The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found TPG, Optus, Dodo and Telstra in breach of consumer protection rules after more than 1,500 of their customers were left without telco services while trying to migrate to the NBN.
Rules put in place by the ACMA stipulate that a telco must supply a replacement service after three working days of a customer being left without a service during a failed attempt to connect to the NBN.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said four related ACMA investigations found 1,586 breaches by these telcos due to their failure to supply any replacement services.
“Many Australians rely on phone and internet services for their work and home lives, and significant disruptions can have a heavy impact on their livelihoods and wellbeing,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
“TPG, Optus, Dodo and Telstra have all let down these customers and effectively left them high and dry during the NBN migration.”
Additional rules require that, if after 20 working days the NBN connection is still not working, the telco must develop a remedial plan to address the issue. If the service is still not working after 40 working days, it must conduct a technical audit to identify the necessary steps to complete the migration.
ACMA’s investigation found that these steps were also not being taken by these telcos, with 5,158 breaches of the rules due to remedial plans and technical audits not being undertaken by the providers.
All four companies have provided court-enforceable undertakings to introduce measures to improve compliance with the service continuity rules. They must report back to the ACMA each quarter for 12 months.
If these telcos do not comply with the enforceable undertakings, the ACMA can start proceedings against them in the Federal Court.
The success of consumer moves to the NBN has been a priority for the ACMA throughout 2019-20 and while the rollout is nearing completion, a better move to the NBN has been identified as a compliance priority for 2020-21.
Enforcement action for breaches of industry standards and determinations can include, infringement notices, formal warnings, remedial directions, enforceable undertakings, and civil penalty proceedings.
Breach breakdown—February – April 2019
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