Turnbull asks industry for advice on better NBN migrations

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Turnbull asks industry for advice on better NBN migrations

How to switch over without complications.

The federal government has asked the telecommunications industry how it can improve the migration of users from copper services to the national broadband network after it struggled through a number of challenges with the first batch of transfers.

Late on Tuesday Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull put out a discussion paper [pdf] on a proposed migration assurance policy (MAP) which would govern the migration of users from the existing copper network onto the NBN.

Consumers are given 18 months from the point at which their region is declared ready for service until the copper is switched off.

Customers in the first 15 fibre-serving area modules (FSAMs) were disconnected in May this year.

The migrations did not go as smoothly as hoped due to a range of issues including contractors missing appointments and premises being unserviceable, as well as a lack of customer awareness, cooperation between the parties involved, and product availability.

“The process of migrating an end-user’s services to the FTTP network has presented a unique and challenging set of circumstances for all stakeholders involved.

“This has resulted in less than satisfactory outcomes such as missed appointments, poor coordination and communication between NBN Co and RSPs, a lack of suitable connection strategies for complex premises and multi dwelling units, inadequate construction resources to meet demand for services and connections or lengthy delays in connecting NBN equipment to premises.”

"In addition to these challenges is the limited progress with the development of the required range of [supplier] and over-the-top products to support early migration of services to the NBN."

Migration Assurance Policy Consultation Paper

NBN Co recently rescheduled the next lot of disconnection dates it had originally planned to fall over the coming Christmas in response to lessons learnt from the first migrations.

To enable more successful future migrations, the Government proposed the establishment of a framework to clarify the responsibilities of the various parties involved.

The migration assurance paper (MAP) would outline to industry the Government’s expectations of service migration; the allocation of roles and responsibilities; a definition of how any challenges should be dealt with; and an overall framework for managing the end-to-end migration process.

The policy would be accompanied by a migration processes and solutions (MPS) paper, developed by industry, which would outline how industry should work together to facilitate the “smooth and timely migration and disconnection of services”.

“A central element of the MPS would be a capacity to respond flexibly to problems that may arise during the migration window.”

“There is currently no single framework within which the roles and responsibilities for NBN migration can be allocated. Through its migration plan and the migration plan principles, Telstra has responsibility for the disconnection of its copper and HFC networks, but there is no parallel regulatory requirement on NBN Co and wider stakeholders that enables a smooth transition to the NBN." 

“This MAP framework seeks to engage stakeholders in the migration process with the aim of improving processes without the need for additional regulatory obligations."

Migration Assurance Policy Consultation Paper

The Government has recommended the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) be given an oversight role across the MPS.

The Government also acknowledged its move to a multi-technology mix (MTM) NBN, as opposed to the former predominantly fibre-to-the-premise strategy, was likely to create additional challenges, which could be dealt with via the new migration policy.

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