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Jimbo54
Level 2: Rookie

How does my elderly Dad get to keep just his phone?

Answered

My Dad (87) lives in Albany, WA, and I live in England . He has a phone (rotary dial) and an emergency call device (Care Alert smart dialer). I call him once a week and we chat for about an hour, which cost me £1-£2 each week.

 

Apparently, he has been told that he will have to change his phone because of nbn replacing copper line plant with fibre. That gives us a couple of problems:

  1. He can get a new phone easily enough, but what about his Care Alert? That was not cheap, took a lot of effort to set up and we don't want him living on his own without some kind of emergency call mechanism;
  2. I did consider a mobile phone, but three things stop that ...the Care Alert won't work, he has shakey hands, that's why he only uses the rotary dial, and if I have to call an Auz mobile from the UK, it's going to be very expensive.

OK...bottom line is what is Telstra doing for old folk and their families? Dad doesn't use the Internet (he tried it and wasn't impressed) so all he needs or wants is a plain old telephone.

 

Can someone PLEASE help us?

 

Thanks

 

Jim

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Accepted Solutions
Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity
Accepted Solution

Re: How does my elderly Dad get to keep just his phone?

The Care Alert Dialler will work on an NBN connection, but it will not work if there is a blackout unless he is on an FTTP connection with battery backup.

 

Rotary dial phones are incompatible with the NBN, so a new handset will be required.

 

Phone services are run through a modem now on all NBN services (unless he gets a UNI-V service on an FTTP connection).

Note: you don't get a choice about what type of connection you get. NBN Co determines that.

 

When he decides to switch over (he has 18 months from the time that his area goes active), he needs to tell the Consultant that he has the Care Alert Dialler and that the tech needs to reconnect it, and test it before they leave.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.

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Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity
Accepted Solution

Re: How does my elderly Dad get to keep just his phone?

The Care Alert Dialler will work on an NBN connection, but it will not work if there is a blackout unless he is on an FTTP connection with battery backup.

 

Rotary dial phones are incompatible with the NBN, so a new handset will be required.

 

Phone services are run through a modem now on all NBN services (unless he gets a UNI-V service on an FTTP connection).

Note: you don't get a choice about what type of connection you get. NBN Co determines that.

 

When he decides to switch over (he has 18 months from the time that his area goes active), he needs to tell the Consultant that he has the Care Alert Dialler and that the tech needs to reconnect it, and test it before they leave.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Jimbo54
Level 2: Rookie

Re: How does my elderly Dad get to keep just his phone?

Hi Jupiter,

 

Thanks for the quick response. Can you answer some more technical questions, so I can advise Dad what to do:

 

  1. Is the connection to the house going to stay as a pair of copper conductors, or will it have to go to fibre?
  2. Whichever way it goes, I assume that the exchange will no longer supply the -48v that of the existing phone system (from your comment "if there is a blackout unless he is on an FTTP connection with battery backup.")
  3. Is it possible to retain what appears as just a Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) if he gets a mains-powered push-button phone (with BIG buttons, he's shaky!) and retains his Care Alert dialler as-is? That is, no Internet, just voice, like now?

Please feel free to be as technical as you like in your response, my day job is as a Network Architect, so I'm very conversant with the ins-and-outs of the existing phone system....just need educating about what NBN is going to do.

 

You also mentioned "he needs to tell the Consultant that he has the Care Alert Dialler and that the tech needs to reconnect it, and test it before they leave". So from that it sounds like each home will be asked about their requirements and will be set up by a technician when the change over occurs...that sounds massively expensive and I wonder if I misunderstood you, or is that what is planned?

 

Thanks

 

Jim

Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: How does my elderly Dad get to keep just his phone?

The most likely connection type is a VDSL2 connection via the existing copper wires. The NBN rollout is a mishmash of technology types unfortunately (VDSL2-FTTN, Fixed Wireless, Fibre to the Curb, Fibre to the Premises, Hybrid Fibre Coaxial, Satellite).

 

The Node (there is no exchange, Noe is equivalent of an exchange, but services a small area equivalent to a local distribution area) does not stay powered on for long when there is a power failure, plus the modem would lose power unless connected to a UPS.

