The ACCC has written to Telstra consenting to the implementation of transitional managed disconnection arrangements for in-train orders, fire alarms and lift phone services.
Telstra’s revised Migration Plan requires Telstra to disconnect premises that remain the subject of an outstanding NBN order (in-train order premises) as soon as reasonably practicable following 120 Business Days after the disconnection date for the relevant rollout region.
Given the significant migration challenges still facing industry, including that:
- despite significant progress, NBN Co has not yet connected a number of in-train order premises in the early rollout regions that face mandatory disconnection on 13 August 2015
- RSPs may require additional time to complete their activities (following connection to the NBN) to deliver a workable service, particularly for complex and/or business premises.
Telstra and NBN Co in consultation with the Government agreed, subject to regulatory approval, to implement a set of transitional arrangements for in-train order premises to allow additional time for them to obtain an active retail NBN service.
At the ACCC’s request, Telstra provided a short document describing the proposed transitional arrangements and how they impact Telstra’s obligations under the revised Migration Plan. In short, consumers with existing in-train orders in the next three waves of Fibre Service Area Modules (FSAMs) will be allowed an additional 120 Business Days before Telstra proceeds with mandatory disconnection of their legacy services (unless the customer requests an earlier disconnection). Telstra has stated that these transitional arrangements will be applied in an equivalent manner for Telstra’s wholesale customers and Telstra Retail.
The ACCC is strongly supportive of measures that improve the migration experience and promote service continuity. In the ACCC’s final decision to approve Telstra’s revised Migration Plan, we noted that the in-train order provisions placed some consumers who have placed a valid order for NBN services at risk of losing access to their existing copper service prematurely.
We sought feedback from industry on the proposed transitional arrangements and, in particular, whether Telstra should consider applying these arrangements more broadly and/or consider any complementary measures to address ongoing risks to service continuity. We received submissions from the Department of Communications and ACCAN, which both supported extending the managed disconnection of in-train order premises originally scheduled to be disconnected in August, September and October 2015 by an additional 120 Business Days.
The Department of Communications also supported a further expansion of the proposed transitional arrangements to include all known fire alarm and lift phone services, including those without an in-train order, so that those services also benefit from additional time to migrate off the copper network. Telstra has subsequently advised the ACCC that it has agreed to postpone the managed disconnection, for the next three waves of disconnections, of any fire alarm or lift phone services that are listed on NBN Co’s register for an additional 120 Business Days, even if those services are located at premises without an in-train order. The ACCC is supportive of migration arrangements that provide greater flexibility in dealing with ‘hard to migrate’ premises.
ACCAN submitted that there may be merit in applying the transitional arrangements more broadly than the next three waves of disconnections. It considers that the process to date has been reactive to experiences, which has resulted in greater risks to consumers and uncertainty. The ACCC agrees that that there may be merit in applying the arrangement more broadly. In this regard, we note Telstra has publicly committed to reviewing whether further changes to the definition of in-train order premises are required and intends to consult with the ACCC and industry over the coming months. We have encouraged Telstra to present the outcome of this review as soon as possible