Home Telecoms & NBN TIO ready to apply new standards in considering telecoms disputes

TIO ready to apply new standards in considering telecoms disputes

TIO ready to apply new standards in considering telecoms disputes Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Featured

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has been quick to put the telecoms industry on notice it will take into account the new industry standards mandated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for consumers transitioning to the NBN, when considering disputes.

The TIO, which is an independent dispute resolution service for resolving complaints with phone or Internet companies, says it welcomes the new standards and is pleased that its comments aimed at "improving consistency of consumer information" have been adopted in setting the new standards announced just last Friday.

In a statement issued by the TIO, executive director of dispute resolution and deputy ombudsman Diane Carmody said the organisation encouraged industry to take steps to align their processes and product information with the new standards.

“We welcome ACMA’s enforceable standards to improve the customer experience when migrating to a service delivered over the NBN,” she said.

Carmody said the TIO was continuing to work with providers and stakeholders to improve outcomes and standards in telecommunications provision.

The two new standards announced by the ACMA last Friday are the Consumer Information Standard and the Service Continuity Standard, with both to take effect from 21 September.  

The CIS would require telecommunications service providers to give would-be customers a "key facts sheet" that detaild the different broadband plans on offer. Additionally, consumers would have to be advised about checking that medical and security alarms were compatible with the NBN before making the move.

And the SCS would require telcos and the NBN Co to avoid disconnecting services until a new NBN-based one was working. Where there was no service in the first instance, the SCS sets timeframes for reconnecting people to their old services or offering them a temporary solution until the NBN-based service is up and running.

The new standards have been welcomed by other key industry players including the telecommunications consumer lobby group Australian Communications Consumer Action Network and telco industry lobby group, the Communications Alliance.

CA chief executive John Stanton said: “The ACMA has taken on board a range of improvements suggested by industry, to make the standards more consumer-friendly and workable.

“In particular, we are pleased that the ACMA has recognised that it is not sensible to go down the path of re-connecting legacy services in circumstances where fibre-to-the-node (FttN) or fibre-to-the-curb (FttC) experience initial connection issues.

“This is because these connections use the same copper infrastructure that previously supported legacy services such as ADSL2 – making it impossible to restore the old service and fix the new one at the same time.”

And ACCAN chief executive Teresa Corbin said new standards would go some way to reducing problems raised with it by consumers frustrated by their transition experiences.

Announcing the new standards, ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said in a statement that, "While the majority of consumers are having a good experience in their migration to the NBN, unfortunately a number are not”.

"Our recent survey showed that consumers want and need the right information to choose a plan for services over the NBN that works for them. Consumers who use medical and security alarms need specific information about how these will work over the NBN.

"Our research also showed that about 16% of households reported being left without their home Internet and/or phone service for more than a week when moving to services provided over the NBN."


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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