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How mass service disruptions affect the CSG Standard

Telcos have to fix faults for standard phone services within the timelines in the Customer Service Standard (CSG Standard). If a mass outage happens, you may be exempt from the CSG Standard.

Extreme weather or other factors beyond your control may cause a mass outage. Where this affects a large area or large number of services, we may call it a 'mass service disruption' (MSD). 

You may be exempt from the CSG Standard if there is an MSD and:

  • you supply the affected customer with more than 5 eligible standard telephone services
  • the outage is due to work to maintain or upgrade the network and you gave customers reasonable notice
  • you cannot meet the CSG Standard for reasons beyond your control (section 21 of the CSG Standard)

Our role is to:

  • ensure you follow the rules and notify customers when an outage happens
  • report in our annual communications report on how many times telcos claim exemptions because of MSDs

When extreme weather disrupts the network

You may be exempt from the CSG Standard if extreme weather:

  • causes a significant number of faults to services in an area
  • prevents the timely connection of services in an area 

How to notify customers you are exempt

If you claim to be exempt from the standard, you must publish the public notice in a daily newspaper in the affected area and as soon as possible, or within 14 working days of the start of the exemption, write individual notices to each customer affected by the exemption.

If you choose not to write to each customer, you must notify the affected customers by publishing a notice on your website

The CSG Standard says:

  • what you must tell customers
  • when you must notify them

What you must tell customers

Your public notice must include:

  • a statement that you claim to be exempt from the CSG Standard
  • the circumstances that led to ask to be exempt, such as damage to a facility or extreme weather
  • the telephone numbers of affected services
  • an estimate of the number of affected services
  • a description of the area your claim covers
  • a unique identifier for your claim to be exempt
  • written evidence that extreme weather meets the criteria in the CSG Standard
  • a statement telling customers they can dispute the claim with you and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)
  • your contact information

For individual notices, include the same details as the public notice except:

  • the number of services
  • the area that your claim affects

When you must let people know

If you are a Telco that claims to be exempt and you haven't written to your customers. You must:

  • Within 8 working days of the start of the exemption, you must email a copy of the notice to us and to the TIO. You must also publish it on your website.
  • Within 9 working days of the exemption starting, you must publish the notice in a daily newspaper in the affected area or as soon as possible, or within 14 working days of the start of the exemption, give a copy to any resellers that are affected by the exemption.

If you are a reseller whose wholesale provider is exempt from the standard, you may also claim to be exempt. Once your wholesale provider notifies you that they are exempt, you have 2 working days to:

  • email a copy of the notice to us
  • email a copy of the notice to the TIO
  • publish your notice or refer to your wholesale provider's notice in a daily newspaper in the affected area
  • publish your notice or refer to your wholesale provider's notice on your website

Other content and notification requirements still apply.

If you notify individuals about your claim you must write to affected customers within 10 working days of you being exempt. You do not need to give us or the TIO a copy.

When customers dispute your claim to be exempt

If customers disagree with your claim to be exempt, they can complain to their telco.

If your claim of exemption is not be valid, you must connect or repair the service within the timelines the CSG Standard sets while you are exempt. You may have to compensate customers if you don't.

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