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Service criteria for full local number portability

Media Release

The Australian Communications Authority

ACA establishes equivalent service criteria for full local number portability

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) today released its equivalent service criteria for full local number portability (LNP). The criteria set out the requirements for assessment of technical solutions that carriage service providers (CSPs) of local services will use for full LNP.

ACA Chairman, Tony Shaw, said "The establishment of criteria for equivalent service means that customers who keep their telephone number when changing to another local service CSP can expect the same quality of service as that received by other customers of that CSP."

In March 1998 the ACA announced that from 1 January 2000 local service CSPs must provide full LNP. This meant that they must provide customers with ported numbers a service of equivalent quality to that provided to customers with non-ported numbers on the same network. Until that date, LNP need not provide service of equivalent quality.

The term equivalent service derives from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) Directions to the ACA under the Telecommunications Act 1997.

The criteria have been developed after consideration of an ACA commissioned report by Ovum Pty Ltd, and extensive consultation with all sectors of the telecommunications industry, including the ACCC. Five criteria for equivalent service have been established by the ACA. and cover:

post-dialling delay;

call failure, end-to-end blocking and circuit availability;

services and features;

end-to-end connectivity; and

no barriers to entry for new participants.

The criteria are intended to translate complex technical matters into measurable parameters that take account of user needs.

The ACA will shortly be writing to all affected local service CSPs to seek a comprehensive description and assessment of the technical solution they intend to deploy to provide equivalent service LNP. Local service CSPs will also be required to provide, within two months, a written assessment of their technical solution against each of the equivalent service criteria. Assessment will require co-operation between all affected CSPs.

"The ACA reserves the right to expand upon or alter the criteria and assessment arrangements at any future date in response to industry or consumer needs, market developments or technological advances," Mr Shaw said.

Copies of the criteria and an accompanying explanatory report will be available shortly on the ACA website.

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