by Rebecca Merrett

Government releases framework for NBN switchover

Feb 01, 2016

The Turnbull government has released its Migration Assurance Policy (MAP) framework for switching homes over to the fixed-line national broadband network.

The MAP document was drafted in July 2015, and will continue to be updated over time to reflect a multi-technology mix, which includes fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) technologies.

Service providers and end users are given an 18-month window to migrate over to NBN fixed-line, with the MAP framework addressing some of the past issues with switching over.

One issue was homes classified as ‘service class 0’, meaning they are not serviceable for nbn’s Ethernet Bitstream Service using FTTP (fibre-to-the-premise) access technology, in early rollout regions.

nbn (the company) needs at least 90 per cent of homes that pass its fibre network to declare a region ready for rollout. Service class 0 homes are in the footprint of NBN fixed-line, but made up a significant portion of homes in some rollout regions.

The MAP states it will address this issue by removing service class 0 homes from a rollout region and placing them in a new ‘service continuity region’ six months out from the disconnection date of old copper.

“These premises will be given an additional six months before the managed disconnection process commences, with a plan to address serviceability of those premises,” the MAP document said.

Another migration issue was incorrectly classifying homes as NBN serviceable when there weren’t. Retail service providers (RSPs) were placing orders for NBN services, but then discovering at the time of installation that some homes needed more construction work before being connected.

“Currently the premise is ‘rolled back’ to service class 0 and the end user’s order for a service over the national broadband network is cancelled,” the document said.

“Where premises are found to have been incorrectly classified as serviceable when in fact they are not, nbn does not intend to ‘roll back’ these premises to an unserviceable status (‘service class 0’). Instead, nbn will use all reasonable endeavours to make the premises serviceable as quickly as possible, while the RSP’s order remains intact with nbn.”

To help get more homes migrated to NBN fixed-line early in the migration window, nbn will assist application service providers (ASPs) in ensuring their products are suitable and work with retail service providers products delivered over the NBN.

As part of this, nbn provides ‘plug bench’ facilities to enable ASPs to test their retail products over a range of RSP’s services so that ASPs can determine their product suitability.”

Another issue is making sure end users are kept up-to-date and informed during all stages of the migration process. nbn has invested in a national community relations team, in addition to the state teams, to engage with end users on the rollout process.

End users will also be able to contact nbn directly in regards to a complaint if they cannot get a satisfactory response from their service provider.

However, the action nbn can take is limited, the document said.

“If an end user contacts nbn directly, nbn may provide general network information, but as it is unable to verify the identity of the customer (as the customer’s contractual relationship is with an RSP), nbn may be limited in the information it can provide.”

If an end user makes a compliant to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), they will be looped back to either the service provider or nbn, the document said.

“The TIO will have regard to the circumstances of the complaint and will consider which party is best placed to assist the end user.

“If a complaint is related to an end user’s interaction with nbn, for example, damage to property or poor workmanship in relation to nbn equipment installation, the TIO will generally refer the end user to nbn to resolve the issue.

“If the complaint is related to their interaction with their RSP (e.g. missed appointments and long lead times), the TIO will refer the end user to the RSP.”

The MAP framework also suggested service providers should not charge additional fees, including costs related to terminating contracts, to cover the cost of migrating users as this could hinder early adoption.

Disconnection dates will be consolidated to one per month, avoiding holiday periods. This is to simplify the migration process and enable more centralised and efficient communication strategies, the MAP document said.

The framework also stated that when an order is received up to 25 business days after a disconnection date, Telstra local access network services will be supplied for up to six months to allow for a connection to complete.

“If end users do not take action within sufficient time to have their RSP order placed with nbn and their national broadband network connection completed by their RSP, they risk disruption to their service.

“Failure to take any action within the timeframes specified above will result in their Telstra local access network service proceeding to be permanently disconnected shortly after the disconnection date,” the document said.