Macquarie Telecom breaches telco industry code

Macquarie Telecom has been directed to comply with the IPND code by uploading customer data, with the ACMA accepting an enforceable undertaking from the telco to improve its processes.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found telecommunications provider Macquarie Telecom to be in contravention of both the Telecommunications Act and the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) code by failing to provide accurate customer data for more than five years.

In breach of subsection 101(1) of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and clauses 5.1, 5.2, 5.6, and 5.12 of the IPND code, Macquarie Telecom failed to provide accurate records for 142,499 of its landline and mobile services during the period of March 23, 2010, and July 3, 2015.

Outdated customer details were entered into the IPND for 130,883 of those services, while Macquarie Telecom providing no details at all for the other 11,616 services.

"Failure by a telco to provide customer information to the IPND is an issue that the ACMA takes very seriously, particularly given emergency service organisations rely on it to respond to calls to Triple Zero," said Richard Bean, who became acting ACMA chairman in February after Chris Chapman's 10-year tenure as chairman ended.

The IPND, a database for all listed and unlisted public numbers and their affiliated customer information, is used by law-enforcement and national security agencies, as an emergency alert system, and to respond to emergency calls.

The ACMA has directed the telco to comply, and accepted a Federal Court-enforceable undertaking from Macquarie Telecom. It has pledged to improve its data-collection processes and educate and train its staff on the correct procedures, as well as engaging an independent auditor.

The ACMA in November also directed SpinTel to comply with the IPND code after it was found to have published 426 silent line customers' phone numbers, names, and addresses in three Australian public phone directories between January 9, 2014, and February 3, 2015.

The ACMA has the power to investigate and ask telcos to comply with industry codes and legislation, including the recently updated Telecommunications Consumer Protection (TCP) Code.

In December, the ACMA found Vaya and Live Connected to be non-compliant with the TCP Code by charging customers a AU$20 security deposit before providing services without carrying out individual credit assessments first.

The federal government agency in October also directed six telcos -- AussieSim, Btel Communications, Datawave Internet, Golden IT, Harbour of Technology (Hotnet), and MVoice -- to comply with the TCP Code after failing to lodge a statement of code compliance for the last two years.

In September, the ACMA formally warned more than 20 telcos over failing to lodge a statement of code compliance. Issued under subsection 122(2) of the Telecommunications Act 1997, the formal warnings were sent out to 25 telcos, including Amnet, Tele-Talk, Novatel, Infiniti, Blue Telecom, Wire Networks, Supercheap Telco, Telco4u, ReddeNet, and Call Central Communications.

The ACMA, along with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, is also assisting an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against 11 corporations trading as SoleNet and Sure Telecom, and their director James Harrison, due to unconscionable conduct in the supply of telecommunications services and undue harassment in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

Macquarie Telecom in February announced a net profit of AU$1.96 million, up 178 percent year on year, on revenue of AU$100.55 million, up 5.2 percent, for the first six months of FY16.

The telco also began providing live data on its Net Promoter Score (NPS) in December last year, to make customer satisfaction feedback available for potential customers to view on its website.