Friday, 22 June 2018 12:19

ACMA releases industry standards for moving to NBN Featured

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released two industry standards that it says will help consumers make a smooth transition to the country's national broadband network, the NBN.

In a statement, the ACMA said the Consumer Information Standard and the Service Continuity Standard had both been released on Friday and would take effect from 21 September.

The CIS will require telecommunications service providers to give would-be customers a "key facts sheet" that detailed the different broadband plans on offer. Additionally, consumers would have to be advised about checking that medical and security alarms were compatible with the NBN before making the move.

The SCS will requires telcos and the NBN Co to avoid disconnecting services until a new NBN-based one was working. Where there was no service in the first instance, the SCS sets timeframes for reconnecting people to their old services or offering them a temporary solution until the NBN-based service is up and running.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said: "While the majority of consumers are having a good experience in their migration to the NBN, unfortunately a number are not.

"Our recent survey showed that consumers want and need the right information to choose a plan for services over the NBN that works for them. Consumers who use medical and security alarms need specific information about how these will work over the NBN.

"Our research also showed that about 16% of households reported being left without their home Internet and/or phone service for more than a week when moving to services provided over the NBN."

O'Loughlin said once the standards took effect, they would be immediately enforceable by the ACMA.

"For example, if a telco breaches an industry standard, the ACMA can commence court proceedings seeking remedies such as injunctions and civil penalties of up to $250,000," the statement said.

"These standards deliver on the December 2017 government direction to the ACMA to implement new protections for consumers."

Telco industry lobby group, the Communications Alliance, welcomed the new standards.

“The ACMA has taken on board a range of improvements suggested by industry, to make the standards more consumer-friendly and workable,” CA chief executive John Stanton said.

“In particular, we are pleased that the ACMA has recognised that it is not sensible to go down the path of re-connecting legacy services in circumstances where fibre-to-the-node (FttN) or fibre-to-the-curb (FttC) experience initial connection issues.

“This is because these connections use the same copper infrastructure that previously supported legacy services such as ADSL2 – making it impossible to restore the old service and fix the new one at the same time.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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