Telecomms priority assistance | ACMA

Telecomms priority assistance

Priority assistance is a service that gives priority for the connection and fault repair of fixed-line home telephone services for customers with a serious medical condition who are at risk of suffering a rapid, life-threatening deterioration in their condition.

The service is offered by Telstra to ensure access to a reliable, fully operational home telephone service to call for assistance.

To be eligible, someone living in a customer's household must have such a diagnosed life-threatening medical condition, where access to a telephone could assist in a life-threatening situation.

Priority assistance entitlements

Priority assistance customers are entitled to faster connection and fault repair of their fixed-line telephone service.

The time frames for connecting a service or repairing a fault for a priority assistance customer are:

  • 24 hours in urban and rural areas
  • 48 hours in remote areas.

If a priority assistance customer experiences two or more faults in a three-month period, the phone service must be tested.

Who offers priority assistance?

Telstra is the only carrier required to provide priority assistance services to its customers as a condition of its licence.

Other carriage service providers may voluntarily offer priority assistance services that comply with the requirements of the following code:

Communications Alliance ACIF C609:2007 Priority Assistance for life-threatening medical conditions

If a service provider does not offer a priority assistance service it must inform customers of the names of carriage service providers who provide these services.

The policy and information about Telstra Priority Assistance can be found on the Telstra website or by contacting Telstra on 13 22 00.

How to apply

Enquiries about how to apply for priority assistance should be made to your carriage service provider.

Eligibility

To qualify, the residential customer, or a resident of their household, must be known to have a condition where there is a substantially increased risk of a life-threatening emergency:

  1. with a significantly increased possibility of a rapid deterioration in the person’s condition, to the point that it becomes life-threatening; and

  2. where prompt attendance by an ambulance, or prompt provision of telephone advice by a doctor or health professional could avert the incidence of death.

Medical conditions criteria

Your doctor may be required to provide proof you are being treated for a medical condition involving:

  • respiratory
  • cardiovascular
  • obstetrics or neonatal emergencies
  • life threatening hypoglycaemia or epilepsy.

The full criteria of medical conditions are outlined in the Communications Alliance code: ACIF C609:2007 Priority assistance for life threatening medical conditions.

Things you should know about priority assistance:

  • Priority assistance only applies to standard telephone services.
  • Customers must let their service provider know of any changed circumstances that may affect their eligibility for priority assistance.
  • Customers need to advise their service provider when moving residence, moving from one service provider to another or where there is a change to the customer/lessee name for a service.
  • These arrangements are in place to ensure that, as a priority assistance customer, you get the highest level of service available. Despite these safeguards, it is not always possible to guarantee continuity of service for customers in medical emergencies.

Further information 

Priority assistance fact sheet

Please contact the ACMA's Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115 or info@acma.gov.au.

Please note: this document is intended as a guide only and should not be relied on as legal advice or regarded as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases.

Last updated: 08 September 2017