Broadband performance in focus with new industry code

Thursday, 09 November, 2017

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A new industry code focusing on better broadband performance has been made available for public comment.

The draft code from the Communications Alliance, C658:2017 Next-Generation Broadband Systems Deployment in Customer Cabling, contains several objectives designed to improve broadband services for Australians.

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’ — ie, the transition period that occurs in each rollout 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

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,” he said.

“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,” 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.

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