The ACMA has put in place new rules to make sure that consumers are not left without a working telecommunications service during their migration to the National Broadband Network (NBN). The rules are set out in the Telecommunications (NBN Continuity of Service) Industry Standard 2018 (Service Continuity Standard).
The rules are effective from 21 September 2018.
Other rules dealing with service continuity are contained in the Telecommunications Service Provider (NBN Service Migration) Determination 2018.
What is the Service Continuity Standard?
The Service Continuity Standard is intended to minimise the likelihood of consumers being left without a working telecommunications service for extended periods when moving to the NBN. It is part of a package of consumer safeguards designed to protect consumers during their move to and use of the NBN.
What does the Service Continuity Standard require?
The Service Continuity Standard applies to carriage service providers (CSPs)—both retail and wholesale, carriers and NBN Co.
Under the requirements of the Service Continuity Standard, retail CSPs providing services to consumers via the NBN must carefully manage the move of a consumer’s service from the ‘old network’ to a service on the NBN, so that the consumer experiences a smooth transition to the NBN.
In the cases of ‘parallel’ moves to the NBN (in which the old network service doesn’t need to be disconnected in order to connect to the NBN—as with FTTP, HFC, fixed wireless and satellite NBN technologies):
- Where the NBN retail CSP is also supplying an old network service to the consumer—the NBN retail CSP isn’t permitted to disconnect the old network service until the NBN service is working properly.
- Where the consumer is moving to a new NBN retail CSP to get an NBN service—the new NBN retail CSP is required to tell the consumer that they shouldn’t disconnect their old network service with their old CSP until their NBN service is working.
There may still be a small number of cases where, despite these new rules, a consumer’s old network service is disconnected before they have a working NBN service. In these cases, the NBN retail CSP has three working days to get the NBN service working properly. If the NBN retail CSP can’t get it working properly in this period, and they also supplied the old network service to the consumer, they must, in most cases, reconnect the consumer’s old network service within three working days.
Instead of being reconnected to an old network service, consumers can also agree for their NBN retail CSP to supply them with an alternative service (for example, a mobile service) or some other arrangement (such as compensation).
Under the standard, NBN Co is required to manage the move to the NBN at a consumer’s premises to ensure that there is a smooth transition.
NBN Co also has the following additional responsibilities under the Service Continuity Standard:
- advising an NBN retail CSP whether or not a move to the NBN has been successful
- taking reasonable steps to assist a NBN retail CSP to expedite the supply of a working NBN service.
NBN Co cannot advise NBN retail CSPs or ‘old network’ CSPs that the move to the NBN at a consumer’s premises is complete until it has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that a successful move has occurred.
The Service Continuity Standard also includes incentives to get an NBN service working as soon as possible. Where there is an unreasonable delay in getting an NBN service working, the NBN retail CSP must develop a plan specifically for the consumer’s case that is directed at getting the service working as soon as possible. The NBN retail CSP must give the consumer a copy of that plan.
In the small number of cases where that plan doesn’t result in the service working, the NBN retail CSP will need to undertake a technical audit. This audit must identify why the plan didn’t result in getting the service working, set out the remedial steps required to get the service working and identify measures to avoid similar problems in the future.
The Service Continuity Standard also includes requirements to ensure that all entities in the telecommunications supply chain collaborate to ensure that a consumer is provided with a working telecommunications service.