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nbn™ gives ISDN, Frame Relay and Ethernet Lite a stay of execution

Users will be permitted to run them in parallel with NBN connections, but they've been marked for extinction

By Richard Chirgwin

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Horror stories about poor installation experiences for Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) are everywhere, which might be making businesses reluctant to give up old but reliable services. To get those customers over the line, nbn™, the company building and operating the NBN, has announced it will let business customers keep their ISDN services in parallel with an NBN connection until they're ready to migrate.

While Telstra only publishes “services in operation” (SIO) data for ISDN, that service alone shows remarkable persistence with nearly a million “basic access line equivalents” in service. There's not, however, a 1:1 relationship between those services and customers, since “primary rate” services are sold in bundles of up to 30 basic rate links.

nbn™ says there are 200,000 customers on its “special services” migration plan, but that covers many services other than ISDN.

nbn™ sales and marketing manager Ben Salmon blogged about the approaching end of the services.

As well as the venerable and still-surprisingly-popular ISDN, the list includes business DSL services sold by Telstra Wholesale, Ethernet Lite, Frame Relay, Megalink, the Data Access Radial (DAR), CustomNet, and Wholesale Transmission.

Of all these connection types, only ISDN has enough customers to be reported in Telstra's financials.

Telstra has all of these products already on end-of-sale (some will be sold until the end of June 2018), with final disconnections between 2018 and 2022.

The first of the disconnections will be from Telstra's Wholesale Business DSL services and Ethernet Lite DSL, in November this year, according to this table from nbn™.

There's also an inducement to convert: “After industry consultation, I am pleased to announce we will now credit a AU$270 subsequent installation fee previously passed on to phone and internet providers for business customers migrating their Special Services over Fibre-to-the-Node and Fibre-to-the-Building technology to a separate line on the nbn™ access network”, Salmon wrote.

The offer is dependent on the retailer ordering a “Traffic Class 2” service – a business service with a committed information rate, and defined latency, jitter, and packet loss. ®

Bootnote: On the one hand, Vulture South is surprised that there are any Frame Relay connections remaining. On the other hand, we recall how it took years for Telstra to finally retire its X.25 services back in the 1990s. Are you holding onto a service everyone thought was retired? Get in touch and tell us why.

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