 

The existing POTS system gets decommissioned 18 months after the NBN becomes available in an area. So staying on the POTS system is not possible (unless in a Fixed Wireless or Satellite area)

 

Normally, the orders are standard. You need to tell the consultant that your dad is elderly and has the Care Alert dialler. If you don't then they will assume he can handle the installation himself.

 

A Big Button Phone will work with the NBN. Telstra sells one, the T1000s.

 

He may be eligible for Priority Assistance, have a look at the documentation here to see if he is.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Jimbo54
Level 2: Rookie

Re: How does my elderly Dad get to keep just his phone?

Hi Jupiter,

 

Once again, thanks for your response, its very useful.

If I understand things correctly then:

  1. Dad will buy a new phone (DTMF with external power brick supplied from mains);
  2. He is most likely still to have copper conductors into his house;
  3. He will connect both the CareAlert and the Phone to the socket in the house
  4. As far as physical/logical connections, that should be it.

However, there are a couple of things I'm still unclear on:

  1. Will his number remain the same?
  2. Is there a plan that allows him just voice services, with no data (as I said, he's not a fan of the Internet!)?
  3. If the supply to the house is VDSL over copper (VDSL uses 25 KHz to 12 MHz), does voice go over the unused part of the frequency spectrum (voice is usually reckoned as 300 Hz-3.4 kHz) or does he need a codec in line to convert analog voice to VDSL?
  4. Similar question to "3" above, except in the case of a fibre connection to the house replacing existing copper

Many thanks, you have made things a lot clearer, and I think I'm getting close to understanding this

 

Jim

 

Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: How does my elderly Dad get to keep just his phone?

Yes, that is correct.

 

His number will remain the same.

Yes, there is a Phone only plan available.

The NBN phone service is a VOIP service, and the Telstra supplied modem handles that. There is no analog signal on the NBN.

If he is lucky and gets a Fibre (FTTP) connection, NBN Co will come and install an NTD device and power supply at his house. He should ask to get a backup battery installed in this case and request a UNI-V service (universal Voice). This would mean that his phone would plug into the UNI-V1 socket on the NBN NTD and he would have service even in a blackout.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.
Jimbo54
Level 2: Rookie

Re: How does my elderly Dad get to keep just his phone?

Hi Jupiter,

 

I am really grateful for your help.

 

I think I now can summarize the situation as follows (By paraphrasing you, I hope to confirm I understand you correctly):

 

Dad should buy an NBN-compatable (large Button) replacement for his rotary dial (which can be sent to a museum!)

 

At some time in the future a Telco engineer will visit and (if they are continuing to use the existing copper tails) will remove all the existing equipment from the incoming line and will install a modem on the copper, to which the phone and the CareAlert will be attached.

 

All three devices (Phone/CareAlert/Modem) will need external power.

 

If the Telco chose to bring in fibre to the house, Dad should ask for a backup battery to be installed, with UNI-V (universal Voice)  service presented on the Network Termination Device (NTD), into which the phone and CareAlert will be plugged.

 

As before, all devices will require external power.

 

Dad will retain his same phone number

 

He should request a phone-only subscription.

 

I'll check his eligibility for Priority Assistance, and get it if possible.

 

You have made it a lot simpler than I thought it would be, we owe you!

 

Thanks

 

Jim

Level 25: The Singularity
Level 25: The Singularity

Re: How does my elderly Dad get to keep just his phone?

About 99%. The only thing is that the changeover is not organised automatically. He will need to call to arrange for the changeover to occur.

 

When his area is ready for service with the NBN, he will receive a letter (numerous actually, from a number of Telcos), and from that point, he will have 18 months to call and organise to be swithed over, otherwise he will lose his phone service completely at the end of that time.

 

Given his age, Telstra's systems should automatically generate a note for them to contact him, but most people usually regard (quite sensibly) that it is a scam call. So him calling them would be safer.

Never be afraid to back yourself when trying new things, just always make sure you have 3 escape routes if things go wrong.

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