NBN Co, and the government, hope that most customers will take VoIP as part a bundle of other services from retail service providers. However a process is required to migrate those who do not want such services onto NBN Co fibre because the Telstra copper network will be shut down 18 months after the FTTH networks starts rolling out in 'rollout region' - an area defined by NBN Co and generally encompassing about 3200 premises. The government will cover the costs of the costs incurred by retail service providers of migrating such customers from the copper to the fibre.
This process will be administered by the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) the body set up to manage Telstra's ongoing roll as the provider of the universal service obligation. (In the NBN Co wireless and satellite service areas Telstra copper will be retained and the analogue telephone service maintained. It will then be provided by Telstra under the universal service obligation).
Communications minister, senator Stephen Conroy, said: "The government is making arrangements for voice-only customers to continue to have a choice of retail service provider as NBN fibre is rolled out and the legacy copper network is decommissioned."
The information paper details a series of 'customer management tasks' with timeframes "to ensure that voice-only customers are adequately informed of impending disconnection from the Telstra copper network and the need for them to connect to the NBN fibre network (or make alternative service arrangements) to ensure continuity of service."
It envisages that, for most voice-only customers, a single letter advising them of the need to migrate should suffice, while other customers may require a more proactive communications approach."
The only customers eligible for support will be those that at the start of the process have only a fixed line voice service. "Any customer receiving a fixed-line broadband service over the Telstra copper network or an HFC network is not an eligible voice-only customer of the RSP, regardless of whether or not the broadband service is bundled with a voice service or provided on a standalone basis," the paper says.
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