From Communications Day yesterday comes the news that Telstra will force other ISPs who sign up to sell services over its new fibre network in South Brisbane to also resell a compulsory voice service alongside broadband. The industry newsletter reports:
“A Telstra spokesperson confirmed that “if wholesale customers want to provide a broadband service then they need to take a voice service too.”
Now, this just strikes your writer as incredible. In a fibre broadband world, voice is nothing more than an application running over the network — an application just like email, web access or even Twitter. Why should ISPs be forced to charge their customers what CommsDay reports could be $27 or more for “line rental” … when they’re already paying for the broadband service? Strictly speaking, there is no “line” to rent. And if you place all your calls over Skype or another Internet telephony service … why pay for a line you don’t use?
We’ve tried to speak with Telstra about this one but haven’t received a response yet. It’s worth noting that under the National Broadband Network plans, there is no compulsory voice component that we know of. Telstra’s going it alone on this.