Australian ISP, AusBBS, has launched National Broadband Network (NBN) based telephone plans starting at $34.95 for consumers on the brink of copper disconnections.
The services are targeted at low income earners and retirees who do not need an internet connection but are living in suburbs which were among the first to receive NBN and will soon face copper telephone network closures.
According to AusBBS chief executive officer (CEO), Rob Appel, the plans were spurred on the back of calls from older Australians complaining about the unavailability of affordable phone-only NBN plans.
The cheapest contract at $34.95 per month on the ‘NBN Uni-V Phone Basic' plan charges $0.20 for local and national calls, $0.27 for mobile calls, and international rates from $0.019 per minute. Heavier telephone users can opt for the $44.95 or $54.95 options which charge less across the board.
Each plan includes line rental and a telephone number, but will require a $150 up-front connection fee.
The services can be accessed by plugging a standard telephone into the dedicated Uni-V voice port on the NBN Modem (NTD). AusBBS customers do not have to purchase new equipment.
According to a statement, AusBBS is working with the Government to get assistance to eligible customers requiring in-premises cabling to connect the new NBN phone-only service.
“The fact is there are many Australians who don’t need or want the Internet in their home,” Appel said.
“Nationally, almost one in five households aren’t connected to the Internet and this proportion can increase dramatically in some neighbourhoods.”
These figures are based on ABS data which indicates 83 per cent of Australian households had Internet access in 2012 to 2013.
While the emphasis of this launch is phone-only, AusBBS also offers a range of NBN and Uni-V phone bundles starting at the 12 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1Mbps upload range, and the 25Mbps down and 5Mbps up brackets.