Government seeks smoother NBN transition for end users

Migration Assurance Policy yet to account for FTTN, HFC

The federal government has launched a public consultation on its draft Migration Assurance Policy for the National Broadband Network, which is intended to provide a framework for a hassle-free experience for end users during their shift from the copper network to NBN fixed line services.

The framework spells out the roles and responsibilities of NBN, Telstra, retail service providers (RSPs) and other parties during the transition to the new network.

However, it's yet to be updated to take account of the government's shift from a fibre-only fixed line network to a mixed-technology rollout that includes hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) and fibre-to-the-node (FTTN).

NBN's most recent roadmap earmarks September this year for the initial FTTN product release and Q2 2016 for the initial HFC product release by the network wholesaler.

The statement accompanying the Migration Assurance Policy framework says that MAP will be updated to take into account HFC, FTTN and fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB).

"The Migration Assurance Policy puts the customer at the centre of the migration process and its goals are to minimise disruption to end-users, prioritise continuity of service and target vulnerable end-users for assistance," a statement issued on behalf of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

The MAP policy states that migration to the NBN should be "an end user focussed and industry‐led activity".

In addition to spelling out the process for switching off copper-based services delivered to homes and businesses, the framework addresses how business-grade 'special services' that rely on the legacy network will be dealt with.

"These services are initially exempt from disconnection from the Telstra copper network, pending either a Telstra initiated product exit, or nbn releasing additional product functionality which enables RSPs to provide alternative services over the national broadband network to the particular type of special service (known as the White Paper process)," the draft framework states.

"nbn will publish a white paper which outlines how its additional product functionality can be used to enable RSPs to provide alternative services over the national broadband network based products to that type of special service."

Special services will be disconnected 36 months after the publication of a final white paper on a particular service.

'Non-premises' services that employ the copper network, such as traffic lights, bridge controls and payphones are not currently subject to disconnection.

However, the MAP framework states that the government, Telstra and NBN will this year develop a high-level migration strategy for such services with the aim of the timetable for their disconnection commencing in 2017.

The government last year initially sought input on smoothing out hiccups in the NBN migration process.

The Department of Communications is accepting submissions on the new MAP framework.

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