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Can I get internet without a landline?

Yes you can get broadband internet in New Zealand without a landline (a copper phone line).

Some years ago when you wanted to get a broadband connection you needed to add that internet service to your existing phone line.

In the Internet Provider industry this is referred to as a "clothed" connection.

Thankfully this is no longer the case, and if you have no need for a traditional expensive copper phone line (which most people don't these days, due to VOIP phone lines and mobile), then you have several broadband plans to choose from when it comes to getting high speed internet at your place.

Option 1 - Naked broadband

Not nearly as risque as it sounds, naked broadband is simply an ADSL or VDSL connection without any phone number/service attached to it on the copper line.

These are very common, as a lot of people only want an internet connection.

For those who do want a landline phone number available to them, they'll usually get a more modern phone service such as VoIP.

This is a voice line that runs over your internet connection, and is quickly becoming the norm when it comes to landlines in home and office - most telecommunications companies now offer these as standard "phone lines" with their suite of services.

A naked broadband connection will usually be considerably cheaper than a broadband + copper phone line service, as that phone line alone is often around the $50/month mark.

Option 2 - Fibre broadband

More and more of us are moving away from any copper line phone and internet services, opting instead for faster more reliable Fibre broadband.

With the UFB infrastructure rollout almost complete, the vast majority of homes and businesses in New Zealand have fast fibre available to them, and it's often priced very similarly to the older less reliable copper based ADSL/VDSL services.

I've been on Fibre for many years now, and on Fibre Max broadband (up to 950 Mbps down / 450 Mbps up) since 2019, and there is no way I would ever consider going back to VDSL which is what I had previously. If we were to move house and find that Fibre was not available there (which is rare), only then would I switch back off Fibre!

Aside from the mind-boggling speeds, one of Fibre's biggest drawcards is the reliability.

Unlike ADSL and VDSL, fibre doesn't suffer from many of the main issues that crop up for copper broadband, such as slower speeds the further you are from the exchange, more common disconnection issues, bad weather causing degraded service or outages, and the list goes on.

Option 3 - Wireless Broadband

Another relatively recent arrival is wireless broadband which has entered the market in NZ.

This is not to be confused with WiFi, which is just the wireless access point available in your home from your router in most cases.

Wireless internet most often makes use of the 4G network, and depending on your location and number of users in your neighbourhood, speeds can vary dramatically - and are not normally as fast as what you get on high speed Fibre, in my experience.

Many of these wireless services also don't offer unlimited data, which is commonplace for naked broadband and Fibre - and throttling down to a reduced speed if data usage is "too high" is also common.

What if I want to add a phone line later?

So you've got yourself naked broadband, and you're enjoying your internet connectivity - but what happens if you decide you want a phone line at a later date?

No worries! In most cases the best thing to do is just talk to your provider and get a VoIP phone line added - and it'll usually only cost around 20% of the cost of a old copper phone line too, which is pretty sweet!

The way these work with many providers is that the phone settings will be configured on your router for you, and you'll be able to plug a normal phone directly into the back of your router and be up and running in no time. Alternatively you can wire your homes internal phone circuit into the router, which sounds complicated but is very straight forward for an electrician or telco technician to do.

Why not just get a copper phone line attached to your broadband?

So you can see we're got a whole range of options for getting a connection without the old copper phone line as part of the deal....

But why wouldn't we choose to just stick with what we used to do, and get both broadband AND phone running over the copper line?

Well, several reasons:

  • Cost - a copper phone line is MUCH more expensive than a VOIP phone line (or no landline at all, if you don't ever use one). It's common to pay 5 times as much for a copper phone line!
  • Portability - you can move house, pick up your router and plug it into your new homes internet, and your phone is working immediately.
  • Copper based Phone lines (known as PSTN or POTS in the telco industry) are going away soon - the aging copper phone infrastructure is rapidly becoming more expensive to maintain per line, as more customers move to the more modern Fibre based services.