Complaints info gives ACMA early warning

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) have struck a formal understanding to share information, which could help ACMA get a grasp on upcoming industry problems.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) have struck a formal understanding to share information, which could help ACMA get a grasp on upcoming industry problems.

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Deirdre O'Donnell and Australian Communications and Media Authority chairman Chris Chapman Credit: TIO

The memorandum of understanding, announced yesterday, formalises an existing relationship between the two parties, according to ACMA.

TIO, which handles consumer complaints, will exchange information with ACMA on consumer complaint investigations, dispute resolution, service and compliance trends as well as enforcement actions.

"It's in everyone's interest that the TIO, ACMA and telecommunications service providers work together to ensure that consumer complaints are resolved in a fair and equitable way," telecommunications industry ombudsman Deirdre O'Donnell said in a statement.

"They've worked very closely for a long time," Ovum analyst David Kennedy told ZDNet.com.au. The increasing complexity of the telecommunications industry over the last few years has most likely complicated the relationship between TIO and ACMA, he said: "It's perhaps not surprising that they've chosen to make some aspects of that relationship explicit."

ACMA will benefit from the relationship by getting early warning on consumer issues, Kennedy said: with new issues emerging all the time, the information will help ACMA decide if it should be addressed in the codes of practice.