NBN phones for the business owner, all the answers for you.

Unless you know these top 10 tips on NBN and hosted phone systems you will have problems and it will cost you money.

With over 30 years in messaging and communications
I have gathered a few ideas along the way to share with you, Peter Hanley


First of all, we believe the NBN or national broadband network is a great idea and it is moving Australia forward in communications to a world standard.

In addition, it is not disputed that the old copper network was failing and something was needed to be done.

The original concept NBN was wound back by the Prime Minister from the initial design with a desire to get coverage sooner and cut the costs along the way; not a popular decision on many counts however it is the one we have so let’s work with it.

How is the NBN different?

We started many years ago with Voice lines to every business where one line carried one voice at a time. In addition, if you needed more people to talk you simply added more lines. You then needed a phone system to handle the lines and distribute calls to the various handsets.

Then came the Internet and we had a choice of how best to use it. In many cases, we split a voice line in half with part data and part Voice. Many wanting more capacity opted for separate data lines to fulfil their needs.

So basically you had voice lines that you shared with data.

The NBN is here

Along comes the NBN which is broadband data so we now share our data line with Voice. Hereby lies the difference,  an important one at that, data takes the lead role and can impact your voice channels.

In addition, the NBN is not one size fits all, it does have a basic standard level that will suit most homeowners and actually provide faster internet use.

For those wanting more, you simply pay more to achieve a level of capacity that suits you.

12.5 Mbps basic home service, 25ms super fast, 50 and 100 ms are available.

First of all.

It is interesting that the first broadband service in Australia in the late 1990s operated at a massive 0.056 Mbps streaming ahead in early 2000s to super quick 1.5mbps. ADSL2+ the latest internet offering is stated to achieve 12 Mbps but I find it generally times at between 7-9 Mbps. Test Here

NBN phones for the business owner,

In addition, there are two measures, speed and download total that should be considered.

Poor Voice quality on the NBN should be in the past

Nothing irritates users more than poor voice quality, (other than slow internet) because your customers are the ones that notice it most and quickly lose interest in any conversation.

The solution for anyone having more that a couple of lines or very large Data downloads are to have separate Voice and Data channels. Certainly most businesses and those with Teenagers and Game Players of course

The cost is not a game changer and it may well work out cheaper. This should provide a great result that you and your customers will be happy with.

NBN co have an article on speeds and data that can be accessed here.

Recommendation; have separate NBN data and voice lines in your business.

Pay for what you need on the NBN

Don’t pay for what you don’t need. Yes, you can get super high- speed network access at a cost but do you need it? ACCC deems any speed over 25mbps as super high speed so paying for a 100ms just might be an overkill. In the old days of one line for one voice, you had just enough lines to cover peak loading, mostly because each line was costing about $34 a month plus calls. So, if you needed three calls at a time you did not buy 10 lines. NBN is the same, don’t waste money on glory.

Recommendation; buy capacity to suit your needs, not your ego.

Accessing the NBN for Voice

Access is by some secret methods devised to keep us all confused, VOIP, voice over internet protocol or SIP, session initiation protocol are the most used and are simply ways to divide your data channel into Voice access using modems, port routers and phone systems.

Three choices here.

NBN phones for the business owner,

  1. If you have an old analogue phone system ( say plus 8 years) the best idea is to ditch it and start new. Don’t worry your options are still a phone system or a hosted service. Sip interface is available however it can come with limitations.
  2. Should you have a newer style digital phone system that can be upgraded with an access card then it may well be an answer for you. (check with your supplier). The system uses VOIP protocol to access the channels.
  3. Hosted or cloud-based systems will be normal in the years to come and have overcome the pioneering days to be a real alternative now. You are simply using a small part of a big system located somewhere out of your office. Your desk handset or cordless phone will act the same, or better than now and you have no, or limited capital outlay.

Which is best? Certainly, with newer systems, you will probably stay and use access to the NBN but in any other matter, I believe you will, or should consider a Hosted system.

Recommendation; Consider a hosted system for your business.

Hosted Systems on the NBN

NBN phones for the business owner

All things are not created equal. As in phone systems, some are better than others so you choose your provider wisely.

The most important issue is picking a hosting provider that has its own platform. Many resellers use someone else as a platform provider of their own. This is generally OK except in direct issues which can be a problem.
I advised on one situation recently and every issue had a delay in being fixed because it went from the re-seller to the platform manager, back to the re-seller to us. The wrong answer so the loop started again as we could not speak directly to those that would fix a simple problem. It was a nightmare that went on for days with misunderstandings in needs and language differences.

Carriers also impact the network speed delivered to you and the wrong selection may mean slower speeds.

Work out the features you need and start your search.

