After strong lobbying, Primus has been selected by NBN Co to test a software fix that will allow retailers to provide voice-only services over the National Broadband Network's (NBN) fibre.
Primus CEO Tom Mazerski had been pushing NBN Co for a number of months to develop a voice-only product, telling ZDNet Australia in February, that there will be millions of pensioners and low-income households that won't be able to afford broadband services, and will only want a voice service. Until now, retail service providers, such as iiNet or Internode, have been providing voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services, through the data port on a network-terminating device, as part of a bundled package with a customer's broadband service.
Now, a four-week trial with Primus will test software that will make it easier for the retail service providers to deliver phone services through the UNI-V (user network interface-voice) port using the TR-069 standard, developed by the Broadband Forum. This port has an analog telephone adapter, which will allow customers to keep using their existing analog telephone equipment and retain the same phone number, after transitioning from the copper network.
There has been no change to NBN Co's product offering, however; NBN Co will still charge a retail service provider selling a voice-only service $24 per month, as it would for the basic 12 megabit per second broadband service.
NBN Co's chief operating officer Ralph Steffens said the test was designed to make it easy for retailers to offer voice-only services on the NBN.
"We understand that there will be a number of people who only want a telephone service, and that we need to offer quality telephone services, while making the transition to fibre as easy and straightforward as possible," he said in a statement.
Mazerski said Primus' objective is to ensure customers can get a better-quality voice connection after transitioning from copper to fibre.
"We believe this program will enable us to offer a quality voice product to all NBN consumer and business fibre customers."