Australian telecommunications companies must meet minimum times when connecting and repairing fixed line telephone services. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) monitors on how well they are meeting these requirements.
Where a telephone company does not meet the level of service required, the ACMA can require the company to take action to improve its performance.
Customer service standards
The ACMA measures reports from telephone companies about times taken to connect and repair telephone services against the Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) Standard.
The CSG sets minimum times for service providers to connect services and repair faults. These vary depending on where customers live and whether fixed line service infrastructure, such as cable and exchanges, is already in place. The CSG also specifies compensation credits where these targets are missed.
As the universal service provider, Telstra must meet additional requirements in connecting services and repairing faults for its customers.
The Network Reliability Framework (NRF) requires Telstra to inform the ACMA when multiple faults occur above a preset threshold or for individual customers.
For customers with a life-threatening medical condition, Telstra must provide connection and fault repair within 24 hours in urban and rural areas and 48 hours in remote areas. This is called priority assistance.
Reports on connection and repair of telephone services
Providers of telephony services (to customers with five lines or less) covered by the CSG must provide annual information to the ACMA about service repair and connection times.
In addition, Telstra reports to the ACMA:
Telstra also publishes monthly information about national and regional performance under the NRF.
The ACMA publishes its annual Fixed-line Performance Reports on the ACMA website.
What does the ACMA report about service connection?
The ACMA gathers information on the time taken to connect services (duration) . This information is assembled and reported against the CSG minimum times. The percentage of connections made within the CSG connection timeframes are reported in the ACMA's Communications Reports. The figures are provided by the area classifications (urban/rural/remote) under the CSG.
The ACMA also reports on Telstra's performance in meeting timeframes for its priority assistance customers.
Fault repair reports
The ACMA reports on services covered by the CSG - how often faults occur and how long it takes to repair them (frequency and duration).
The CSG sets targets for how long it should take to repair a fault (duration), while the NRF reports on the percentage of services affected.
The NRF only applies to Telstra, the universal service provider, and has three tiers of reporting:
Telstra provides monthly information on the percentage of services without a fault and the percentage of time services are available on its network in 44 geographic areas across Australia.
Telstra identifies poorly performing cable runs that it remediates to a prescribed standard.
Telstra must report on and take remedial action when any individual service experiences four faults in any rolling 60-day period or five faults in a rolling 365-day period.
The ACMA monitors Telstra's performance at the cable run and individual service levels to ensure corrective action is taken promptly.
For further information please contact the ACMA's Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.