Priority assistance is a special customer status available to anyone diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions who depends on a reliable, fixed-line home telephone service to be able to call for assistance at any time.
The ACMA has special rules that telephone companies must meet for priority assistance customers.
Priority assistance customers are entitled to priority connection and fault repair of their telephone service, and are to be provided with the highest level of service practicably available. 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 those time frames cannot be met, the priority customer is to be provided with an interim service. If a priority assistance customer experiences two or more faults in a three-month period, their phone service must be tested by the carrier.
Who offers priority assistance?
Telstra is the only carrier required to provide priority assistance services to its customers as a condition of its licence. Telstra is required to have an effective policy for offering priority assistance services to anyone with a life-threatening medical condition.
Telstra's arrangements for priority assistance are set out in its Priority Assistance for Individuals policy. Further information on Telstra's priority assistance service is available on Telstra's priority assistance website.
Other carriage service providers/carriers may provide priority assistance services to their customers. The Communications Alliance code ACIF C609:2007 Priority Assistance for life-threatening medical conditions establishes consistent, industry wide arrangements for carriage service providers who choose to offer priority assistance to residential customers with life-threatening medical conditions.
Please contact your telephone service provider to check if it offers priority assistance 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.
For further information on priority assistance, please contact the ACMA's Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.