Consumers need to be given more information on how their telecommunication services will gradually be moved from Telstra’s copper infrastructure to the National Broadband Network (NBN), according to Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA).
VHA representatives attended the Joint Committee on the NBN public hearing in Sydney today.
Under the $11 billion deal between Telstra and NBN Co, the telco will be progressively migrating its copper network customers over onto the fibre-based NBN within the decade.
While NBN Co has engaged in a number of media campaigns to inform the public on the NBN in general, there is a lack of information regarding the migration process, according to VHA industry strategy and public policy general manager, Matthew Lobb.
“There is a great risk of consumer confusion,” he told the Committee. “That is something we all need to be vigilant about – the industry, Telstra, NBN Co, Government, and industry associations… We all need to work together very closely to give consumers the right information at the right time during this period.”
Lobb noted NBN Co is currently in the process of developing a communications plan and saw it as vital for the company to consider including Telstra service migration information.
“That’s things like what to expect when a connection occurs, when the migration occurs, and giving [consumers] very practical advice on how that will take place,” he said.
While consumer services are unlikely to be significantly impacted, there is more involved than just reassuring the public that it’s just business as usual, according to Lobb. Highlighting to that there will be more choices of ISPs and products available, he said, should also be a part of NBN Co’s communications strategy.
VHA joined the NBN mainland trials last year and is keen to break into the Australian fixed-line services market.
“There also needs to be a pro-competition set of messages,” Lobb said. “… Particularly for new entrants such as ourselves, we think it’s important to [send the message] that you have new choices because of the NBN.
“Competition is driving innovation in our market so one think we would ask the Committee to press home to the NBN and Government is that the competition message is also a part of that.”
The Joint Committee on the NBN public hearing continues.