The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) wants interested parties to comment on the effectiveness of the Network Reliability Framework (NRF) following its first year of operation.
In particular, the ACA wants feedback on the measures the NRF is using to identify poorly performing parts of the Telstra network and the public reporting of Telstra’s performance.
Releasing a discussion paper, ACA acting chairman Dr Bob Horton said the review was consistent with the government’s response to the Regional Telecommunications Inquiry (RTI).
Horton said that once the period of public comment closes on May 14 2004, the ACA will consider responses to the paper, before reporting to the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Daryl Williams.
The Framework was introduced in January 2003, through an amendment to Telstra’s licence conditions, in response to a recommendation of the Telecommunications Service (Besley) Inquiry.
The inquiry found that, although Telstra’s network performance generally showed high reliability across broad geographical areas, there were pockets of poor performance in the network, and services that suffered multiple or recurrent faults.
“The NRF was put in place to monitor and report on the Telstra network and its service reliability at three different levels – at a broad geographic area level, at an exchange service area level, and down to a very detailed, individual service level,” Horton said.
“The aim was to identify and have Telstra fix poorly performing parts of the network and individual services.”
Under the Framework, Telstra is required to make information available to the public about service reliability in geographic areas of Australia, and take action before an individual customer’s fault levels exceed specified thresholds.
The later Regional Telecommunications (Estens) Inquiry recommended that the NRF be adjusted and refined over time to improve its operation, and that it be reviewed after 12 months of operation.
“That review has now begun,” Horton said.