Setting up NBN Phone Lines for Business

The NBN is now available at your site and your wondering what to do about transitioning your current PSTN or ISDN phone line to NBN phone lines. You quite possibly have a rep from a local business centre telling you have to change. Straight away. Today. Or you will lose your phone numbers. Today. And the only way to do it is by committing to this 5 year contract for a New Business Phone System. And its $18000 over 5 years. But I only need 4 handsets you say. Sound familiar?NBN Phone System T46 handsets

We are hearing plenty of stories like the above, featuring prices that would make a Packer blush.

But reality is that your copper services wont get cut off until 18 months after your site is declared Ready For NBN Service or RFS. RFS means that a NBN service can be connected to your site. If you wait 18 months and do nothing, your PSTN lines and ADSL will get cut off. But not straight away as some will lead you to believe.

Most business will have to do something about their phone lines and phone system. It may be a simple and cheap option and it make be complex and expensive. Read on to find out what the options are.

What are the NBN Phone & PBX options?

Lets summarise the NBN phone line options. Basically the 2 options are Business VoIP services that are used as NBN Phone Lines.

  1. Hosted PBX where you have the phone system hosted in the cloud and only have the handsets at your site.

  2. SIP trunks where the VoIP lines are connected to an onsite PBX that resides on your site.

Connecting nbn phone lines to a Phone System to the NBN


NBN PBX options

Do you need replace or modify your existing system?
Maybe…Maybe not. The NBN Phone System options for business will be …

You have a Hosted PBX

– No action required. Switch the system from your existing Internet service to the NBN when its connected and proceed as you were.

You have an IP Phone System

Your currently running PSTN lines on the IP Phone System.

Your Phone System may be NBN ready or it may need an IP card installed – Contact the PBX supplier and they can advise you if they can supply and IP card, or if an IP card is already installed on your Phone System. Once you have the Phone System ready you will need to port your advertised numbers to SIP trunks. See item 1 below.

Your currently running SIP trunks on the IP Phone System

No action required. Switch the system from your existing Internet service to the NBN when its connected and proceed as you were.

You have a traditional on Site PBX

Your running PSTN or ISDN lines that are not IP compatible. You can install and Digital to Analogue Telephone Adapter or replace the phone system. An ATA is a fairly cost effective device that will allow you to set up a NBN Phone Lines or SIP trunks and run it over some traditional PBX phone Systems. Some Traditional PBX phone system are simply not compatible with an ATA or it may cost more time than its worth to try an ATA. Once you have the Phone System ready you will need to port your advertised numbers to SIP trunks. See item 2 below.

You have a Phone System running ISDN lines.

No immediate action required as ISDN services are not being disconnected for at least 3 years when NBN co provides a ISDN replacement service (Most likely SIP trunks will be used as the ISDN replacment NBN Phone Lines). In future however ISDN lines will cut off by NBN co so your probably looking at items 4 & 5 below.

You don’t have a Phone System and you need one.

Contact Telaustralia. We will discuss your requirements and suggest either a Hosted PBX or a SIP trunk Phone System. See items 4 & 5 below.

NBN ready phone systems

A Hosted PBX is a fully featured Phone system with every feature a business could want including Line Hunt, Voice Mail to Email, Music and Messages on Hold, After hrs Messaging, Auto Attendant or Virtual Receptionist, Call recording and a huge range of additional features.
One things is clear, unless you have a IP Phone System or NBN PBX Phone System running VoIP or SIP Trunks, once you hit the 18 month mark after NBN is ready at your site, your copper service will cut off.

So its wise to plan ahead. Contact Telaustralia and get your no obligation consultation valued at $299 for free!

New NBN Phone Systems. What Choices do I have?

1. Install a VoIP IP Card to your existing phone system.

An IP card is hardware that allows your Phone System to run SIP Trunks or VoIP over your existing Phone System. The big advantage of this option is that you don’t need to replace your existing phone system. Its doing the job so why replace the whole thing?

Some systems may already have an IP card embedded so for this option we need to get a PBX maintainer to your site to have a look at your System and provide a quote to upgrade. Most quotes we have seen to do this range between $1000 and $2500 depending on the Phone System. There are some older systems this will not be an option….the IP Card hardware either doesn’t exist or is no longer available.

