Story image

Government launches telecommunications Consumer Safeguards Review

18 Apr 2018

The Australian Government will be looking closely at the telecommunications sector and its ability to provide proper safeguards for consumers, as part of a new review.

Current consumer safeguards have been in place since Telstra owned and operated the national fixed-line telecommunications network, however Minister for Communications Senator Mitch Fifield says now telco providers need to up their game.

The review will be conducted in three separate areas: Complaints processes, service reliability, and fairness of services.

1. Ensuring that consumers have access to an effective complaints handling and redress scheme that provides transparency and holds telecommunications providers accountable for their performance.

2. Ensuring consumers have reliable telecommunications services including reasonable timeframes for connections, fault repairs and appointments; as well as potential compensation or penalties against providers.

3. Ensuring consumers are able to make informed choices and are treated fairly by their provider in areas such as customer service, contracts, billing, credit and debt management, and switching providers.

“The TIO’s six-monthly update report… shows that the existing model for complaints handling and redress is not working. Customers are continuing to experience poor service, and are unable to get their service provider to satisfactorily resolve issues,” comments Fifield.

“The fact that complaints to the TIO are still high across all types of fixed line and mobile services clearly shows that telcos need to lift their game. I have already directed the ACMA to put in place rules to support a better consumer experience during the NBN transition, including a complaints handling standard. It is now time to look at the effectiveness of consumer protections across the board.”

Existing safeguards include:

  • The Universal Service Obligation (not in scope of this review)
  • The Customer Service Guarantee, which sets out connection and fault repair timeframes as well as compensation arrangements
  • The Network Reliability Framework, which requires Telstra to address faults on its network on a regional basis and report on performance
  • Priority Assistance, for anyone who depends on their phone because of a diagnosed life-threatening medical condition
  • Voice-only migration to the NBN
  • Monitoring and reporting by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

The Department of Communications and the Arts will be opening the first stage of the review up to public and industry consultation, with the release of a discussion paper on redress and complaints handling.

Recommendations about all three areas of the consumer safeguards will be presented to the government by the end of 2018.

Universal Robots aims for A/NZ growth with new hire
Peter Hern takes on the role of leading customer support, sales and partner development for Universal Robots in Australia and New Zealand.
Microsoft urges organisations to tackle data blindspots
Despite significant focus placed on CX transformation, over a third of Australian organisations claimed that more than one in five of their projects failed.
Raising the stakes: McAfee’s predictions for cybersecurity
Security teams and solutions will have to contend with synergistic threats, increasingly backed by artificial intelligence to avoid detection.
Renesas develops 28nm MCU with virtualisation-assisted functions
The MCU features four 600 megahertz CPUs with a lock-step mechanism and a large 16 MB flash memory capacity.
DOCOMO ranked world's top mobile operator in 5G SEP applications
NTT DOCOMO has been ranked the world's leading mobile operator in terms of applications for candidate standard-essential patents.
Exclusive: Ping Identity on security risk mitigation
“Effective security controls are measured and defined by the direct mitigation of inherent and residual risk.”
CylancePROTECT now available on AWS Marketplace
Customers now have access to CylancePROTECT for AI-driven protection across all Windows, Mac, and Linux (including Amazon Linux) instances.
Gartner’s top 10 data and analytics trends for 2019
Data is the fuel for the modern world, and analytics the engine. Gartner has compiled the top 10 trends to watch this year.