Lobby responds to NBN switch plan
The telecom industry has responded to a push for National Broadband Network (NBN) carriage service providers to reconnect consumers to their legacy systems during the migration to the NBN.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has put forth proposed laws that it says were drafted to improve consumers’ experience when moving onto the NBN.
The Communications Alliance industry lobby claims that the proposals are unlikely to be effective.
ACMA says 55.7 per cent of all network-related complaints about the NBN in the three months to 30 June 2017 were about service quality.
So, the regulator is seeking new enforceable rules on NBN retail service providers (RSPs) to minimise issues during the migration to the NBN.
The rules include a requirement for RSPs to specify the minimum information that telcos must provide about their network services before consumers sign up.
They also call on telcos to ‘line test’ new services to ensure that lines are working and that faults are picked up early.
ACMA also proposed a ‘Service Continuity Standard’ to ensure that consumers are not left without working voice or internet services when moving over.
The standard could see consumers temporarily reconnected to their old legacy service or an alternative service while the change is underway.
The Communications Alliance says the proposed Service Continuity Standard should not focus on reconnecting consumers to legacy networks.
“We agree that there is scope for Industry to further improve the customer migration experience,” Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said.
“However, we are concerned that some of the proposed rules may not achieve this or, even worse, bear the risk of being detrimental to an efficient migration and enhanced consumer experience.
“In particular, the Service Continuity Standard, apart from lacking clarity and often not being operationally or technically feasible, is likely to introduce significant additional distraction and divert resources away from moving consumers to the NBN with the best possible experience.”
The lobby wants a focus on maintaining continuity of service through alternative services like mobile-based broadband.
“It is hard to conceive situations where it would be in a consumer’s interest to be reconnected to a legacy network rather than providing an interim alternative service while focusing all efforts on addressing any migration issues that may have occurred,” Mr Stanton said.
The Communications Alliance also has concerns with ACMA’s proposed ‘Line Testing Determination’.
“The large volumes of tests that will certainly challenge providers at a time when they are trying to focus on migrating consumers to the NBN,” Mr Stanton said.
“Given the multi-million dollar cost to industry flowing from the three proposed instruments – costs which are, in large part, ultimately borne by consumers – our industry is committed to work with Government and the ACMA to ensure that the measures are efficient, workable and do generate an improved consumer migration experience.”