The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today directed Telstra to improve a measure that will support the migration of customers onto the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The measure relates to a specific process that NBN Co may use to connect premises to the NBN. In some cases, NBN Co may need to use an existing copper or HFC line to pull the NBN fibre through the conduit that leads from the street to the premises to connect that premise to the NBN.

This process is known as the ‘pull through’ process. The pull through process will result in a temporary outage to the existing communications services.

Under Telstra’s Migration Plan, Telstra is required to have in place processes that enable Telstra to:

  • collect the consent of its wholesale customers for NBN Co to pull through lines over which the wholesale customer is providing services.
  • notify wholesale customers if the pull through process is not successful.

These processes affect the ability of Telstra’s wholesale customers to minimise disruption to the supply of communication services to consumers.

The ACCC considers that Telstra’s proposal for the collection of wholesale customer consents satisfies the regulatory requirements relating to migration. However, the ACCC is not satisfied that the notification process will enable wholesale customers to effectively manage the migration of their end-users in a way that minimises the period of the service outage.

“The ACCC issued this direction as it considers that the timeframe for Telstra’s proposed notification to wholesale customers does not provide appropriate protections to consumers and competition during migration,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

Telstra must now amend the processes to address the ACCC’s concerns and resubmit them within 40 business days.

In April 2013, the ACCC issued a Direction to Telstra to resubmit initial drafts of the measures. In August 2013, Telstra lodged redrafts of the measures, which included significant amendments that took into account the concerns of the ACCC and industry. The ACCC undertook consultation on these resubmitted drafts and has considered responses to this consultation process in assessing whether Telstra’s draft measures comply with the principles outlined in the Telecommunications (Migration Plan Principles) Determination 2011.

A decision paper setting out the ACCC’s concerns, the Direction and submissions to the August 2013 consultation process are available on the ACCC's website.