The ACMA

Carriers and service providers

Obligations

Telstra pays financial penalty

Telstra paid the Australian Communications and Media Authority yesterday an administrative penalty of $510,000 for failing to provide timely new urban landline customer connections in the 2012-13 financial year.

The ACMA issued an infringement notice (Word or PDF) to Telstra following its annual assessment of Telstra’s 2012-13 compliance with the Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) benchmarks. The CSG benchmarks provide important safeguards for fixed-line telephone service customers for connecting a service, repairing a fault or service difficulty and for attending appointments with customers.

There are nine such benchmarks, of which Telstra met seven. The two that were not met were:

  • for new connections in urban areas (88.6 per cent performance against a 90 per cent benchmark), and
  • for new connections in remote areas (89.0 per cent performance against a 90 per cent benchmark).

The infringement notice has been issued with respect to the first benchmark, with a formal warning (Word or PDF) issued with respect to the second.

In deciding to issue the infringement notice and the formal warnings, the ACMA took into account Telstra’s positive and early responses and its open engagement with the ACMA. The ACMA also took into account that 2012-13 was marked by extreme weather events which affected Telstra’s fixed line network, particularly in remote areas.

The ACMA also issued a formal warning (Word) to Telstra for breaches of several regulatory requirements related to the consultation process undertaken on eight payphone removals.

The ACMA considers the payphone removal breaches were generally of a technical nature and noted the significant effort applied by Telstra in meeting the new requirements introduced on 1 January 2012, and that consultations did take place in each instance.

‘I welcome Telstra’s improvements already implemented and its commitments to the ACMA to further improve its internal governance in these areas of operations, as well as its operational processes and systems,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

‘Telstra has also committed to more regularly engage with the ACMA about its service improvements and performance.’

Copies of the infringement notice, formal warnings and payphones investigation report (Word) are available from the ACMA’s website.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au

Media release 2/2014

Backgrounder

Customer Service Guarantee Standard and Benchmarks

Under the Telecommunications (Customer Service Guarantee) Standard 2011 (the CSG Standard), service providers are required to meet certain performance standards. The CSG Standard specifies time frames for the connection of services, the repair of faults and for the attendance at appointments by service providers. Customers are entitled to compensation if these time frames are not met.

The Telecommunications (Customer Service Guarantee - Retail Performance Benchmarks) Instrument (No.1) 2011 (the CSG Benchmarks) sets benchmarks for the extent to which service providers must meet the performance standards specified in the CSG Standard. A 90 per cent benchmark applies to each of the nine benchmarks.

The table below shows Telstra performance against the CSG Benchmarks for the 2012-13 financial year.

Telstra: CSG Performance

Annual Performance

Benchmark

Shortfall

(to benchmark)

In-place connections (national)

93.8%

90%

 

New connections:

 

 

Urban (national)

88.6%

90%

3938 connections

Major rural (national)

91.6%

90%

 

Minor rural (national)

90.4%

90%

 

Remote (national)

89.0%

90%

8 connections

Faults or service difficulties:

 

 

Urban (national)

90.6%

90%

 

Rural (national)

91.7%

90%

 

Remote (national)

92.3%

90%

 

Appointment-keeping (national)

97.3%

90%

 

Note: an in-place connection refers to the connection of a service at a site where a previous working CSG service has been cancelled, and is available for automatic reconnection or reactivation by a service provider. A new service connection requires a technician to complete part or all of the connection (such as a new line to the premises).

The shortfall in urban new connections of 1.4% corresponds to 3,938 connections. The shortfall in remote new connections of 1.0% corresponds to 8 new connections.

Payphone regulatory requirements

The Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation (Location of Payphones) Determination 2011 (Payphone Location Determination) and the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation (Public Consultation on the Location or Removal of Payphones) Determination 2011 (Payphone Consultation Determination) set out the obligations of a Primary Universal Service Provider (PUSP), currently Telstra, with respect to the relocation and removal of payphones. The Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation (Payphone Complaint Rules) Determination 2011 (the Complaint Rules Determination) sets out the obligations of the PUSP with respect to the process for the resolution of complaints about the location or removal of payphones.

The ACMA’s investigation of Telstra’s compliance with payphone removal requirements (between 1 January 2012 and 31 March 2013) found (for the reasons set out in the final investigation report) that Telstra breached specified provisions of the Payphone Location Determination and the Payphone Consultation Determination.

In particular, Telstra was found to have:

  • contravened provisions of the Payphone Location Determination in the removal of eight payphones
  • contravened provisions of the Public Consultation Determination in the removal of the same eight payphones
  • contravened the Payphone Complaint Rules Determination, in relation to the location of the payphone complaint process on its website.

These contraventions result in breaches of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999. 

 

Last updated: 10 January 2014

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