Naked DSL - How it Works

Summary: Naked DSL is a way to ditch your home phone line rental fee while still getting fixed-line DSL broadband.

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Naked DSL is becoming more mainstream every day as consumers desert their home phone landline, but still require affordable fixed-line internet.

Let’s first pay tribute to the name. There are thousands of technology products on the market, but few as eye-catching and memorable as Naked DSL. Hats off to the technology marketers on this one.

‘Naked’ refers to the lack of home phone line rental required in a Naked DSL plan. Usually, you need an active phone line to run any DSL service, but with Naked you’re stripped of this commitment.

‘DSL’ stands for Digital Subscriber Line, just like it does in the more-familiar acronym: ‘ADSL’. ADSL is the most common form of fixed-line broadband internet connection in Australia, but as mentioned above requires an active phone line to function.

Put our two terms together and you have Naked DSL – a fixed-line broadband product that will deliver ADSL2+ speeds, but without the added commitment of a separate bill for home phone line rental.

You’re not totally home free. Naked DSL plans tend to cost a little more than a stand-alone ADSL/ADSL2+ plan, because the network operator still has to incur the cost of activating and maintaining the phone line running to your house. However, because you are not provided with a phone number and subsequently only using the phone line for internet traffic, the cost of Naked DSL is often cheaper than paying for phone line rental and ADSL separately, or even cheaper than bundling them together in a special plan.

Typical ADSL connection / Broadband bundle

For a typical ADSL connection, the normal copper telephone wire to your house is activated for broadband use at the central telephone exchange, allowing for broadband internet service to your home. You then plug an ADSL modem in to your wall to get your broadband, but you can still make regular phone calls through your landline phone.

With all home phone connections in Australia, you ‘rent’ the copper line to your house for a fixed monthly fee so that you can make or receive phone calls. On top of this ‘rental’ charge, you then pay extra for the calls you make using any one of a handful of schemes.

Now that your phone landline is activated and your ‘rent’ for it paid, you can pay for an ADSL/ADSL2+ broadband plan. In essence, you have three billing events: line rental, the calls you make on your home phone and finally your broadband bill. These are sometimes all bundled in to one plan/bill from your carrier, which is aptly called a ‘bundle’ plan. Bundle plans feature discounts of some sort that vary depending on the carrier.

The difference of going Naked

Money. With Naked you save money by not having to pay for the line rental on a voice service (ie: a traditional phone line). The physical cabling is still there, and is being activated, but is only being purposed for internet traffic.

You can still make and receive calls with a Naked service, but you’ll be using something called Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP). In this case, your provider is now handling your voice service using the internet and can charge for it as part of your internet package. The physical copper line leading to your house does not have to be registered with the central exchange for voice services, which translates in to savings for you.

These VOIP phones look and act just like a normal wireless home phone. You dial out to any number and you’ll connect. You are provided with a number for people to dial in. The only difference is that your phone number will probably start with a different digit than you’re used to.

Naked pros
  • You pay less per month. The naked nature means that you don’t pay the standard cost of a monthly line rental
  • You can still make voice calls via VOIP. Sometimes these calls even boast better call rates than traditional services
  • If you don’t want to make calls from your home at all (you rely on a mobile phone), then there are plenty of plans that don’t include or charge extra for VOIP
Naked cons
  • If your internet connection drops out, or if you have a power blackout, then you will not be able to make or receive calls
  • Very occasionally you can find a Bundled plan for cheaper than a Naked plan

Setting Up Naked DSL

The most confusing part of the Naked DSL product suite is what you imagine might happen to your phone line if and when you cancel your phone service.

The answer is that you won't notice anything physical. The copper line still exists into your house and your normal phone sockets remain 'as is'. You plug your new Naked DSL modem and VOIP router into the same sockets as a regular phone. The difference that you'll see is that when you do make phone calls, your calls will be routed over the internet. There may also be some set up costs with your new Naked Broadband plan and a line activation cost (depending on ISP and contract term) so be aware of that when deciding on Naked DSL.

Getting Naked

If you're ready to go Naked DSL, and looking to save on your broadband bill, feel free to compare Naked DSL plans.


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