, but you’re not going to pay Telstra $60 to connect and $30 a month for a service you don’t use!
Click here for the best Naked Broadband plans.
3. You want ADSL (a broadband connection over the copper ‘phone line’ in your house), but you do not want or need a copper-line phone service. So you don’t want to pay $30 to rent the line. The term ‘phone line’ is in quotes to emphasize that this is how they’re described – but these are copper lines, which can carry phone, internet, or both. They are not exclusively phone lines. Most of us just shorthand it that way, which is what can make this so confusing.
4. You hear about Naked ADSL, which offers broadband only over your phone line, and no line rental!
5. You investigate Naked ADSL options, and are disappointed to find out that it costs the same (or more) than a bundle which charges one price for your broadband and line rental, and gives you a phone service you don’t need and won’t use. WHY?!?
6. You go for Naked DSL anyway. Then you get told you need to activate your line with Telstra first, and then convert it to Naked DSL. WHY?!?
7. You take the bundle, with a vague sense of disappointment that you’re paying for a service that you don’t use.
Okay, let’s take a look at this.
Naked DSL offers many benefits, but cost ain’t one. There’s an underlying misconception about Naked DSL, and that’s the “no line rental” bit. You are still using the line for something – internet service! The internet data comes along the same piece of copper as your phone service. So you still have to pay rent to use it. The company providing the service still pays to rent that line. The wholesale price they pay is slightly less then what they pay for a full phone+data service, but it’s there. So your plan reflects that cost.
So what benefit is there, if it costs the same? If you’re in a share house, or setting up a place as a rental unit for students, you’ll want to remove the option of a phone line in the house that can rack up a big bill in unplanned-for calls. A Naked DSL line does also offer a very slight improvement in line quality, as the noise from the voice line is cancelled out. You also remove at least one avenue for telemarketers to annoy you.
If the Naked line costs my internet company a little less to rent, why does it cost a little more for me to buy? We don’t know. But we suspect there’s an economic reason – a bundled customer, on average, makes some calls. That drives in unexpected (but very welcome) revenue. Whereas a Naked line with unlimited data (or no charge for going over your data limit) can’t be counted on to bring in extra revenue. So the company adds a little extra to the baseline cost, to account for that lost revenue. This is a cynical view, but common practice in many industries.
The other reason is likely technological. To convert a line to Naked, the line first has to be connected to the local exchange and activated, where it can be re-coded from voice+data to just data. This requires the services of an engineer, and some co-operation from the wholesaler (usually Telstra). Both of those entities need to be paid. And don’t argue that computers do it all – computers are still pretty bad at making decisions for themselves, and need human operators to command them.
Why do I need to have an active service before it can be converted to Naked? Like the above, the reasons are a mix of economic and technical. It can get pretty murky from there, and hopefully this is a situation that will disappear very soon with the introduction of a National Broadband Network. The NBN will bring several headaches of its own, but this shouldn't be one of them.
Who provides Naked ADSL?
Not every company offers a Naked service. Some companies will entice you to bundle a home phone service with internet connections that don’t even use the copper line, like Cable and Mobile Broadband!
But for those that do offer Naked, some are offering to activate the line ‘cold’, that is, without you needing to activate it and convert it first. Others are offering it as a more expensive option to bundles, to encourage bundling in an extra voice service. And others are happy to offer it, and to also promote their own comprehensive VOIP alternative. These VOIP alternatives are feature rich and offer great value, but only if you need it (a good rule to apply to all services – it’s only good value if you need it).
Internode – Internode Easy Naked plans start from $59.95 for 30GB, but their best value Naked plan is the 200GB plan for $79.95. Internode will “establish a new service on a naked copper pair” (to use the lingo) for $129 (no contract) or $79 (24 month contract). You also get to take advantage of Internode’s top-rated, Australia based service and support, and their excellent value NodePhone VOIP service. Call us on 1300 106 571 to find out more.
TPG – TPG will also require that you have a pre-existing, active phone service before converting to Naked. TPG’s Unlimited Naked plan works a bit differently. Instead of bundling a home phone service (which makes no sense for someone who wants naked!) TPG can offer a bundle with a great value mobile phone cap, offering $300 credit for $14.99. The broadband component is $69.95, so the total bundle is about $85, for broadband and mobile altogether. This meets the needs of that exact portion of the market who specifically don’t need their landline phone because they use their mobile for everything. The setup fee is $129.95 for a 6 month contract. Call on 1300 106 571 for more info.
Primus - iPrimus have good plans for Naked DSL that do not require a pre-existing bundled service. Call 1300 137 794 for more info.
Last note – A normal, standard copper-wire telephone call will work for calls to 000, regardless of whether there is a power outage, internet outage or unpaid bill. The same cannot be said for Naked (obviously) or VOIP services. A mobile phone will still call 000 even if there’s no sim card inside – but run on a battery that can go flat. Please take this into consideration before dropping your landline phone. Also, remember that back to base alarms, fax machines and Foxtel DigiPath (the little white boxes that you connect to let you purchase Box Office movies) equipment will only work on a standard copper-wire phone connection.