Priority assistance is a special service that some telcos provide. It applies to landline services for people with life-threatening medical conditions. If you offer priority assistance, you have to meet the rules for:
- faster fault repairs
- shorter time to connect new services
- more reliable service
Rules for telcos that provide priority assistance
Telstra must provide priority assistance. The Minister sets this as a condition of Telstra's licence. The policy and form to apply for Telstra's Priority Assist service are at Telstra Priority Assist.
Other telcos may choose to provide priority assistance. If you do, you must meet minimum industry standards in an industry code, Priority Assistance for Life Threatening Medical Conditions.
Rules for telcos that do not offer priority assistance
If you do not offer priority assistance and a potential customer asks about a standard phone service you must:
- tell them that you do not offer priority assistance for landline services
- tell them the names of one or more telcos that offer priority assistance
You must provide this information as soon as you receive an enquiry. You cannot wait until the customer has signed a contract for a standard phone service.
You must also give this information to existing customers if they ask to move to a different service. An example would be an existing residential customer who wants to move from a copper connection to a bundled service over the NBN.
The Telecommunications Act 1997 covers this rule. You can receive a significant penalty if you break the rules.