What is Standalone, or Unbundled ADSL2+?
- 'Unbundled' is not the same as 'Naked'
- 'Line Rental' is not the same as 'Voice Service'
- Bundled services are usually the cheapest option for most people
It is becoming more and more common for customers to want all the benefit of a fixed line broadband connection without wanting to pay the full cost, leading to the rise of Naked ADSL.
Put simply, it is ADSL broadband without the line rental fee. Since landline telephones are going out of fashion, many people see this as an easy way to cut the costs of their internet service…right?
Unfortunately, people often get Naked ADSL confused with ‘Broadband Only’, or ‘Unbundled ADSL2+’ plans which are extremely cheap but they are a whole different story entirely.
Line Rental ≠ Voice Service
Whilst most people understand that the telephone wire is capable of transmitting voice and broadband, we rebuke at the idea of paying for a voice service we do not need or want.
The issue is, the fee we pay is called line rental for a reason – we are paying to rent the line for a service (in this case the broadband connection) regardless of whether we use its full function.
Then why provide a phone service at all?
Well, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do want you to use it, so they can charge you for the calls you make. Of course, if you don’t plug in a handset at all, then you won’t have to pay for calls.
Not to mention, the whole network was designed with telephone in mind, so the telephone signal is the basis for all other possible systems – fax, alarm systems, and of course broadband.
Why separate the charge for line rental? Why does it have to be itemized?
Whilst you might cynically conclude that ISPs separate the ‘line rental’ fee from the ‘broadband’ fee so they can advertise really cheap plans, and then pile on the additional charges later, the reality is that when it comes to ADSL, no ISP is able to connect to your home.
The closest their own network can get is to your local telephone exchange. From there, they have to piggyback on a network that is able to reach to individual homes – and that’s the Public Telephone System which belongs to Telstra.
In other words, Telstra makes money on every ADSL connection in Australia and ISPs take advantage of that fact by basically saying ‘Look…we only want to charge you $30 a month…but Telstra want $30 to link you to us so it’s a $60 bundle, sorry.”
What’s Naked DSL?
Naked DSL is a product designed for people who cannot get behind the idea of paying for line rental when they don’t want phone service. It still uses the exact same line, and your ISP still pays an access fee to Telstra to use that line – but the voice service is simply not included.
For whatever reason, this condition allows the ISP to simply fold their wholesale cost into the overall cost for service – without having to itemize it as ‘line rental’.
This makes people feel better, because they can say they don’t pay line rental – but Naked DSL is typically the exact same price as the overall price of a line rental + broadband bundle plan. In some cases, it’s even more expensive, thanks to the higher costs to provision the service.
For example: TPG charges $30 line rental + $30 unlimited data for their standard bundle; but for Unlimited Naked DSL, they charge just $70 a month. As you can see, getting the bundle and then simply never plugging in a telephone handset provides the same services, for $10 less.
In fact, there are other benefits to getting a bundled voice and data line over Naked DSL. It’s easier for technicians to fix issues, it’s easier and quicker when changing from ISP to ISP, and it’s generally more widely available.
What’s Unbundled, or Standalone Broadband?
The phone and internet bundles listed above are made cheap, to entice you to have your necessary line rental fee paid through your ISP. When bundling, your whole line gets plugged into the gear belonging to your ISP; but if you don’t bundle, then your telephone line has to be split in half at the exchange, with one company controlling the phone signal, and one controlling the broadband.
That’s a hassle, so ISPs make it more attractive to bundle although there are situations where you will want to have your phone line provided directly by Telstra, while another provider offers their broadband signal over the top.
- Living with parents. Maybe your folks are Telstra shareholders, or otherwise don’t feel like changing, perhaps you want the Internet only to be in your name.
- Fax, dial-up backup connection, back to base alarm, Priority Assist. All of these services use a phone line as well, but are only compatible with a full service Telstra connected line, and not a re-sold wholesale connection. To keep costs down, most ISPs connect to Telstra with a very cheap, simple line connection that won’t support those sorts of complex features – this is because the vast majority of people want the line connected just for broadband, or for broadband and calls.
What are my options for Unbundled/Standalone broadband?
Dodo (1300 136 793) and Club Telco (1300 138 155) will both offer the same price for their connections, whether bundled or unbundled. So for example: if you want Club Telco’s Unlimited plan, it will be $40 whether you pay Telstra $30 a month for line rental, or if you pay Club Telco $30 a month for line rental.
MyNetFone concentrates on Naked DSL; but if you’re outside their network (for instance, in rural areas) then their reasonable plans will be the same price, albeit with you having to pay a separate line rental to Telstra.
Most other ISPs prices reflect their skew towards bundles, and are less competitive when it comes to this form of line sharing.
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us at 1300 763 813.