ACCC urges consumers to seek information about the NBN

1 April 2015

Consumers are being urged to understand how the National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout in their area will affect their phone and internet services. Telstra will soon be disconnecting telephone and internet services in areas where the NBN is up and running as part of the migration to the NBN.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is providing information on its website to help consumers understand how the new arrangements may affect them and provides tips for small business and consumers.

“The NBN is being rolled out across Australia and will change the way in which your landline phone and internet services will be delivered. Connecting to the NBN is not automatic and you will need to take action ahead of disconnection date.” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said

“Our message to consumers is to seek as much information as you can about what you need to do to migrate to the NBN. If you want to keep your landline phone and internet services, you should place an order for an NBN service by the disconnection date for your region or your current services will eventually be permanently disconnected.”

This message to consumers and small business comes as the ACCC releases a new discussion paper on the migration of Telstra services to the NBN .

The ACCC has published a discussion paper seeking industry feedback on the revised Migration Plan lodged by Telstra on 20 March 2015. The revised Plan details how Telstra will disconnect telephone and internet services from its copper and HFC networks as part of the migration to the National Broadband Network under the multi-technology network rollout.

To guide the ACCC’s consideration of the revised Plan, the Minister for Communications made two new instruments in January 2015, the Migration Plan Principles and the Specified Matters Instrument, which set out the mandatory elements of the revised Plan.

“The ACCC will be looking at the revised Plan to ensure it is consistent with the Principles and Specified Matters Instrument prior to approval,” Ms Cifuentes said.

Telstra’s proposed amendments to the Migration Plan are extensive and include those necessary to reflect the recently revised commercial agreements between Telstra, NBN Co, and the Government. These agreements now enable NBN Co to use parts of Telstra’s copper and cable networks in the NBN rollout.

The revised Plan also reflects a number of changes to the migration and disconnection arrangements recently adopted by Telstra and NBN Co with the ACCC’s consent. Overall, the new disconnection arrangements are likely to provide greater service continuity assurance for consumers in the migration process. The ACCC is required to undertake a mandatory 28 day consultation period in relation to the revised Plan. Submissions are due by 4 May 2015.

The ACCC is currently minded to approve the revised Plan, but is seeking feedback from industry on whether there would be any unintended consequences from Telstra implementing the revised Plan.

Additional information for consumers and small business

Find out more on how the rollout and proposed changes to Telstra’s Migration Plan will affect you by reading our website information for consumers and small business.

Additional information for industry participants

NBN Co proposes to commercially launch fibre-to-the-basement services prior to the commencement of Telstra’s revised Migration Plan. Consequently, Telstra is developing an interim disconnection protocol setting out the processes that it will follow when disconnecting wholesale services where a premises is connected to NBN Co’s fibre-to-the-basement technology. Telstra will shortly provide this interim protocol to Communications Alliance so that industry has transparency over the disconnection processes and can suggest further refinements.

Telstra’s revised Plan contains less stringent rules on how Telstra can use information obtained from NBN Co. While Telstra will continue to face restrictions on how it can use NBN information relating to fibre-to-the-premises technology, these rules will not be applied to information Telstra receives about fibre-to-the-node, fibre-to-the-basement or HFC technologies.

The Minister for Communications has stated that Telstra’s and NBN Co’s handling of information is a critical issue in ensuring the competition objectives of the Government’s NBN reforms are realised. To ensure that Telstra does not have any actual or perceived information advantage from the information it receives from NBN Co, the Government has proposed imposing a licence condition on NBN Co.

The ACCC is currently consulting with industry to identify suitable information that NBN Co should be required to provide to retail service providers under the proposed carrier licence condition.

Release number: 
MR 49/15
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