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Posted by on Jan 29, 2018 in Latest News |

Can you have a corded phone if you have only fibre?

Stop Smart Meters NZ has received a lot of feedback regarding the newsletter on the legislation that appears to be designed to phased out access to the copper landline system in at least some parts of New Zealand.

Removal of the copper landline system would mean that people lose access to the safe copper landline based phones that will work whether or not a home has power and also lose access to the low cost imternet option that this infrastructure facilitates.

(If you are not already aware of this issue, please read this link: )

One of the questions is as follows:

Can you have a corded phone if you have only fibre optics in your home?

The answer to this question is basically yes, but there are a few additional important facts to consider.

  1. The voice quality over VOIP phones can be poorer than traditional corded landline phones that use the copper phone line network and this may be a problem for people who have hearing deficits and and/or those who are communicating on the phone in a language that is not their mother tongue.
  2.  If you move to a fibre only system your existing corded landline phone is not likely to work as it is probably designed for copper only.  From a quick look online, corded VOIP phones start at around $100 each.
  3. Another important factor is that a VOIP phone is dependent on mains electricity so (unlike the good old copper landline corded phone which will work in a power black out) a VOIP phone will not function if you lose power. (NB: If you have a cell phone, don’t count on your cell phone to work if you lose electricity, either, as a local power outage could cut power to cellular phone infrastructure resulting in no cellular phone service.)
  4. It is possible to buy a component of a fibre system called a UPS which acts as a back up so that your VOIP phone will work during a power black out but these are not cheap. One I saw online recomended by a NZ telecommunciations company was $380 + GST.


So, to sum it up you can have a corded landline if you have fibre only but it wiil likely cost more and it won’t work if you lose power – unless you buy an expensive UPS.

(If anyone has information about how long a UPS will work, please email through our contact form: )

In short, a basic corded phone that works through the copper landline system provides an economical and safe home phone that will work even if you lose power.



Special issues for people who are electrosensitive

One of the reasons that it is important to maintain access to the copper landline system is that a basic corded home phone that works through the copper landline system is the only sort of phone that some people who have become elecrosensitive can use.

More information about electrosensitivity may be found at these links:


A helpful paper on electromagnetic sensitivity by Dr. Mallery-Blythe

Retired CEO speaks out on electrosensitivity

Electrohypersensitivity – a short film by Time magazine free to watch online

What is it like to live with electrohypersensitivity (EHS)? One woman’s story


Thank you for visiting


We hope that you will support the new campaign to save copper landline phones infrastructure.  If you are a Grey Power member there is now an extension for submissions on this issue until March 30 2018

Please see the link below for details:

Save NZ’s landline phones – action needed NOW

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