Broadband

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An Easy Guide to choosing Fibre-Broadband Telephones after B4RN is installed

There’s been a buzz about the B4RN fibre broadband coming to KO parish with some of us possibly being connected up before Easter. However there has not been much explanation about how telephone handsets will work with the B4RN fibre broadband supply. Well, let’s put that right. Many of us already use phones over the internet, and very often, we are not aware of it. Let’s take a step back to explain the difference between an internet supplier (B4RN) and a phone number (01768) supplier(for instance BT).An internet supplier gives you the access to the internet. The number supplier (only) makes sure the 01768 number is allowed access to the telephone system, as well as supporting the technical needs of that number.

Clear as mud, I hear you say and the more you try and explain the worse it gets! You don’t really need to know the technology behind it, only that they are two separate services. They exist together but are separate, and you’ve got to pay separately for two things. If you’ve been with Londsale Net/Voneous, BT or Virgin your bill consists of an internet-supply cost, and a phone number-supply cost. So you’re already paying for two services, but it’s been with just one supplier.

B4RN currently offer an internet supply only and not a phone number supply. This is not an issue. As we move over to B4RN, each household will have to find a new supplier for the phone number (with or without a handset) and contract which suits your needs. There are lots of different options out there. We’ve created a team of volunteers to help advise you which phone number and/or handset supplier is best for what your home phone needs are, now and in the future. We are also negotiating special prices from these suppliers for the parish.

How you use your phone now (and in the future) influences the cost, and different contracts vary a lot in price depending on your usage. We’ve all grown up with a static/ home phone/handset sitting somewhere in the house, waiting for you to pick it up and use it. If you think about it, you’re paying for something which is possibly only used 5-10 minutes a day, or less in some cases. We have an amazing opportunity to change the way we use our phones, if we want to. We will be providing advice on how you can change in the February edition, to make things cheaper and more future-proof for you and your families’ needs. Or just keep the 01768 number as you do now. We shall even challenge the need for a landline number at all. Working from home, home-schooling and online social activities have changed the world we live in and having a good phone system that works for you is really important.

The questions that concern people right now are:
I want to keep my home phone– but will I need it in the future if we have B4RN broadband in the house?

If you’ve been with LondsaleNet/Voneous,Virgin, BT package, you’ve actually been making and receiving your phone calls over the internet, and not via the traditional landline (the copper wire). Something to think about is whether you even need a traditional home phone/handset/01768 number. Lots of phone calls and video calls are now made over the internet (eg WhatsApp and Facebook calls/groups). Having a ‘landline’ number may not be the way forward for you. If each member of your family has a mobile phone, do you actually need an 01768 number anymore? Can you rely on WIFI Calling? Do you suffer from power cuts? If so would you look at a Uninterruptible Power Supply (Power back-up). Did you know that you can use your mobile phone as a 01768
handset by downloading an App? Something to think about. A lot of questions that need to be
answered before you decide what is best for your home. In the February issue we will be asking you
to analyse how you use your phone after you have tried some simple alternative options. Some
people will want to stick with 01768 numbers and some may want to do things differently.

How much are phone calls going to going to cost if I go with BARN?

We will be publishing a listing of recommended suppliers and costs in the weeks to come for you to
look at but it’s variable depending on what features you want from your phone contract. See below
for some “average” costs.
How you use your phone is the main factor but overall it should be cheaper for “most” households.
Why “Most”?
Well we have a lot of people in the Renwick area supplied by Voneus (LonsdaleNet as was) who have
been in the wonderful, but unusual, position of having free, or very low-cost, telephones. On the
other hand, some are currently getting very poor phone reception, and some are transitioning back
to BT copper wire-fed phone lines. Voneus will probably change the phone billing system inherited
from LonsdaleNet, in the not too distant future, to charge us for the phone calls we make from these
home phone numbers, bringing us in line with every other phone number supplier.

 

Can I use my existing handset?

This depends on several factors. If you’ve had a phone handset for many years then you’ll probably
need a new, upgraded handset because technology has passed it by. If it’s newish then you might
not need a new phone and just be able to ‘plug in and play’ or reprogramme the access password or
purchase an adaptor (£5) and use your BT style phone. Only your new phone number supplier will be
able to advise you if your existing handset can be used. They can either sell you a new one, or advise
what type of handset you can buy from Ebay, Amazon etc. or even a real shop!! They make their
profit from selling the phone number/calls service, and not the hardware of handsets, so they are
completely impartial.

 

Will I have any other costs?
The only other costs are dependent upon where you site your handset. As your new phone system
will be over broadband, you won’t be using a traditional landline cable/Master BT point. Your new
plug- in point for the phone supply will be on the new broadband router so, ideally, it’s best if you
site the new router next to, or close to, the new telephone. (This is very important.) If you can’t
place your B4RN router next to your current phone, you’ll need to buy a new cable to connect the
handset to the router. Should you need one ,an extension cable from B&Q costs from £5 – £15.

So in summary we may have costs of:
Either:
1/. Cost / month of supplying unlimited minutes phone line* – £8.50 – £10.50
Or:
2/. Pay As You Go can be £0/month + price/minute.
Or:
3/. There are also schemes that have monthly costs of £5/ month + slightly lower charges / minute
than PAYG.

As you can see more in line with contracts of Mobile phones.
Cost to transfer 01768 number to new supplier – £0 – £30 (Some suppliers don’t charge)
Set up cost – £0 – £30 (Some suppliers don’t charge)
Cost of new handset if required: approximately £30 (normal handset) – £100 (bells, whistles and gold
plated!)
These costs should be considered in light of the faster, better quality and more reliable broadband
you’ll receive with B4RN.
So now you can see very roughly what the new costs are and compare them with what you currently
pay (don’t forget BT charges increased in April 2021!). As there are a vast number of bundles,
charges, special offers, etc, only you can compare what your costs are/will be for your future home
phone needs, which is why we need you to look at the way you use your phone currently. Only then
can you know which direction you can take.
These are the costs of a BT for a landline (@ April 2021) ranging from £21.10 (PAYGo) to £36.77
(unlimited)

As mentioned in the above, all of your questions and details will be published in the February
edition of The Raven where you can understand how to start on your Telephone journey.
Don’t forget to follow the B4KO Parish Facebook page, where you will get all the most up-to-date
information about this exciting project.

The Phone Guys

Some jargon-busting help:
VOIP: Voice Over Internet Protocol (Used in Internet phones) If you’re with Voneous or BT Fibre
Broadband this is how you are now making phone calls.
LANDLINE: Copper wire from a master socket point in your home. Progressively will be phased out
over the next few years.
FIBRE BROADBAND: What B4RN will provide via magic fibre cables.