Issue No 7: 11 April 2018



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Industry Welcomes New Draft Regulations on NBN Migration

The telecommunications industry welcomed the release on 10 April by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) of new regulatory instruments relating to consumer information and protections during the migration to the NBN.

Communications Alliance Director Program Management, Christiane Gillespie-Jones, said its industry members would digest the detail of the draft Standards and provide feedback to the ACMA on the practicalities and cost implications of implementing the new rules.

Industry members have already expressed concern about the level of prescription within the draft Standards and Determination, including the flow-on costs for consumers.

Ms Gillespie-Jones said that the prescriptive advertising provisions in the draft Consumer Information Standard were challenging, and Industry would be consulting with the ACMA and ACCC on how the new rules would relate to the ACCC’s Industry Guidance on Broadband Speed Claims.

Industry also raised concerns about the practicality of connecting consumers to legacy services, and is considering if this constitutes the most efficient method to provide consumers with ongoing internet access during migration.

“Also, the requirement to respond to consumers’ speed concerns within one working day will add to costs. Providers support testing speeds in response to a consumer request, but the strict timeline proposed in the draft Determination is likely to require additional staff and lead to higher costs for consumers,” said Ms Gillespie-Jones.

Ms Gillespie-Jones emphasised that industry fully supported the ACMA’s efforts to improve the migration experience and provide consumers with appropriate information on their NBN service.

Communications Alliance Submission on Telecommunications Sector Security Guidance Material

Communications Alliance has provided a submission to the Critical Infrastructure (CIC) on the guidance material that the Centre recently released to assist providers to comply with their obligations under Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017.

The submission called out that the guidance contradicts the assurances that the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) gave to the Australian Parliament with regards to the security obligations that providers have for offshore and cloud facilities and services. The guidance indicated that the information and networks using those services or facilities are to be protected to at least the same standard as if those services were provided from within Australia, while AGD had clarified in a Parliamentary Committee hearing that this obligation only applied to the extent that providers had control over those facilities and services and that it did not go beyond international gateways. The submission calls for an accurate reflection of AGD’s assurances in the guidance material.

The submission also makes some recommendation around improved processes post notification, and urges the CIC to provide objective guidance on acceptable mitigation measures and to share examples and learnings from notifications it receives.

Better Broadband Performance to Flow from New Industry Code

A milestone new industry code designed to improve the performance of next-generation broadband systems in Australia – including NBN-based services, has been published by Communications Alliance.

The industry code - C658:2018 Next-Generation Broadband Systems Deployment in Customer Cabling – has several important objectives that will improve the consumer experience of Australians using next generation and legacy broadband services. These include:

  • minimising performance-draining interference between multiple telecommunications systems that are deployed alongside one another;
  • protecting the performance of legacy systems such as ADSL2+ during the 18-month ‘coexistence period’ – i.e. the transition period that occurs in each roll-out area, when legacy systems and NBN-based services are both in play, until the legacy services are eventually switched off;
  • fostering greater competition in the deployment of next generation services by telecommunications carriers and service providers;
  • ensuring minimum performance levels for certain next generation systems; and
  • paving the way for technology upgrades such as nbn’s planned introduction of a new high-speed technology known as G.fast.

Communications Alliance intends to submit the code to the industry regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for consideration for registration. Once registered, industry compliance with the code’s deployment rules and other provisions can be enforced by the ACMA.

Mobile Customer Equipment Standards Updated

Communications Alliance has recently completed a substantive revision of the Australian Standards for mobile handsets and other mobile devices, to ensure that these devices align with the latest international Standards and meet the needs of the telecommunications industry and their customers.

The two Parts of the AS/CA S042 Standard Requirements for connection to an air interface of a Telecommunications Network, specifying general requirements and IMT (or 4G) requirements, have been updated to align with the latest ETSI Standards developed in Europe. The general requirements in AS/CA S042.1 have been revised to update the requirements for emergency services, to cater for Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice of Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) and to allow for the newer types of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) technologies being employed by mobile devices. AS/CA S042.4 includes requirements for the newer services such as Carrier Aggregation, narrowband Internet of Things (NB IoT) and Vehicle to Anything (V2X) technologies.

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