Transition Steps

In our surveys of local Tasmanian businesses, there is a significant underestimation about what is involved with transitioning to the NBN. Many business owners consider the NBN to be just a faster, more reliable internet, what they do not understand is that this is also a complete upgrade to the telephone network. Indeed 6 to 18 months from now (depending on where you are), the existing telephone lines will be permanently disconnected. This has significant implications for any devices in your business that use these telephone lines (including PSTN, ISDN, ADSL etc). Devices such as:

  • Internal telephone systems (PABX)

  • EFTPOS systems

  • Security Alarm systems

  • Fax machines

It is likely that these devices will require a system upgrade to work over the NBN. Ironically the one part that will be fairly easy to transition is your IT systems – and some businesses have already made this early part of the conversion with little difficulty, the big challenge for these businesses is still to come: when the copper telephone lines are disconnected.

It is important to plan your telephone transition process and work closely with the suppliers of your equipment and services with careful scheduling between them to avoid your business experiencing significant downtime. To this end we have prepared this high level action list to help you do this.

  1. Consult your telephone carrier to discover if you are in a “cease-sale” area and exactly when your telephone lines (and any accompanying ADSL services) will be cut off completely (“permanent transition date” – to use the NBNCo language) – this will give you a time frame for the process.

  2. Consult with your council to determine your exact rating address, this may be different to what you know it as. NBNCo use council addresses, not telephone numbers, to connect you up.

  3. Consult with your NBN provider about anything that may delay the installation. In particular if your office is part of a multi-tenant building or if it is heritage listed. Check if you need to get permission from your landlord.

  4. Consult your telephone system (PABX) provider to determine if your current system can be upgraded or will need to be replaced and how this will be done. Ensure you get guarantees of call quality using their recommended method – in our experience some methods result in poor call quality.

  5. Consult your IT company about the implications of running SIP trunks (voice calls) through your NBN connection, in particular ensuring the voice calls are of good quality (using QoS etc). They will need to take this into account when choosing a new router.

  6. Consult your IT company and telephone system company about any changes required to your internal data network if you need to change to using IP based handsets. You may need to upgrade your internal wiring.

  7. Consult with your NBN provider about traffic classing and exactly how the voice calls will maintain quality over their network. You may have to purchase a more expensive “business grade” NBN connection.

  8. Engage a SIP Trunk carrier and investigate options to port in your existing telephone numbers – ascertain the costs involved, in particular any charges that will be levied by your current telephone provider – ISDN 100 number ranges can be particularly expensive (around $800).

  9. Consult your security alarm company to determine your options for upgrade to either IP based or GPRS based monitoring – you may need to completely replace your alarm system.

  10. Consult your EFTPOS provider to determine if you currently use GPRS terminals and what the options are for replacing them with ones that use either IP or GPRS.

  11. Determine your business usage of incoming and outgoing fax. Investigate options for doing away with your fax machine completely, such as scan to email and inbound fax to email services. If this is not possible, then investigate options for using a T.38 Fax gateway (less reliable, but workable). Investigate with your SIP Trunk provider and confirm their ability to port your existing fax number and ability to handle T.38 Traffic.

  12. Prepare a plan with all the vendors involved, be particularly careful of the scheduling. Some changes can adversely affect other services – for example porting your fax number will likely cause your existing ADSL service to disconnect. If any lines are disconnected by mistake (yes it happens), they cannot be reconnected if you are already in a “cease sale” area (large parts of Launceston, Deloraine & George Town).

  13. Prepare with your telephone and internet carrier (who on the NBN will be the same company) your transition plan and ask them to liaise with your other suppliers to ensure everything will be scheduled correctly.

  14. Order your NBN service, ensure this is done as a new service not a changeover of an existing internet service. For example one large carrier will perform a changeover by default which will result in the phone line that your ADSL is on becoming disconnected. Expect an install time of between 2 and 10 weeks and expect multiple visits by an NBNCo contractor.

  15. Determine the best location for the NBN Network Termination Device (NTD) – consult the NBN Fibre Guide on the NBNCo website.

  16. Implement your chosen alarm system solution. If you are using IP communication you will have to ask your alarm company to liaise with your IT company (you may have to wait for NBN to be installed first).

  17. Implement your chosen EFTPOS solution with your provider, this will likely be a GPRS solution.

  18. Decide on the method of upgrading or replacing your phone system with your phone system provider, this will have to be coordinated with your IT company. Decide who is going to manage the internal network and manage the gateway router. Ensure your phone system company understand the intricacies of this process (such as QoS & number porting).

  19. After the NBN has been installed, your IT company will be required to make some changes to your network (including replace your gateway router). They will have to liaise with your internet service provider to iron out any issues. You should now be able to disconnect your ADSL service – however be aware that you may lose any email addresses that are directly provided by your internet company (e.g. a Bigpond account).

  20. Install or upgrade your new phone system and put in a temporary diversion on your existing inbound number to a new temporary number provided by the SIP Provider.

  21. Ask the SIP Trunk Provider to start the porting process for your main number, you will need to contact your current provider to get their wholesale account number. This usually takes 2 – 3 weeks and they will schedule a date for this to occur. This can be a surprisingly complicated process with you caught in the middle between your old provider (who maybe less inclined to cooperate) and your new provider. If any incorrect information is given typically the request is reject and the process has to be restarted.

  22. Implement your preferred fax option, including porting your fax number over if required. If you hadn’t already disconnected your ADSL, it will probably happen during the porting process.

  23. On the scheduled porting day for your main inbound number (DID), make sure your staff and important clients are aware that the port will cause at least 30 minutes (and up to 4 hours) of downtime (no incoming calls), unfortunately this has to be done during business hours.

  24. Test everything! Particularly test your phone system for call quality (both inbound and outbound). Make sure you heavily utilise the data network (e.g. by sending large emails) and ensure that the voice quality is not affected. Any issues here will have to be resolved between your telephone system company, your NBN provider and the SIP Trunk provider.

If that list leaves your head spinning we are not surprised – it is a very complicated process and there are many pitfalls and opportunities for things to go wrong (usually resulting in downtime for your business). Worse, you can end up in situations where one supplier will blame the other for any problems or delays: at a minimum you can expect them to give you complicated information to pass onto other suppliers if they are not prepared to work directly together.

At Launtel, we are experts at managing and controlling this whole process. We excel at coordinating with your suppliers such that everything is done in the right order to absolutely minimise downtime. We will perform a full audit, prepare a project plan, engage with your existing suppliers and implement the transition process – keeping you informed every step of the way! If you would like to find out more and let us provide you with a free scope of work, please contact Damian Ivereigh on the number below.

Launtel is a Launceston based telephone system and telecommunications company specialising in providing the service required by your business so that you can get on with your business.

 

Call 1800 LAUNTEL (1800528683) now!