It’s time for businesses to consider how services provided over the nbn™ broadband access network can help them pivot towards the future

What businesses can do to get the most from a network designed to support the next generation of services

Credit: nbn image

When the nbn™ network was planned, the government was looking to the future. Then and now, the network aims to connect Australia for both businesses and residents. Part of planning process looked at established and emerging global standards to ensure businesses and services over the nbn™ network could compete locally and abroad.

During this planning phase, an agreement was made that affected legacy services, such as ISDN, would migrate away from parts of the legacy copper network with a plan set out in 2009.  Fast forward to today, and parts of the migrations have completed with ISDN disconnections now being implemented.

 “We are launching the next generation of wholesale open access network with the aim to lift the digital capability of Australia. Part of that purpose aims to enable economic benefits for those ready to take advantage of digital opportunities” said Claire Awramenko, GM Business Revenue Programs with nbn.

The history of ISDN

ISDN services were introduced to Australia in 1988 and have been the workhorse of Australian small businesses ever since. Their ability to provide 128Kbps digital connections over standard phone lines saw them commonly used as trunk lines for digital phone systems, and connections for small remote offices.

With ever-improving broadband data services, however, customers around the world have steadily replaced ISDN with faster, capable alternatives.

Considering opportunities for your business

In a recent report commissioned by nbn,[1] research firm Ovum has confirmed the suitability of business nbn™ services as a replacement for affected ISDN and other legacy services, noting that “equipping the business sector with a flexible, nationwide network platform better positions businesses, large and small, to adopt the latest applications and business models needed to be competitive now and into the future.”

In preparation for disconnection of affected ISDN services, [2]nbn™ worked with service providers to develop a range of alternative wholesale options available now on services over the nbn™ access network on retail plans powered by business nbn™.

These wholesale business nbn™ services have been designed to offer the choice, flexibility and reliability features that businesses may need. Numerous dedicated traffic classes and enhanced service level agreement (eSLA) options enable business nbn™ to deliver a network that can support ISDN replacements with fast speeds and good performance characteristics.

On plans powered by business nbn™, service providers create plans and services that help provide the foundation for a complete digital transformation by enabling value-added applications, cloud, consulting and other services.

“In our view, the key to Australia’s place in a globalised world is connectivity. We are helping to enable that connectivity by helping to give businesses the choice of service providers and broadband access to help them innovate, disrupt and prosper.  Last year we launched a range of dedicated wholesale business grade products and services designed to support data and voice applications with business nbn™. Part of those services support legacy services such as ISDN” explained Awramenko.

The migration process is also an excellent time for businesses to work with service providers and consider how new business nbn™ services can be used to help make their business even more dynamic and capable than ever.

“It’s a great opportunity for businesses to think about their telecommunications needs,” explained Claire Awramenko.

“Many businesses today have a need for services like business telephony, security, cloud services, videoconferencing, and online collaboration tools – to name just a few.”

“Rather than just looking at this as a simple transition to be managed, this change is an opportunity for businesses to take advantage of new telecommunications services – and consider ways to make their operations faster, smoother, and more capable than ever before.”

Dedicated resources for ISDN customers

ISDN is one of numerous Special Services[3] – which also include Frame Relay, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Megalink and other copper network-based connectivity methods – that are already being progressively disconnected.

If you have affected Special Services, it’s not a question of ‘if’ they will be disconnected, but ‘when’ – so it’s essential to be prepared. nbn has been working hard to help smooth the customers’ migration from affected Special Services in any way that we can.

“We’re making sure we have a service experience designed to support businesses, by working collaboratively with service providers on all plans powered by business nbn™.” said Awramenko.

“Across all segments – from sole traders to medium-sized organisations that may have a PABX with ISDN service that needs migration, to large enterprises with complex transition requirements – we are working with industry to help make sure all parties are prepared.”

Action for businesses

Disconnections of affected legacy ISDN broadband and telephony services commences from the end of September. So what should businesses do?

The first step is to find out whether your business has any affected Special Services installed. If so, check the disconnection dates[4] for those services so you know how much time you have left. Depending on where you’re located and your nbn™ access technology, you may find there is a rollout region disconnection date (RRDD) (for standard phone and internet services), and a Special Services disconnection date (SSDD). These two dates may not necessarily coincide with each other. Whichever disconnection date occurs last will determine when your Special Service must begin the disconnection process.

Businesses will need to decide which network solution is best for them. The business nbn™ solution finder  will help align your business network needs to a recommendation of business nbn™ wholesale product and on your input based on the voice and data needs of each of your business sites. Another tool for businesses to consider is a list of service providers that can offer plans powered by business nbn™ and help to support your transition.

Businesses looking for additional support could consider an IT technical adviser who participates in the business nbn™ ICT Channel Program – a training program under which qualified IT consultants are accredited to ensure they are best equipped to assist customers with their service migration.


[2] Services provided over the nbn™ broadband access network will be replacing phone and internet services provided over most of the existing landline networks. Services provided over existing fibre networks and some special and business services may not be affected. Disconnection dates vary and not all Special Services will be disconnected – whether a service will be disconnected, and the timing of disconnection will depend on factors including the type of Special Service, when the nbn™ broadband access network is available, which nbn™ access technology is available and whether Telstra has issued a BAU product exit in respect of a Special Service. To find out if your services will be affected, and applicable disconnection dates, contact your customer’s phone or internet service provider.



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