NBN Co kills tracking of unserviceable premises

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NBN Co kills tracking of unserviceable premises
Visibility of MDU connections is once again out of public view.

Weekly progress now impossible to determine.

NBN Co has changed the way it verifies the status of addresses typed into its online rollout map, killing access to a data file being used to track multi-dwelling unit (MDU) connection statistics.

The website configuration change was first noticed by mynbn.info founder Kenneth Tsang on Sunday and was confirmed to iTnews by an NBN Co spokeswoman this week.

According to Tsang, NBN Co had been checking addresses typed into its online rollout map against a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file to work out whether the premises were classified as "service class zero" — that is, included in premises passed numbers but unable to order a retail service.

Such premises would be shown on the rollout map as "Work Commenced | Service Unavailable".

An Australian Financial Review report in July stated that 55,000 of the 163,500 premises passed as at the end of June could not order a retail service. These were mostly apartments and shops.

Tsang had been using the JSON file to track movements in the service class zero numbers, publishing the results in weekly posts on the Whirlpool broadband forums. The last update put the number of unserviceable premises in the rollout at 63,562.

However, access to the JSON file was suddenly revoked on Sunday, making tracking of service class zero (SC0) premises impossible for anyone other than certified telcos and ISPs.

"NBN Co now uses an API to check and verify the Service Class Zero and Frustrated status of each address," Tsang told iTnews.

"While this improves load times on the mapping tool, it means that we are no longer able to track weekly progress of the MDU/Shops/SC0 rollout."

An NBN Co spokeswoman did not confirm the technical details behind the change to address look-ups on the mapping tool.

However, it appeared NBN Co saw Tsang's use of the JSON file as being outside the intended purpose of publishing the map.

"NBN Co is working to provide its key audiences with the information they need in formats that are useable and suitable for their purposes," the spokeswoman said.

"The purpose of the maps is to allow residential and businesses users in an area to type their address into the map to determine where their property is in relation to the rollout.

"The changes we have made mean it is now quicker to download the maps, which is particularly important for those people who have broadband constraints.

"Our customers, the telephone and internet service providers, who need more specific information about the rollout receive regular rollout reports via our web site and directly in other format."

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