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Issue No 29: 9 November 2017


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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 released today for public comment.

The Communications Alliance draft code -  C658:2017 Next-Generation Broadband Systems Deployment in Customer Cabling here – has a number of 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, after consultation and further revision 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.

The draft code has been created by a Communications Alliance working committee of industry experts, led by Peter Cooke from Telstra.

The code will require companies that are deploying next generation systems to cooperate in good faith, in particular by managing the power levels on the deployed services so as to avoid interfering with other nearby services.

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, praised the effort of the Working Committee.

“Industry has come together to tackle some very complex technical issues and provide solutions that will benefit Australian communications consumers, both during the 18-month co-existence period and over the longer term,

“The code will help ensure that the Government’s performance goals for NBN-based services will be met, while also facilitating greater competition and paving a smoother transition to future services.”

As one practical example, in an apartment block that has fibre-to-the-basement (FTTB) technology in place from one provider, but also has fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) services from a different provider, the two systems will share the available spectrum, with the longer FTTN cable runs using lower spectrum and the shorter in-building cable runs using higher spectrum.

“Without such coordination there is a high likelihood that the two systems will interfere with one another – degrading the service performance for all customers,” Mr Stanton said.

The draft code will remain open for public comment for 35 days. The Working Committee will consider all comments received and make any further necessary amendments, before seeking Communications Alliance Board approval and referring the draft code to the ACMA for consideration for registration.


Industry Guide Promotes Data Use Protection for Internet of Things (IoT) Consumers

Communications Alliance today welcomed the launch of the IoTAA’s Good Data Practice:
A Guide for Business to Consumer IoT Services for Australia.IMG_2034

The 20-page Guide, launched by the IoT Alliance Australia in Sydney, is the product of a major collaborative effort by industry, consumer representatives and regulatory bodies to address consumer-related concerns about business to consumer IoT services.

Good Data Practice: A Guide for Business to Consumer IoT Services for Australia deals with what industry players need to consider when supplying IoT devices and services to consumers.

The Guide aims to promote industry and consumer awareness of good practice in dealing with data associated with business to consumer (B2C) IoT services. 
The publication focusses on measures that IoT providers can take to build consumer trust and understanding of safe use of IoT products and services.  Recommendations include that providers ensure the ‘terms of use’ of their products and services are fair, and clearly expressed, particularly on uses of consumer data and secure use of IoT devices. 

The Guide is authored by IoTAA’s Workstream 3: Data Use, Access and Privacy, chaired by Peter Leonard, Principal, Data Synergies.  Input came from many industry and regulatory bodies, including many members of Workstream 3 and staff of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

Typically, multiple devices, parties and providers are involved in the IoT device and service delivery chain.

Data will often pass through multiple parties, e.g. cloud platform providers, data warehouses and billing service providers, creating the potential for misuse of data. 

The Guide outlines seven Good Data Practice Principles, dealing with:

  • consumer protection
  • accountability
  • customer empowerment
  • cyber protection
  • customer data transparency
  • data minimisation and
  • customer data control

“Industry and consumers need a better engagement model to ensure IoT services deliver benefits without consumer detriment”, said Peter Leonard.  “Industry can take the lead, but only through good engagement with consumers and regulators and open and frank discussions about how to work together to address and reduce risks.”
Good Data Practice: A Guide for Business to Consumer IoT Services for Australia is available online at http://www.iot.org.au/resources/

Internet of Things
IoT is defined as the infrastructure of interconnected objects, people, systems and information resources together with intelligent services to allow them to process information of the physical and the virtual world and react. 
Consumer IoT devices include everything from connected vehicles, connected TVs, connected toys, smartphones (often doubling as control (actuator) devices for IoT services and reporting devices as to data outputs from IoT sensors), to energy meters, security monitoring, thermostats, kettles, swimming pool filters, washing machines, headphones, lamps and wearable devices.


Comment Sought on Industry Code C518:2006 Call Charging and Billing Accuracy Code

Communications Alliance is seeking public comment on the C518:2006 Call Charging and Billing Accuracy Code.

The Call Charging and Billing Accuracy Code (C518) was first published in 1998 and has not undergone any required changes since its third edition in 2006. This Code, as part of an Operational Deregistration review has been proposed for deregistration and repeal.

  • The requirements of this Code are no longer fit for today’s environment, given that there are no telephony services in Australia today which are purely circuit switched telephony services.
  • The Code itself is based on the AUSTEL Technical Standard TS029-1996 which is obsolete.
  • The PSTN Test Call equipment used for making and receiving test calls for assessing compliance with the Code are at end of life with very limited support available from manufacturers.
  • The telecommunications industry is very competitive and constantly evolving, and since the introduction of this Code, many plans in the market place now include high monthly call allowances for local, national and mobile calls, or unlimited bundles.
  • The Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code contains obligations that require suppliers to be able to verify and demonstrate Billing Accuracy.
  • The systems and process in place for conducting call charging audits are mature and stable and are reflected in the past 20 years of consistently satisfactory annual results.
The Code can be downloaded from here. You can use the Submit Comments form to submit your comments via email or go to the Contact Us webpage to obtain other contact methods such as by post or fax..  Information on the Operations Reference Panel, including the Terms of Reference, can be found here.

All submissions received will be made publicly available on the Communications Alliance website unless the submitter requests otherwise.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD CLOSES AT 5:00 P.M. (AEST) ON THURSDAY 7 DECEMBER 2017.


Comment Sought on Industry Code C519:2004 End to End Network Performance for the STS

Communications Alliance is seeking public comment on C519:2004 End to End Network Performance for the STS.

The End to End Network Performance for the STS Code (C519) was first published in 1998 and has not undergone any revision changes since 2004. This Code, as part of an Operational Deregistration review has been proposed for deregistration and repeal.This Code is based on the AUSTEL Technical Standard TS027 which is obsolete.

  • With the evolution of newer technologies, C519 has effectively been replaced by G634:2013 Quality of Service parameters for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.
  • The Code no longer has any practical value to consumers and industry due to the declining use of circuit switched networks.
The Code can be downloaded from here. You can use the Submit Comments form to submit your comments via email or go to the Contact Us webpage to obtain other contact methods such as by post or fax..  Information on the Operations Reference Panel, including the Terms of Reference, can be found here.

All submissions received will be made publicly available on the Communications Alliance website unless the submitter requests otherwise.

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD CLOSES AT 5:00 P.M. (AEST) ON THURSDAY 7 DECEMBER 2017.

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