Telcos to pay for slow connections, repairs

Summary:Those customers who rage at the ridiculous amount of time that a telecommunications provider is taking to repair a fault or to connect a line may soon have a legal avenue to follow after the introduction of benchmark reforms.

Those customers who rage at the ridiculous amount of time that a telecommunications provider is taking to repair a fault or to connect a line may soon have a legal avenue to follow after the introduction of benchmark reforms.

The Minister for Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy Stephen Conroy announced the reforms, releasing an exposure draft of the Telecommunications (Customer Service Guarantee — Retail Performance Benchmarks) Instrument Act (No.1) 2011 for public consultation, which will amend the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.

"The Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) is designed to protect consumers from poor customer service by setting timeframes to be met by service providers for the connection, fault repair and keeping of appointments in relation to standard telephone services," Conroy said in a statement.

"Where timeframes are not met, service providers are required to pay compensation to customers."

The benchmarks will take into consideration whether the premises involved are urban, rural or remote.

"In this way, the ACMA will be able to oversee compliance and enforcement of CSG standards in geographic areas where satisfactory customer service may be lacking," Conroy said. Small providers will be exempt from the benchmarks to ease their burden of red tape.

Conroy has asked for submissions on the discussion paper by 3 June.

Topics: Broadband, Government, Government : AU, Legal, NBN, Telcos

About

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for t... Full Bio

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