New rule to stop households being left without broadband during NBN transition

ACMA holds off on mandatory line-testing standard

New rules introduced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are designed to stop households being left without any access to telecommunications services when there are hiccups during their migration to the National Broadband Network.

The new Service Continuity Standard is the latest in a slate of regulatory measures taken by the ACMA to improve end user experience during and after transition to the NBN.

Under the standard, which takes effect on 21 September, where feasible NBN and telecommunications providers must not disconnect existing fixed-line services unless a new NBN connection is working.

If there is a problem during the migration, legacy copper-based services need to be reconnected where possible or an alternative service offered while the problem is resolved.

The standard takes effect “where the migration of a legacy service to the NBN has been unsuccessful, and is unlikely to be successful within a reasonable period of time” and “where the migration of a legacy service to the NBN has been successful, but a voice service or broadband service cannot be supplied to a particular consumer on the NBN for an unreasonable period of time, and it remains readily feasible to supply legacy services to that premises”.

The ACMA redrafted the standard following consultations with Communications Alliance, industry stakeholders, and consumer groups including the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

Communications Alliance raised a number of objections to the ACMA’s initial draft standard, including that it could give the wrong impression to consumers that they did not need to migrate to the new network and that it could delay the transition process.

The industry group also argued that it may be more appropriate to offer consumers access to mobile-based services in some circumstances — for example during a transition to FTTC and FTTN services, reconnecting a legacy service may be impractical.

“Only in cases where there is no other option that can deliver a service to the consumer and where a reconnection to a legacy network is technically feasible, should a reconnection to a legacy service be considered,” the group said in a submission to ACMA’s consultation.

The revised standard includes the concept of an “NBN backup service” that is not based on the new network nor on the legacy copper network.

The ACMA has also issued a Consumer Information Standard that requires a retail service provider (RSP) to offer an information sheet to prospective customers that contains details of its plans, in a similar fashion to the critical information summaries that accompany mobile phone services.

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

“Telcos need to step up to provide better information to their customers and make sure they are not left without a service during their migration to NBN-based services.”

The ACMA is also proposing to introduce a line-testing standard to ensure that households aren’t paying for speeds that their FTTN and FTTB NBN connections are not capable of achieving. Australia biggest telcos have already been forced to compensate tens of thousands of consumers over the issue.

A proposed line-testing standard was unveiled at the same time as the draft Consumer Information Standard and Service Continuity Standard. However, the standard is yet to be finalised.

“ACMA is thoroughly working through the range of issues that have been raised in the consultation process and is releasing the rules in stages once they have been finalised,” a spokesperson for the regulator told Computerworld.

“This gives the industry as much time as possible to put their processes in place to comply.   A further rule on line testing and continuity of service will be released by the end of July.”

Government appoints new NBN non-executive director

The government announced today that it had appointed Zoe McKenzie to NBN’s board for a three-year term as a non-executive director.

McKenzie is the CEO of Trade and Investment Advisory.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags broadbandNetworkingnbn coTelecommunicationsNational Broadband Network (NBN)Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Rohan Pearce

Rohan Pearce

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill


I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?