2. Connect an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) to your existing phone system.

An ATA is an external device that does the same job as an IP card, but its not installed internally into the phone system. The main advantage is that an ATA is usually the cheapest option to keep your existing Phone System in service.

An ATA comes with its own box and sits outside of the system. Its a bit like a Digital TV Set Top Box for your Phone System. The ATA converts a Digital SIP Trunk phone call to an Analogue signal and connects to the PBX typically via standard phone cable. An installer is required to connect the device and for some PBX systems they can be problematic to configure initally (as you are adding another device to the chain of systems) but once working correctly, generally don’t have too many issues. The cost to do these conversions will depend on how many lines you have/need but will start at about $600 for 4 lines and around $1000 installed for 8 lines.

3. Change your PBX to ISDN or install a NBN ready ISDN Phone System.

ISDN 2 and ISDN 102030 services run over Telstra copper but are exempt from the copper cut off. You would only consider this if you are 100% not convinced that a Business VoIP option is suitable for your site.

To convert your PBX to ISDN a BRI (Basic Rate Interface) or PRI ( Primary Rate Interface) card would need to be installed on the Phone System. The cost to do this will again depend on your system but typically $1000-$2500 with some PBX systems costing more. Again there are older systems where the cards are no longer available. The benefit of using ISDN is that it a very stable product. The cost of ISDN 2 & ISDN 102030 services have started to drop as Telstra realizes they need to lower prices to compete with SIP Trunks. Our call rates on ISDN are not dramatically different to our SIP trunk call rates.

New ISDN Phone Systems start at around $2000 with 4 handsets.

4. Connect a new Hosted PBX Phone System or NBN Phone System.

Hosted PBX Phone Systems are a cost effective option typically working out at around $150-$350 per handset installed. The big advantage with Hosted PBX is that they are designed from the ground up to work over a data network like the NBN.

With a Hosted or Virtual system that runs entirely over the internet, the only hardware on site is the handsets and a switch. With a Hosted PBX there is no PBX unit on the wall as with traditional phone systems, and this can be where significant savings can be made.

With a Hosted PBX Phone System, setting up NBN phone lines is very easy.

There is a range of features and benefits on a Hosted PBX that can dramatically improve the efficiency of a business. With Hosted PBX the line rental is usually based on the number of handsets as each handset has a license of around $10 per handset per month, which is instead of the Telstra Line rental. Hosted PBX systems can also be run over ADSL in the lead up to the NBN roll out. These are a far more cost effective option than Telstra DOT Digital Office Technology Phone Systems.

5. Install a Hybrid IP Phone System

A Hybrid Phone System (eg our Yeastar MYPBX Phone Systems) is a Phone System that can run PSTN Phone lines, ISDN Phone lines and SIP trunks. The advantage of a Hybrid system is that you may need many handsets but only a small number of lines. For example you need 50 handsets but only need 6 lines. A Hybrid or SIP PBX is a much cheaper option than a Hosted PBX in this instance as you only have monthly access charge for the 6 lines.

These are advantageous at larger sites where there is many handsets. Instead of paying a monthly license per handset, SIP trunks can be installed based on the number of calls required, not the number of handsets at the site. Eg 30 Handsets but only 10 SIP trunks. The big advantage of these systems in NBN roll out areas, is they can be installed immediately using existing PSTN or ISDN Phone Lines and then convert to SIP trunks when ready. The conversion to SIP trunks can be done remotely saving on expensive technician call out charges. The Yeastar MyPBXSystems with 4 PSTN or 4 ISDN lines start at around $2000 with 4 handsets. If no PSTN or ISDN is required they start at around $1600. Again these are far more cost effective option than a Telstra TBS phone system.

NBN PBX options


Whatever you decide to do our advice is to act early. Setting up NBN phone line can take time for ordering and porting of existing numbers. Don’t leave it till the last month when the copper cut off is imminent and risk having your business phone lines out of action. Speak to an expert and have a plan in place. It doesn’t mean you need to commit immediately but have a plan in place for transitioning your phone system to the NBN.