TECH Q&A: What to do when you lose your landline

Kerry wants to know if she has to sign up to an expensive deal to keep her landline.

Will the NBN take my landline?

Kerry wants to know if she has to sign up to an expensive deal to keep her landline once the NBN is installed in her area.

Q. Kerry
What happens when our phones get cut off because of the NBN? People who don't have computers are left with only mobile phones to call government offices all of which have 1300 numbers and which mobile phone companies charge megabucks for? How can we possibly afford to wait the very long times required to be connected?


A. Hi Kerry. Thanks for your question. Having the NBN arrive in your area is a scary time, especially with all the negative experiences some people are reporting during the process.

The good news is that your landline will not (or should not) be cut off without significant warning.

Your current home phone provider will advise you when the NBN becomes available in your area, and you have 18 months to act before fixed-line phone services are severed.

If you do not currently have the internet connected at your premises and only want to maintain a fixed-line phone service, there are plans available that will meet your requirements.

Optus has a home phone plan that will work with the NBN that starts from $22 per month, while Telstra’s lowest price home phone offering starts from $27.95 per month.

If the 18-month deadline is approaching and you still haven’t been connected to the NBN and you are worried that your current phone service will be severed, there are still a few things to keep in mind. First, if you have booked a connection with your telecommunications provider, your landline will not be severed until your NBN is connected. If you have yet to sign up to connecting to the NBN, as soon as you do sign the contract, your existing service will be maintained until the NBN connection is ready to use.

The only situation where you will lose access to your fixed line phone service is if you let the 18-month deadline pass without signing up to a plan.

I hope this helps alleviate some of your concerns.

Do you have a tech question you would like answered?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    3rd Apr 2018
    The old landline system had its own power supply so if the electricity was cut to your area you could still have telephone access for safety and security. With the NBN your supplied with a modem that plugs into your household power supply, therefore if you rely on just a phone and your area looses power you are left with NO access to the outside world! So how do you rectify this problem? Your Telco will sell you a mobile phone which makes you wonder why do you need the NBN in the first place especially if your not into computers and the like?
    3rd Apr 2018
    Correct. You don't need to connect to the NBN if you have a mobile phone and use that as your main point of contact.
    4th Apr 2018
    Use TPG, they supply a backup battery for ALL their plans, good for around 6 hours. You cannot have a TPG plan without a battery.
    3rd Apr 2018
    If your paying more than $10 for a mobile plan and don't need internet then your current provider is really taking you for a ride. The above examples are NOT on a contract and YES you can keep your mobile number. The NBN has not made landline cheaper than $30 mth but when you combine internet and landline together it will cost about $50 mth with many included calls.
    I do not work for or represent the above mentioned providers but highlighting the money that can be saved if you only need a phone for contact. Keep in mind your a mobile has a better chance during power fail than NBN as you need extra equipment to keep NBN landline working.
    Hope this info helps.
    3rd Apr 2018
    Helpful info and comments.
    Thankyou all.
    3rd Apr 2018
    It costs extra but on installation of NBN you are given the option of a back up battery power supply in case of power cuts. Also worth remembering is that you also can't recharge your mobile, laptop, etc during a power failure.
    3rd Apr 2018
    I think everyone should own and carry a mobile phone which is always kept fully charged. Some only cost 10.00 plus ‘package.’ It’s there for emergencies. The era of landlines is over so it’s best if everyone gets used to the new technolog the same way our ancestors got used to electric light switches. It’s such a pity if older people don’t use the internet - it’s a boon for keeping in cconact with family and friends across the world. Skype is wonderful!
    Knight Templar
    3rd Apr 2018
    Our NBN was installed about 15 months ago. We were not aware or advised of an 18 month option for the land line. It was immediately severed and now functions only through the modem.

    A mobile phone is essential in the event of a power failure.
    4th Apr 2018
    Use TPG, they insist on supplying a battery, good for 6 hours.
    3rd Apr 2018
    But does the NBN and TELSTRA plan for a landline phone, go down when the internet goes down.?? Is this a separate service or just another form of the same thing.

    Recently my internet went down, the modem showed no lights working. That means I cant phone anybody to find out whats wrong because the phone goes thru the modem and it goes down too.

    I keep a mobile phone, but its for prepaid text messages, that means any voice calls will chew up my $10 prepaid service in no time.
    Knight Templar
    3rd Apr 2018
    Unfortunately Charlie, it is now a fact of life for many customers, that once the modem ceases functioning, for whatever reason, the landline will go down with it. The only option available to counter this problem is the purchase a mobile phone. Extra bucks for the communication giants.
    3rd Apr 2018
    Charlie some ISPs provide an NBN battery ‘free! Otherwise you can buy one for about 40.00. Theoretically they should last 5 years before replacement. I think it’d do the trick for you but I am no expert.
    3rd Apr 2018
    Battery backup or mobile phone. I have two 4G mobiles maybe some dirt cheap deal on one on them for emergency voice contacts, 365 days. It could double as a boat emergency phone for small time adventures
    3rd Apr 2018
    We knew we had to change to NBN eventually, so we did it sooner rather than later. Now we have unreliable internet access (it drops out several times a day) and when it drops out the landline phone doesn't work because it's voice over the internet protocol (VOIP). We are now paying for a service that is inferior to our our landline telephone and adsl internet service. The company IINet doesn't seem to care as we have contacted them by phone only to be cut off, emailed no answer (as yet, who knows when). It's a cock-up for hundreds of thousands of Australians. The whole thing wasn't thought through and will probably take years to make it right.
    3rd Apr 2018
    iiNet was bought out ages ago by TPG (HQ in South Africa). They are very helpful but most help calls end up in New Zealand.
    3rd Apr 2018
    Anyone on a fixed wireless connection -that is, most people in the bush, will not have their fixed copper line cut off. They will still be able to keep and use their landline if they wish but it will cost them more for phone calls than it would if they move over to the NBN.

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