One of the eventual benefits of the current Labor governments 'NBN2' is the fact that it allows a customer to terminate the monthly rental of a PSTN line and reverse the current situation where ADSL runs over a mandatory copper telephone line to where telephone calls run over the same fibre line used for data. The obvious benefit is that whatever amount a user is currently paying for a telephone line service will no longer be necessary and telephone call charges will be much less - for most users. Of course this assumes that the customer already has a VoIP capable router and telephone handset(s) and the technical competence to plug in these simple to install devices...not a biggie.
As with wireless broadband being able to get rid of the expense of having to rent a telephone line will be very beneficial to all but the remaining technophobes - a saving of $20.00 to $30.0+ a month should be more than enough incentive to almost every current PSTN user....at least you would think so. As someone whose company has not used PSTN for over four years and only uses MOIP to make and receive mobile calls I haven't actually considered VoIP as anything but a given for all of that time though I am aware that there are still people who make statements about its "limitations" - similar to the people who said the automobile would never replace the pony and trap in 1910....only worse....as Labor's 'NBN2' mandates the termination of the PSTN so it's not as if anyone has a choice.....eventually.
While this is a very long way into the future generally it is here now for those end users involved in the NBN trials in Tasmania, Kiama, Armidale and Willunga. We sent out the 'invitation' emails to current Exetel customers in those locations last Friday and will send a further email on Monday advising them how to test VoIP over their fibre connection if they have compatible equipment/handsets or how to buy that equipment from Exetel is they wish to do so. Exetel have been providing VoIP services for over four years and well over 20% of our current residential ADSL customers use our VoIP service with at least that number using some other company's VoIP service. Assuming the Labor government's 'NBN2' proceeds as planned this provides a participating ISP with the opportunity of increasing the percentage of their customers who use the ISP's own VoIP service quite dramatically. It also poses a threat to 'stand alone' VoIP companies who will almost certainly see their businesses wiped out as, as far as I can see, there is no way that an end user won't use the 'free' VoIP service that every ISP will include in a Labor 'NBN2' service.
I have commented on the extraordinary increase in the Exetel corporate VoIP services - more than 100 last month and almost 150 this month with a week still to go - but the future growth in residential VoIP usage when/if the PSTN is terminated will be even larger - over a very long time frame. For Telstra and Optus this will make little difference as they already have the exchanges in place to deal with large volumes of 'voice' calls but for non-voice carriers it will require very careful planning and execution as well as a fair amount of additional capital expenditure. I did some ball park numbers earlier this morning and it is quite a financial challenge......
......but the upside in terms of revenue and additional hardware and support sales and, 'profit', is quite surprising.