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ACCAN has made a submission to the Australian Communications and Media Authority's (ACMA) review of the quality of service standards for telephone services. Quality of service standards ensure that when you make a call, you and the recipient can hear each other clearly enough, without problems like excess line noise, echo, or delay. An existing industry code (C519:2004) sets out levels of quality that standard telephone services have to meet.

With the emergence of Voice over IP (VoIP) services such as voice services over the NBN, there is a growing need for C519 to be updated to ensure that it remains relevant. The existing industry code does not apply to VoIP services, and so there is no guarantee that a VoIP service will be free from the audio problems mentioned above. This might mean, for instance, that when you are on a VoIP call and someone else in the house downloads a large file, your call drops out.

Since everyone with a landline will be using VoIP once the NBN is rolled out and the existing copper network is shut off, it is vital that a consumer who orders a phone service can be sure that they will get the quality they expect and pay for.

Summary:

ACCAN's submission made several key points:

  • A standard should be developed so that consumers are able to clearly identify voice services that will provide quality at least as good as what they are accustomed to
  • Quality standards should be spelled out in terms of consumer experience like echo, delay, and volume, rather than technical specifications
  • The revised code should apply to all voice services, regardless of the underlying technology
  • There should be independent monitoring of services to ensure that the quality standards are being met.

This report was prepared for ACCAN by Paul Brooks from the Internet Society of Australia and Layer 10 Advisory, in collaboration with ACCAN staff.

Download: docxACCAN quality of service submission2.11 MB

Download: pdfACCAN quality of service submission590.53 KB