Recent media reports have noted that Telstra will commence the disconnection of existing copper and HFC telecommunications services in a number of areas from 23 May 2014. The ACCC wishes to clarify that safeguards exist to protect consumers that are facing disconnection.
The regions that are scheduled for disconnection include parts of Armidale and Kiama in New South Wales, Brunswick and South Morang in Victoria, Townsville Queensland, Willunga South Australia and Deloraine, George Town, Kingston, Sorrell, St Helens and Triabunna in Tasmania.
A large number of consumers and businesses in these areas have already made their choice about whether they wish to maintain their home or business telephone or fixed-line internet service and have placed an order for NBN services. However, some customers haven’t yet made a choice or have been unable to place an order for NBN services.
Under its migration plan, Telstra is required to begin to disconnect premises in a region 18 months after NBN services are available in that region. However, Telstra’s migration plan also includes a number of disconnection exceptions, including where:
- consumers and businesses have placed an order for NBN services but NBN Co has not completed the connection process
- particular services are not yet able to be supplied over the NBN (primarily specialist business services)
- premises have been added to the NBN rollout region within six months of the scheduled disconnection date.
Telstra and NBN Co have also agreed on additional safeguards to apply in these regions. Under these arrangements, Telstra and other service providers will case manage their customers in these areas, with services being disconnected if the end-user does not wish to migrate to the NBN.
“The ACCC welcomes Telstra and NBN Co working with service providers with a view to disconnecting services in a manner that reduces the risk of consumers and businesses losing services that they value during migration to the NBN,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.
“Now is the time for consumers and businesses to decide whether they want to continue to use a home phone or fixed line internet service and contact their preferred provider to place an order for NBN services if they do.”
For further information on the disconnection date and a list of NBN service providers in each area see the NBN Co website.