Priority Assistance is a service designed to help people with diagnosed life-threatening medical conditions who depend on a reliable, fixed-line home telephone service to be able to call for assistance when needed. Customers receiving such a service are referred to as 'priority assistance customers'.
Priority assistance customers are entitled to priority connection and fault repair of their telephone service. The time frames for connecting a service or repairing a fault for a priority assistance customer is 24 hours in urban and rural areas and 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 by the carrier.
Telstra is the only carrier required to provide priority assistance services to its customers as a condition of its licence. Under its licence condition, Telstra is required to have an effective policy for offering priority assistance services to persons with a life-threatening medical condition.
Telstra's arrangements for priority assistance are set out in its Priority Assistance for Individuals policy. This policy is appended to Telstra's universal service obligation standard marketing plan, which is available on the ACMA website or on Telstra's website.
General information about Telstra's priority assistance service is available on Telstra’s website.
Additional PA providers
Other carriage service providers/carriers may also provide PA services to their customers. The ACIF C609:2007 Priority Assistance for life-threatening medical conditions code establishes consistent, industry wide arrangements for carriage service providers which choose to offer priority assistance to residential customers with life-threatening medical conditions.
More information about the priority assistance industry code is available at the ACMA’s website.
Please contact your carriage service provider/carrier to check if it offers PA services.
Providers that do not offer priority assistance
Part 6 in Schedule 2 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 requires carriage service providers/carriers to either offer a priority assistance service or inform customers of the names of carriage service providers/carriers which do offer priority assistance services.
A copy of the fact sheet on priority assistance is available from the ACMA's website.
Further information can be obtained from the ACMA's Industry Monitoring Section.