27 September 2023

ACMA hangs out warnings for telcos

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued formal warnings to 11 telecommunications companies for allegedly failing to tell vulnerable customers that they did not provide Priority Assistance (PA) services, or for failing to name a telco that did.

The telcos to receive the warning were Activ8me, Aussie Broadband, Dodo, Exetel, Foxtel, MyRepublic, Skymesh, Southern Phone, Spintel, TPG, and V4 Telecom.

Chair of ACMA, Nerida O’Loughlin said PA was a customer status available to anyone diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition who depended on a reliable fixed-line home telephone service to be able to call for help at any time.

“PA offers the highest level of service available for telephone connection and fault repairs,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“Telstra is the only telco required to provide these services as a condition of its licence, however others may do so voluntarily,” she said.

‘Telcos need to give consumers the full picture before signing them up to a service. This includes disclosing whether they offer PA.

“If they don’t offer PA, they must tell people who does.”

She said ACMA was concerned about any failure to meet obligations that were targeted at helping people in vulnerable circumstances.

“Following the ACMA investigations, the telcos have committed to revise their training and scripts to ensure PA information is accurately communicated,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

‘Telcos are on notice that PA obligations must be taken seriously.”

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