Naked ADSL Buying Guide

Naked ADSL gives you broadband Internet without pesky line rental fees. We explain what you need to know before making the leap.

Availability

Naked DSL isn't as widely available as standard ADSL2+. A key requirement of the service is that your chosen ISP has its own DSLAMs (digital subscriber line multiplexer — they facilitate fast ADSL2+ speeds) installed at your local telephone exchange. Though ISPs can resell ADSL2+ over Telstra's own DSLAMs, they can't offer Naked DSL without their own equipment. Your options then are to choose another ISP that offers Naked ADSL in your area or to get a regular broadband account and pay a line rental fee to Telstra.

Getting Naked ADSL can also be difficult if you live in a large apartment complex (which is sometimes referred to as a multiple dwelling unit — or MDU). While ISPs have no problem determining if standalone homes and small blocks of units will be able to get a Naked ADSL service, units with a vacant copper pair in large apartment blocks can't be easily connected. This is because in some cases the ISP can't accurately determine the exchange you are on and also can't verify whether your vacant copper pair is attached to a main distribution frame (MDF) in your building.

Some ISPs might refuse your connection unless you can guarantee them that you have a vacant copper pair that runs from your unit all the way to the MDF. In some cases, the ISP can perform these checks itself, but be sure you understand the terms and conditions and whether any extra fees will be involved. Sometimes ISPs recommend that you first get a phone service enabled on your vacant copper pair before applying for Naked ADSL, as this makes it much easier for the ISP to enable the Naked ADSL service. The drawback here is that you have to pay Telstra to put a phone service on the line, which can cost up to $130. If no copper wire connection exists between your apartment and the MDF, then you will need to notify the body corporate of the problem and proceed from there.

If you are on a Pair Gain System (PGS), in which the telephone line is split to go to different dwellings, this won't support a Naked ADSL service. A check on the line can be carried out to see if a procedure called 'transposition' can be performed, which removes the pair gain and connects your dwelling directly to the telephone exchange. Some ISPs can initiate this process for you, which can take six to eight weeks and won't cost anything. It's not always possible to be removed from a PGS. This is equally true of homes connected to a Remote Integrated Multiplexer (RIM), which is often used in areas where there is no existing copper line, or if a copper line cannot be physically attached to the home.

Jargon Buster

POTS/PSTN

POTS is an acronym for Plain Old Telephone System, while PSTN means Public Switched Telephone Network. Both refer to the traditional system of delivering telephone services over copper lines — the system that most have been using for decades.

VoIP

Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) provides telephony services over an Internet connection. It is often a cheaper way to make telephone calls than PSTN or mobile telephony — particularly for international calls — but currently has issues with emergency calls and delivering faxes.

DSLAM

Each local telephone exchange contains multiple DSLAMs (digital subscriber line multiplexers) which connect residential telephone lines to an Internet service provider's greater network. Originally, ISPs had to rent lines from Telstra and Optus in order to resell Internet services, but providers have since installed their own DSLAMs, allowing them to sell cheaper ADSL2+ plans and offer Naked DSL.

ATA

An analog telephone adapter (ATA) allows you to connect any traditional telephone to an Internet router for VoIP telephony. These are often small devices that look similar to ADSL filters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which ISPs provide Naked ADSL?

The following ISPs currently offer Naked ADSL plans in select areas:

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PC World Staff

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