NBN: Government seeks to smooth transition from copper

Public consultation to gather views from industry, consumer advocates on transition to NBN

The government has launched a public consultation to seek ways in which it can smooth the transition from the legacy copper network to the National Broadband Network for end users.

"The Government, Telstra and NBN Co acknowledge that, to date, there have been challenges experienced in connecting end-users to NBN FTTP [fibre-to-the-premises] and migrating end-user services from Telstra’s copper network to the NBN," a discussion paper issued by the Department of Communications states.

"Key issues have related to customer migration processes, lack of role clarity, other operational matters (including serviceability), information management and communications coordination."

The first shutdowns of the copper network took place earlier this year; however, NBN Co and Telstra have been at pains to ensure that services that may still rely on the copper network such as some medical alarms are not disrupted.

"The process of migrating an end-user’s services to the FTTP network has presented a unique and challenging set of circumstances for all stakeholders involved," the paper states.

"This has resulted in less than satisfactory outcomes such as missed appointments, poor coordination and communication between NBN Co and RSPs, lack of suitable connection strategies for complex premises and multi dwelling units, inadequate construction resources to meet demand for services and connections or lengthy delays in connecting NBN equipment to premises."

Although the government has moved away from relying on FTTP for the bulk of the NBN rollout, the papre notes there will also be challenges in migrating end users to fibre-to-the-node and HFC.

Some disconnection dates that were due to fall over the Christmas holiday period have been pushed back.

A statement issued by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull's office said that to date, "there have been challenges in migrating end-user services from Telstra’s copper network to the fibre NBN. Experience has shown that early consideration of issues such as product availability, customer awareness and industry participation contribute significantly to successful migrations,"

The discussion paper proposes the creation of a framework document that sets out the responsibility of the parties involved in the migration of end users to the NBN.

"To this end, the Government, Telstra and NBN Co have agreed to cooperate on re-examining and improving migration assurance processes for connecting end-users to the NBN. The next steps in progressing this commitment are set out in a proposed Migration Assurance Policy Framework," the paper states.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission could potential provide oversight of the framework.

The department has set a deadline of 26 September for submissions.

Read more: iiNet picks up Tech2Group

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Tags broadbandTelstranbn conational broadband networkNational Broadband Network (NBN)

More about AssuranceAustralian Competition and Consumer CommissionDepartment of CommunicationsNBN Co

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