NBN phones for the business owner,


Talk about important issues this is a big one. I am sure every one of you reading this has been moved offshore to talk with someone in India or the Philippines to fix a problem.

Many of the operators are well meaning but due to so many factors, you are rarely left with a smile on your face.

you are rarely left with a smile on your face.

Having someone to talk to that understands your problem and can fix it live is a real asset.

Australian based support is the best option every time. Support that has direct access to the system not via a third party.

NBN hosted Telephone system options.

How many do you want? Your current phone system will include some wonderful options, many you have never considered and never likely to and a hosted system is much the same.

The standard everyday options we all use include, ring groups, call forwarding, messages/music on hold, conference calls, auto attendant and direct indials.

Link offices, home workers and mobiles into the system.

NBN phones for the business owner,

The important one that you don’t currently have is web-based management.

Web-based management

Remember the old days when we called a Telephone tech to make simple changes, then got a bill for a call-out and time spent chatting with the staff. Well, not anymore.

Most changes can be done from your web interface, live, when you want and achieve what you want.

Add users, delete users, change names all in a few clicks. OK, you still need someone for cabling issues but that’s about all. Does your supplier have a live web interface, it should have.

NBN phones for the business owner

Handsets on the NBN, what are available?

NBN phones for the business owner, HandsetNBN phones for the business owner, cordless handsetNBN phones for the business owner, Handset

Basic handset Cordless handset Upgrade handset

Like any phone system, there will be a range of handsets available and a variety of prices.

Basic handsets, reception handsets, conferencing handsets, cordless handsets just about anything is available. Even softphones for dialling through the computer.

Most people will be more than comfortable with a basic handset, OK, they may crave a flash and

trendy big screen model but save your money. A couple of days and we all forget the glitter, we just want to make and receive phone calls.

Your preferred hosted phone system will include basic corded and cordless handsets in the package with a small upgrade price for the bigger phones.

Call packages on the NBN

I am a great believer in bundled phone call packages, most of us do it on our mobiles so why not on the business phones.
It makes budgeting easy and eliminates all those surprise bills.
One word of caution here, make sure that calls to a mobile are included, many packages charge mobile calls per minute, some even with a flag fall and probably most calls these days go to a mobile phone.
One other is calls to 1300/1800 numbers. These are generally not included in a package but should be a fixed cost per call. Some charge on a timed basis that can create a big cost.

International calls are charged per time so if you have a country you call often check the costings. UK, USA, India, NZ start at about $0.02 per minute so cheaper than a local call.

If you don’t go bundled a $0.10 fixed call and $0.18 per minute to Mobile call can be a guide. In addition, beware of flag falls included as these dramatically escalate the price.

My Choice of the supplier to the NBN.

Now, here are the secret answers

Any selected carrier should cover all these important points for your business.NBN phones for the business owner.

  1. Select an NBN plan that best suits your needs, not what they want to sell you.
  2. Have a plan for data and a plan for Voice.
  3. Select the best voice option to connect your calls to the NBN.
  4. Have a look at a hosted system and compare.
  5. Where are support and what hours?
  6. What specific options are required?
  7. Do you have web based management?
  8. What Handsets do you need?
  9. Select your call package based on best value.
  10. Contact me and get all of this for just $39.95 per handset per month plus NBN cost

In conclusion, the telephone world has changed and will continue to evolve for many years to come.

The traditional phone system has lasted for well over 50 years with only minor enhancements along the way. One line, one call and a cost fixed by Telstra the line manager.

Small to medium business is my focus

In this article, I have concentrated on the small to medium business as the focus. This is because the home service is well covered by all and sundry who battle on a price basis with the same product. 

The national broadband network is owned and operated by NBN Co a wholly owned Commonwealth Company a wholesale supplier to the retail providers

NBN phones for the business owner explained

My focus was to highlight a potential move to a hosted service as I believe this is the future of the small to the medium business community due to both capital and service cost.
Due to the supplier recovery need, you will be asked to go on a term contract for the best benefits but non-contract options are available. As a result, lock it in and forget the phones and concentrate on business.

NBN phones for the business owner, hosted

Recommended ADSL 2 or NBN connection for greatest result. Flex max includes basic handsets and lines. Other call charges will apply including calls to 1300 style numbers, international calls etc.

One last qualifier.

Fax lines, Alarm lines and Eftpos lines were left behind in the rush to the NBN but are fast catching up.

Email to fax and fax to email are available at good prices and make your life easier and cheaper with no fax machine. Eftpos has gone wireless or internet based and overcome the problems and alarm companies are bringing forward innovative options. Check these items before changing.

Peter Hanley
Select Consulting Pty Ltd


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NBN phones for the business owner.