Turnbull seeks overhaul of NBN migration

Turnbull seeks overhaul of NBN migration

Summary: Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is looking to refine the process of moving customers from Telstra's legacy network onto the NBN, with some customers in the first 15 areas still waiting for an NBN connection.


Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for the telecommunications industry to help improve how customers are moved from the existing copper network over to the National Broadband Network (NBN), as the government admits some customers in the first 15 NBN rollout areas have yet to be moved onto the network.

As part of the 2011 Telstra and NBN Co agreement, Telstra will stop supplying services over its copper network once a designated area has been declared 'ready for service' on the NBN.

The 18-month notice window for residents to be disconnected from the copper in the first 15 NBN sites opened in November 2012, with the original deadline to get residents off the copper and either onto the NBN, or onto a wireless alternative set for May this year.

Despite a marketing blitz by both NBN Co and retail service providers in those areas, a consultation paper released by Turnbull yesterday indicated that there were still issues with getting customers, particularly those with medical alarms, Eftpos and other devices onto the NBN.

The consultation paper (PDF) revealed that three months since the deadline there were still some premises in the first 15 locations "still subject to the migration process", as a result of missed appointments, poor coordination and communication between NBN Co and retailers, and inadequate resources to finalise the construction required to allow premises in those areas to connect to the NBN.

In a bid to fix issues in the process before adding complexity to the migration with the inclusion of HFC and fibre to the node connections in the NBN, the paper states it is seeking to set out a migration policy clearly outlining the roles and responsibilities of NBN Co, Telstra, and the retailers in getting customers onto the NBN smoothly.

Turnbull has called for feedback on the paper, with submissions due on September 26.

Following the release of the consultation paper, the industry representative group, Communications Alliance, will hold a forum with industry to develop processes and solutions for the migration of customer onto the NBN.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, Telcos, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • CBA Error

    I realise that people switch off when talking about the technical side of this topic but I believe there is a critical error contained in the cost benefit analysis assumptions.

    There are currently two types of Ultra HD video formats. 4K resolution and 8K resolution. Although 4K is more advanced in its lifecycle, there is an expectation that 8K will soon supersede 4K as the latest technology. This is expected for 2 reasons.
    1. Tokyo are hosting the 2020 Olympics and have pushed trails of 8K forward to soak the market by the time the games arrive.
    2. Many companies are yet to invest in 4K technology and due to the rapid development of 8K, it is more cost effective to invest in 8K technology now. The Japanese company (NHK) who have developed 8K are a case in point. They are broadcasters and are not investing in 4K technology, they are going straight to 8K equipment.

    In regard to the cost benefit analysis, the panel have chosen (it may just be an oversight) not to include 8K as a technology that our NBN will use. They have chosen 4K. This may seem trivial, but it has the potential to change the results of the study by a factor of four. This means that the majority of FTTN connections of the NBN will not be able to stream 8K resolution over IP due the limitations of the aging copper. 8K requires at least 85Mbps to stream using the latest video compression techniques (this bandwidth requirement is far in excess of the CBA assumptions). The consequence here is that traffic will also increase by a factor of four and telco’s will need to invest in technology to cater for this jump.

    I fail to see how it can be argued by the government that 8K technology will not be a factor in the CBA’s forecasting period? Judging by past trends, it is highly likely 8K will be adopted rapidly, you just need to analyse the short period of 720p video on the market before it was superseded by 1080p.

    To argue that people won’t need 8K if they have 4K is also irrelevant. At the very least they should provide two studies with the provision of both technologies in order to be suitably informed on their decision to spend billions of tax payers money. But instead 8K has been completely excluded from the study. The CBA also states that if the FTTN option requires upgrading before 2025, then it is cheaper and more beneficial to proceed with FTTP from the outset.

    I think we are making a costly mistake?
    • fair point

      Except the one little issue that without an 8K display the 8K stream is useless.

      Also I haven't seen any IP streaming services even start to offer 4K yet, let alone 8K.

      It's still a fair point though about the 2025 timeframe given that's 11 years from now so you'd have to figure a whole bunch of people would have upgraded to at least 4K TVs if not 8K by then, but even then - the IP streaming providers would have to offer an 8K stream for it to become an issue and given how much grief they are having in the US just providing HD, I don't know that they will be doing 8K by then.
      • It should still be considered.

        I don't know if it will be widely adopted by then either, but neither do the government or the expert panel. Their crystal ball is no better than ours. Therefore there is no excuse not to consider this technology in a cost benefit analysis. All you can do is make an informed guess, and considering what the Japanese investment will be into the 2020 Olympics, it is a reasonable argument to suggest that 8K will boom during and following the event.
        Also Netflix are able to provide a 4K stream now. I would be willing to bet my house on them having an 8K stream soon.