Friday, November 25, 2011

The NBN and the phone service

Fascinating item in the AFR today (behind paywall) in which the new chief executive of Primus rants about the need for the NBN to do more for phone service.

According to this CEO the NBN only provides for one telephone and to get the existing telephones to work requires "extensive rewiring". That to me is complete and utter nonsense. From the ATA part of the NTU the customer gets exactly the same kind of socket as they get on their existing phones. Connect that up to another socket on the existing wiring - and the phone equivalent of double adaptors are readily available - and all the existing phones will - or at least should - work.

I'd be pleased if some enterprising telecommunications technical bod would tell me if I'm wrong - but I'm pretty sure I'm not.

His second complaint is the $24 access price to get the first service which provides the voice capability and 12/1 of data. He moans that the price needs to be like the "$5" he can get from another provider. Well no - as a non-access network owning provider he can provide voice in one of two ways - buying a ULL and adding voice or buying the Telstra wholesale line rental. The prices for these can be found in the ACCC's final Access Determination. These are $16 per month for the ULL and $22.10 for wholesale line rental. The NBN service includes the ATA which is not included in the ULL price. The NBN price does not result in any additional charges for local calls as occurs for WLR, in addition the provider will receive the PSTN TA charges that currently go to Telstra.

It is a pity that CEOs go out and say these types of things. There is nothing to be gained for the industry by projecting an industry hostility to the NBN - particularly when the statements just don't seem to be accurate.

PS For once I just can't be bothered sending a letter to the AFR. It is about time NBN Co felt mature enough to respond itself.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est


ian said...

You are probably correct about the pricing, but my understanding is the NTU provides a RG11 phone socket.
Very many existing installations will have fixed wiring with multiple access points (installed by Telstra at extra cost). It is unclear how, or if, the NTU will interface to existing house wiring.
(Mind you, I only have a phone line, because it is part of a bundle, which I only use to make 13/1800 calls. I would have to pay the same for stand alone ADSL.)

ian said...

PS To clarify my earlier comment:-
When a service is cutover to NBN, the MDF links will presumably removed.
This will leave the house wiring connected to several km of unterminated cable.
As well as inducing noise and inteference, this will be subject to line faults, but with no one monitoring, or responsible for repair.
Disconnection at the pillar would be better, but the only robust solution is to isolate the premises wiring.