NBN connections to speed up under new industry codes: ACMA, Comms Alliance

Comms Alliance has registered two codes with the ACMA, aiming to speed up NBN connections and ensure simple transfer between NBN retail service providers without delay.

Telecommunications industry group the Communications Alliance has announced registering two new codes with the regulator, saying they will speed up National Broadband Network (NBN) connections and ensure easier switching between NBN retail service providers (RSPs).

The Connect Outstanding [PDF] and NBN Access Transfer [PDF] codes were unveiled on Friday morning.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the updated nine-year-old Connect Outstanding code will help speed up broadband connections by extending the code to include NBN and other broadband services in addition to landline services.

"Any residential or small business consumer who moves premises could potentially encounter a 'connect outstanding' scenario," said acting ACMA Chairman Richard Bean.

"The expansion of the code to cover fixed broadband connections means all consumers -- whether they are using fixed-line, fixed-wireless, or satellite-based infrastructure -- benefit from the timely connection of phone and broadband services that the revised code will achieve."

Connect outstanding issues number around 90,000 each year, the ACMA said, with the code requiring carriers to follow a specific procedure for disconnecting the previous occupant's service in order to allow for the new occupant's connection to be made without delay.

According to Comms Alliance, all the changes made to update the code were including new acronyms and definitions to cover new NBN access technologies; creating an access seeker fibre-to-the-basement (FttB) and fibre-to-the-node (FttN) migration contact list; producing three separate processes for NBN services, unconditioned local loop services (ULLS), and legacy services; developing new process flowcharts; forming a "request for release" process; and generally updating the reference documents.

The new NBN Access Transfer code, meanwhile, will provide industry with "clear responsibilities" around ensuring that consumers have a choice of NBN service providers, and are enabled to easily switch between RSPs.

"The new code gives customers freedom of choice over which service provider they wish to choose to provide their service. It is pro-competitive, because all participants to the code are required to comply with and follow the same processes," Comms Alliance explained.

"The objectives of the Code are to specify operational principles which will enable the transfer of an active NBN service between RSPs; establish minimum operational requirements on RSPs, access seekers, and access providers in the transfer of an active NBN service between RSPs; and minimise customer impacts during the transfer of an active NBN service between RSPs," the code details.

"Processes covered by this code are customer authorisation; service qualification and enhanced service qualification; transfer; cutover; and reversal."

The code mandates that the transfer of services and products between NBN RSPs must occur in a non-discriminatory way, with customer disruption, delay, and inconvenience to be minimised, and RSPs to "use reasonable efforts" to ensure their employees comply with the code.