Everyone in Australia is entitled to reasonable access to a standard telephone service wherever they live or work.
Telstra is the only Universal Service Provider, but other carriage service providers (CSPs) may also offer standard telephone services.
More information can be found here:
Connection and repair of services
The Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) Standard sets timeframes for:
You are entitled to automatic compensation if these timeframes are not met.
Interim and alternative services
Telstra is required to offer its USO customers access to an interim or alternative service when there is an extended delay in connecting or repairing their standard telephone service.
An interim service is a voice telephone service that uses mainly mobile or satellite technology and is charged at standard telephone service rates.
An alternative service can take various forms, such as call diversion to a mobile or second fixed line telephone service. Telstra is not obliged to charge standard telephone service rates for this service.
Other CSPs may offer these services.
Telstra is required to provide priority assistance arrangements to maximise telephone service continuity for anyone:
with a diagnosed life-threatening medical condition
at risk of suffering a rapid, life-threatening deterioration in their condition.
Eligible customers are to be provided with priority service connection and repair.
Other CSPs may also provide this service.
Terms and conditions of service
Telecommunications service providers are required to concise summaries of the terms and conditions applying to your service. These summaries are expected to be clear and simple, and readily accessible.
Untimed local calls
CSPs who supply local calls over the standard telephone service must allow consumers who use this service to make untimed local calls.
However, you may enter into contracts that provide for local calls at a timed rate if you choose to do so.
People with a disability or special needs
The USO requires Telstra to provide people with a disability or special needs with an alternative form of communication at the same price as a standard handset. This is usually a text device such as a teletypewriter (TTY) or modem.
The National Relay Service (NRS) provides text to voice and voice to text translation. The NRS operators provide a bridge between users of text devices and other telephone users, as well as assisting people with speech impairments to communicate using the telephone.
The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code
This single code of practice has been developed by industry representatives and consumer organisations. It deals with issues affecting consumers such as:
The code, registered by the ACMA on 19 May 2008, sets out consumer protections in a single code and replaces the previous six separate codes.
The Privacy Act 1988 and the Telecommunications Act 1997 protect the way your personal information is handled by private sector organisations, including telecommunications companies. They cover the collection, use, disclosure, quality and security of personal information. They also give you the right to access and correct your information.
The ACMA has made a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission:
You are entitled to have your complaints to telecommunications companies dealt with in a prompt, transparent and equitable manner.
Your rights when making a complaint to your phone or internet provider explained in:
If a complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction contact the: