National Broadband Network could expose naked DSL

Naked DSL: fleeting fad or here to stay? The new NBN may decide

The ISPs, however, see things differently. iiNet's managing director Michael Malone told Computerworld that when it launched naked DSL in November last year it expected between 500-1000 clients a month, but has almost tripled its expectations with around 15,000 iiNet customers now using naked DSL.

The company even considers naked DSL as potentially its flagship product, and not just limited to the technically literate.

"Over time we would like to see this as where all of our growth is going to come from. It's down to whether or not it will get adopted by the mainstream market, and also whether we can make the technology easy enough for grandma to use. 15,000 customers can't all be tech-savvy early adopters," he said.

iiNet found that the chief reason its customers switched to naked DSL was to avoid paying line rental, followed by a desire to leave their existing phone provider, and wanting to benefit from cheap VoIP calls.

He feels the one drawback to naked DSL is the perception it is a complicated technology for consumers to understand.

Malone said iiNet was inspired by European markets, particularly in France, where ISPs such as Iliad do not position naked DSL as an additional or separate product, but simply market a high speed broadband service that includes phone calls.

"I think that's where the Australian market has to move to, getting away from all the techy stuff and moving to something which is so easy that the consumer can understand and be happy with it," he said.

Simon Hackett, managing director of Internode, said demand for naked DSL services is already high, and ultimately wants to see around half of Internode's customers using it and living free of third party voice line rental.

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