Internode brings landline voice service to Australia's NBN

Service will offer customers a PSTN-like experience
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Internode, the Australian competitive provider that now operates as a subsidiary of iiNet, on Friday introduced a wireline voice service designed for Australia's fiber-based National Broadband Network (NBN).

Following what Internode said was an extensive trial, the new Fibre Phone service "combines the best features of traditional landline phone services."

When Telstra (ASX: TLS.AX) eventually decommissions its copper-based telephone network, the NBN Network Termination Unit (NTU), which is the home network gateway at the customer premises, can serve as a built-in analog telephone adapter with on-site battery backup to deliver the service.

At AUD 29.95 (USD 31.09) per month, pricing for the new service is competitive. Eligible customers that bundle the phone service with an Internode NBN fiber-based broadband connection will get an AUD 10 (USD 10.46) per month discount. They also have the option of porting their existing phone number to the service after paying an AUD 29.95 (USD 31.33) transfer fee.

Customers who sign up for the service will pay a total minimum price of AUD 78.95 (USD 82.58), a price that includes a one-month rental fee of AUD 29.95 (USD 31.09) plus an AUD 49.00 (USD 51.25) activation fee. However, Internode will waive these fees for customers that agree to a 24-month contract.

Internode's move to offer the new fiber-based service over the NBN is all about providing customer consistency for those customers that decide to opt for the emerging Fiber to the Home (FTTH) services via its agreement with the NBN. They can simply plug in their existing landline phone and make calls as if nothing has ever changed.

"Some folk want just a Plain Old Telephone Service, the same as they've always had, so now we can provide them with that service …," said Jim Kellett, Internode's product manager, in a release announcing the new product. "From the customer's perspective it's exactly the same as a regular landline."

Kellett added that the new service will customers the same familiar wireline voice service with what he calls "VoIP-style pricing, such as untimed phone calls to any fixed line service in Australia for a flat rate of just AUD 18 (USD 19) cents."

Although the new "Fibre Phone" service is Internode's move to be ready to deliver fiber-based services over the NBN, Internode as part of the larger iiNet is being just as aggressive on the traditional copper side. Leveraging its larger base of DSLAM-enabled telephone exchanges, the service provider recently debuted a broadband, IPTV, wireless, and PSTN quad-play bundle for AUS 99 (USD 103) a month.

Interestingly, Internode's parent iiNet, according to an article in the Financial Review, already has 10,000 of its own Fiber to the Home (FTTH) user. By comparison, only 7,000 of NBN's current 30,000 customers are using a fiber-based broadband connection.

For more:
- see the release

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