Thursday, 20 September 2018 10:20

Big telcos 'benefit from delay' in special business services moving to NBN Featured

Big telcos 'benefit from delay' in special business services moving to NBN Pixabay

Big telecommunications companies are pushing for a delay in the disconnection date for special business services to migrate from legacy infrastructure to the NBN because they benefit financially, the owner of a small ISP in Launceston claims.

Damian Ivereigh, the chief executive of Launtel, said in the case of fibre-to-the node users, they were using two copper lines, side by side, one of which was used to run special services, mainly an ISDN line.

He said when two copper cables ran close to each other, there was a tendency for "crosstalk" - the signal would jump from cable to the other. The higher the signal frequency, the greater the problem, and FttN used very high frequency signals.

"During the migration period, when people are both using the old technology and the new FttN technology (called in NBN parlance 'co-existence'), to reduce this interference NBN Co has reduced both the frequency range and the signal power of the FttN nodes. Because of this people have reduced speed and a less reliable Internet connection," Ivereigh pointed out in a detailed blog post.

On Wednesday, Phillip Britt, the owner of another small ISP, Aussie Broadband, had pushed for the disconnections and migration of special services to the NBN to begin on 12 November as originally scheduled.

Ivereigh said under the original NBN plan — which envisaged providing fibre-to-the-premises for a majority of connections — 18 months had been set down for migration, after which regular services would be forcibly migrated to the NBN.

"There was actually no technical reason for this (copper and fibre run just fine side-by-side), it was purely a political and economic one," he said.

"At the time the remaining copper-based 'special services' were the can that was kicked down the road to be dealt with later. However, under the FttN technology, a decision to delay has real consequences."

The 18-month migration period also was in place for FttN and once that happened, both the frequency range and the signal power of the FttN node could be again turned up to the full range. The "co-existence mode" was still on at the node and NBN Co was now talking about delaying the switchover, he said.

"So why would the big telcos be requesting a delay on this? As usual, it is all about money," Ivereigh claimed.

"Firstly, a telco typically earns more money on the old legacy services than the newer NBN ones. Secondly, a telco has to engage with their customer and help manage the process for migration; this, of course, costs money. Thirdly, whenever there is a network change, it typically is a time when a customer will re-evaluate his/her choice of supplier."

He said the greatest barrier to competition among telcos was "sheer customer inertia".

"If a service is basically working most customers are, quite reasonably, nervous to make any changes. This is, unfortunately, due to their experiences with the major telcos, who regularly stuff things up during migrations.

"The large telcos would very much like their customers just to do nothing and keep buying from them. However, they are doing this at the expense of the quality of the Internet for the rest of us.

"They have had plenty of time (years) to plan and execute this, if they are still not ready, then clearly they don’t want to be ready and are using this as yet another way of keeping the more nimble challenger telcos off their turf."


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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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