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Tuesday, 16 September 2003
Page: 15350


Senator Mackay asked the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, upon notice, on 18 June 2003:

With reference to the Customer Network Improvement (CNI) database:

(1) How many CNIs are there in the database at present, given that on 6 December the total figure quoted by Telstra was 112 159, an increase from the number quoted by Mr Estens in his report, which was 104 500 for February 2002.

(2) How many CNIs are there in each of the five priority classifications at present.

(3) What is the oldest CNI in each of the five priority classifications at present.

(4) What is the volume of CNIs that have been cleared from the database since 6 December 2002, in each of the priority classifications.

(5) Is it true that Telstra has changed the reporting process for CNIs, given the evidence presented by the Communications, Electrical, Electronic, Energy, Information, Postal, Plumbing and Allied Services Union at the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee hearing into the Australian telecommunications network in Sydney on 19 May 2003 that there is a new process which involves a telephone call to the CNI phone number, and that the paperwork that used to be utilised is no longer required under this new process.

(6) (a) When did this system change; and (b) what is the rationale behind it.

(7) How are CNI tasks now allocated to customer field staff.

(8) Who can access the CNI database.

(9) Can team leaders in specific regional areas access the CNI database.


Senator Alston (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —The answer to the honourable senator's question, based on information provided by Telstra, is as follows:

This answer is based on advice from Telstra and is substantively the same as the Telstra response to Question on Notice 127 from the Budget Estimates Hearings in May 2003

(1) Telstra has advised that as at 10 June 2003, there were 123,803 CNIs in the database.

(2) Telstra has advised that numbers of CNIs in each of the 5 priority classifications were as follows:

Priority 1 587

Priority 2 1,706

Priority 3 17,697

Priority 4 7,238

Priority 5 96,575

Telstra has advised that as of 1 July 2003 the CNI recording system changed from a `priority' based system to a `category' based system. The `priority' to `category' change occurred during the last week of June. Telstra has indicated that the purpose of the change is to simplify the process and make CNI types clearer and more logical and to aim to reduce cycle times.

Telstra has advised that the new categories are:

Category 1

Safety Related

Specifically related to safety CNIs

Category 2

Customer Escalations

ESD, NRF and Cicero related CNIs

Category 3

Potential Service Affecting

Assessed as possessing a higher risk of causing future disruption to service.

Category 4

Programmable Work

Identified (from a business perspective) as needing to be programmed for completion (utilising the CNI Decision Framework)

Category 5

Asset Management

Managed by the Cyclic Management process. A robust initial evaluation is conducted and ongoing monitoring occurs (by way of auto triggers) to escalate or archive as required.

Comparison of old and new categories:

Old

New

Priority 1

Escalated CNIs

Category 1

Safety Related

Priority 2

ESD / Service Affecting

Category 2

Customer Escalations

Priority 3

Safety

Category 3

Potential Service Affecting

Priority 4

Not Used

Category 4

Programmable Work

Priority 5

Low Priority

Category 5

Asset Management

Telstra has advised that as part of the new process the current outstanding volume of low priority (Priority 5) CNIs will be effectively managed with a focus on using business rules to determine the appropriate management action. Experts from the National Fault Reduction Group are reviewing existing Category 5 CNIs to ascertain appropriate management plans.

Telstra has indicated that the majority (80%, or over 90,000) of outstanding CNIs are priority 5, of which 22,000 are over 2 years old and have never had a re-report. Telstra expects that the new approach will significantly reduce outstanding volumes through validation of the low priority CNIs.

(3) Telstra has advised that as at 10 June 2003, the oldest CNI in each of the 5 Priority classifications was as follows:

Priority 1

1997—Currently under field investigation

Priority 2

1997—Required construction now completed - waiting cutover to new plant.

Priority 3

1996—Currently under investigation.

Priority 4

1996—Waiting selection under pro-active rehabilitation/growth projects

Priority 5

1996—Waiting selection under pro-active rehabilitation/growth projects

(4) Telstra has provided figures for the numbers of CNIs as at 31 December 2002 and the volume of CNIs cleared from the database between 6th December 2002 and 10 June 2003, in each of the priority classifications. These are:

CNIs as at 31 Dec 2002

Priority

Total

1

373

2

1,087

3

13,982

4

8,697

5

89,662

CNIs cleared from the database between 6th December 2002 and 10 June 2003

Priority

Volume

1

690

2

2,670

3

5,049

4

1,799

5

19,971

(5) Telstra has advised that a new CNI process is being implemented that changes the CNI reporting process from paper entry to a phone-in system for direct entry to the CNI record database.

(6) (a) Telstra has advised that the new CNI process has been progressively implemented nationally starting from 1 December, 2002. (b) Telstra has advised that the new process is designed to reduce the cycle time on Safety and Service Affecting CNIs. The phone-in process allows immediate recording of CNIs while the paper based process caused a delay between CNI identification and recording. Telstra has advised that it considers that it is a simpler and less onerous option for field staff to make reports by telephone.

(7) Telstra has advised that CNI jobs are issued either as a `local' job via DIRECTOR (work dispatch system) or as a `ticket of work' despatched via DIRECTOR (current system) or CONNECT (new system).

(8) Telstra has advised that access to the CNI database is provided on job need basis, controlled via a register, and only registered users may access the database.

(9) Telstra has advised that Team Leaders have access to reports produced from the CNI database.