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Telco administration fallout prompts industry review

The fallout from the administration of telecommunications provider AsiaPAC and its subsidiaries, iBOSS and One Telecom, on 5 May has prompted the industry’s peak body to launch a review of service continuity arrangements in the sector.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

The telecommunications industry peak body, Communications Alliance, has launched a review of the sector's service continuity arrangements in order to prevent a repeat of the AsiaPAC administration fallout earlier this month, which saw tens of thousands of customers disconnected.

The Communications Alliance announced today it had launched a review to look at the arrangements already in place to help customers remain connected in the event their telecommunications provider runs into financial difficulty and ceases service.

The announcement follows the fallout of AsiaPAC's administration two weeks ago, which not only saw the company's subsidiaries, One Telecom, ONESeniors, and iBOSS go under, but also their parent company, Conec2, also forced into administration.

The multiple administrations resulted in thousands of customers losing their service permanently and having to sign up to new services with another company. Many of those affected were customers of the over-55s service provider, ONESeniors.

"We recognise that the recent events involving several resellers going into administration have resulted in some customers being disconnected and inconvenienced, and that industry must strive to minimise this occurrence," said Communications Alliance chief and former CEO of People Telecom, John Stanton.

"In previous — thankfully rare — situations of this type, industry players have typically been able to mobilise cooperatively and minimise disruption to customer services," he said. "Each financial event is unique, however, and the current situation has been made more difficult by the complex structures and inter-relationships between some of the involved entities."

According to Stanton, the Association has already opened a dialogue with a number of its member organisations, which include AAPT, Optus, Telstra, and Alcatel-Lucent.

"I've already been talking to the major ISPs and carriage service providers but we'll go out to a broader group as well," Stanton told ZDNet. "I hope to make substantial progress over the course of the next six weeks or so. There'll be some consultation and some discussion, and then we’ll take our findings to the industry regulator."

For Stanton, the review is expected to not only help determine the effectiveness of the systems currently in place, but also to potentially unearth new approaches that could be implemented to avoid such situations in the future.

"I'd hope that we can have a clear understanding of the best ways to use the existing tools that are available to service providers and that we might be able to provide some guidance for a standardised approach to be used.

"And then there's the question of, beyond the existing tools, are there any measures and additional processes that might make sense and might help?" he said.

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