Why does it cost more to call Australia than it does to visit an Australian website?
Phoning Australia is expensive, so it's strange we don't pay more to use services like Skype or to visit an Australian website.
Asked by: Henry Beach, by email
Changes for long-distance phone calls are based on the old model of telecoms firms investing huge amounts in satellites and undersea fibre-optic cables. The price you pay is for effectively renting the line during the call.
The internet uses parts of the telephone network to connect your home broadband to the local exchange. But from here, the 'backbone' of the net is made up of a web of interconnected ultra-high bandwidth circuits that carry traffic nationally and internationally. Space on these data motorways is sold off to internet service providers, who pass the charge on to you when you sign up to your broadband.
The cheapest way of calling long distance these days is to use voice over internet (VoIP) services like Skype.