NBN Co aims to slash broadband activation times

 

First B2B release to providers this weekend.

NBN Co and Australia's internet service provider community will spend this weekend testing a system that aims to dramatically reduce the delay consumers face when signing up to a broadband service.

From March 17, the Government-owned wholesale network will invite ISPs to test integration of their internal systems with a business-to-business gateway that will automate provision of new broadband services to customers.

It will ultimately replace current systems, which require service providers connecting with the National Broadband Network to manually determine what NBN broadband services are available at a given address on a one-by-one command line basis via the NBN Co portal, which went live in April 2011.

This first release of the B2B interface completes this same function – identifying whether an address is available for a given type of service connection – through an automated, batch process for multiple transactions.

It is hoped the new process will dramatically reduce provisioning times, which can range betwen two and 21 days for a new broadband service over current copper networks, depending on the service.

NBN Co had originally promised industry activations over the network within five minutes.

Head of network operations Steve Christian said he expects the wholesaler and its partners IBM and Accenture (contracted to the tune of $200 million) to release several updates to the gateway over the next 12 months.

Scheduled improvements include an ability to determine when a particular service will be available at a given premises, once the network rollout plan is finalised.

A three-year rollout plan is due by the end of this month.

Christian said NBN Co would also work to automate other systems, allowing for real-time reporting of faults in the network and other diagnostics for the wholesaler and service providers.

“This is the beginning of the journey,” Christian told iTnews.

“But every journey starts with first steps.”

Don't forget to register for iTnews' Melbourne Executive Summit, to be held Monday March 19 at the Grand Hyatt. Speakers include NBN Co's GM of network architecture Tony Cross plus new Optus Business MD John Paitaridis. Registrations close at 5pm today!

Christian said he expects many providers to be engaged in the process as NBN Co has set out a “roadmap for the industry” over many months.

“Everybody should be in lockstep with us,” he said.

He did not expect investment in systems integration to limit use of the B2B gateway to tier one telcos and aggregators.

“We expect some of the smaller ISPs to come in, as they don’t have the legacy systems the larger ones do,” he said. “To some degree it may actually be easier for them.”

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