A telecommunications industry code that addresses a number of the sources of customer dissatisfaction with phone connection delays has been revised.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has registered a new version of Communications Alliance’s Connect Outstanding Industry Code, for situations where the previous occupant of premises has failed to cancel their service.
The code replaces a version that was nine years old. It has been revised so that it now covers broadband services, including NBN services.
‘Any residential or small business consumer who moves premises could potentially encounter a “connect outstanding” scenario,’ said acting ACMA Chairman, Richard Bean. ‘The expansion of the code to cover fixed broadband connections means all consumers—whether they are using fixed-line, fixed-wireless or satellite-based infrastructure—benefit from the timely connection of phone and broadband services that the revised code will achieve.’
There are more than 90,000 connect outstanding situations managed by phone companies each year.
The code requires phone companies to follow specified procedures to disconnect the previous occupant’s service, to ensure the connection of a new occupant’s phone or broadband service with a minimum of delay.
Prior to the introduction of the code, these connect outstanding situations often resulted in long delays if the phone company was unable to locate or contact the previous occupant to confirm cancellation of the service.
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Media release 8/2017 - 24 March
The code was originally developed in 2005 to address customer dissatisfaction with delays in connecting a standard telephone service to premises where the previous occupant had failed to cancel their service. This situation is known as ‘connect outstanding’.
The code has been revised so that, in addition to standard telephone services, it also covers broadband access services and includes connect outstanding issues that arise with the NBN.
The code does not apply when the previous occupant has cancelled their connection service with their phone company. In this situation, normal connection procedures and timeframes will apply.
The ACMA registered the code on 16 March 2017. Compliance with a registered code is voluntary. However, if necessary, the ACMA may employ its powers to ensure compliance by issuing formal warnings or directing industry participants to comply with a code.
Consumers should first raise concerns about connect outstanding issues with their phone company. If they are dissatisfied with the response they can take the matter to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, which has responsibility for handling complaints coming under this code.