The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has called on fixed line incumbent Telstra to improve a measure that will support the migration of customers onto the National Broadband Network (NBN). With the measure relating to a specific process the NBN Co may use to connect to premises to the NBN, in a press release the regulator has said that in some cases the public-private company overseeing the project 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 ‘pull through’ process, as it is known, will result in a temporary outage to the existing communications services.
Under the telco’s migration plan, Telstra is required to have in place processes that enable it to: collect the consent of its wholesale customers for NBN Co to pull through lines over which the wholesale customer is providing services; and to notify wholesale customers if the pull through process is not successful. While the ACCC has said that Telstra’s proposal for the collection of wholesale customer consents satisfies the regulatory requirements relating to migration, it does not believe 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’.
Commenting on the matter, ACCC commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said: ‘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.’ As a result, Telstra is now required to amend the processes to address the ACCC’s concerns and resubmit them within 40 business days.