Telstra extends NBN migration window in new plan

Telstra's new NBN migration plan outlines moves to extend the disconnection window for customers moving from one network to the other under the government's multi-technology model for the network.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

Telstra has outlined moves to extend the disconnection time frame for customers making the switch to the National Broadband Network (NBN) in the new varied migration plan that it has submitted to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for approval.

The submission of Telstra's varied migration plan is a condition of the revised definitive agreements between the company and NBN Co under the Australian government's multi-technology model rollout for the network, which includes the purchase and use by NBN Co of the copper and "last mile" hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) infrastructure already built into the telco's network.

In January, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the government had finalised new instruments to allow Telstra to lodge a revised migration plan with the ACCC that will govern how Telstra goes about progressively disconnecting its copper and HFC networks once the NBN is rolled out.

The Migration Plan Variation supporting submission document said that the migration to the NBN had so far been a "mixed experience" for many end users, regardless of their service provider on Telstra's network or on the NBN.

"Some issues have arisen from the lack of an end-to-end migration process that involves all key stakeholders, including NBN Co, Telstra in its capacity as the disconnecting network provider, service providers, and RSPs [retail service providers] ... and 'over-the-top' service providers," the document said. "What has become apparent is that the migration plan cannot be the vehicle for an end-to-end migration process, because the migration plan only applies to Telstra in its role as disconnecting network provider."

Consequently, the government has recognised the need for a "more holistic approach" to migration in its Migration Assurance Policy, which is intended to reflect the wider work that has been done by the Communications Alliance to address the issues that have been identified.

"The varied migration plan helps create the foundations for industry to develop a viable end-to-end migration process by delineating more clearly the responsibilities of Telstra as the disconnecting network provider which the varied migration plan should cover, and the responsibilities of others such as NBN Co, service providers, and RSPs (including Telstra)," the document said.

The new plan makes a number of specific changes to the disconnection process in order to alleviate existing problems arising from the original migration process.

This includes extending the migration window for premises that are not NBN serviceable six months prior to the disconnection date, giving NBN Co more time to resolve serviceability issues before Telstra disconnects a service.

The changes will also see a soft dial tone made available across retail and wholesale line-rental services for a limited period after the disconnection, providing users with both a connection safety net and a final prompt to arrange an NBN connection.

Additionally, the final disconnection cut-off date for "In-Train Order Premises" will be extended to 120 business days from the disconnection date, which will give NBN Co and RSPs more time to fulfil orders for NBN services before disconnection of legacy services takes place.

The changes also include the coordination of disconnection dates across rollout regions into a set day per month, making the migration processes simpler and easier for service providers to manage.

Telstra corporate affairs group executive Tony Warren said the new plan builds upon existing concepts in the network's rollout, such as NBN Co's role in setting the "ready for service" dates, an 18-month migration window, and mandatory disconnection of all services as the NBN is rolled out.

"Consistent with the revised definitive agreements and the formal migration principles the government released earlier this year, we are proposing variations that build on the foundations of the original migration plan and continue to deliver equivalence across Telstra retail and wholesale customers," said Warren. "We will now work together with the ACCC and industry through the consultation process to help achieve approval of the plan."

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