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Government looks to further boost telco consumer protections


The Australian Government has made recommendations for further protections for telco consumers, including a strengthening of role of the Telecommunications Ombudsman.

The Government’s move on strengthening consumer protections follows a review of consumer safeguards, with the additional protections designed to improve the handling of customer complaints and increase the transparency of complaints data to drive the telco industry toward improved customer service.

The Government on Thursday announced it had made a further 32 recommendations as outlined in Part A of the Consumer Safeguards Review .

The three part review, announced in April 2018, examines how to better protect telco customers in a landscape that the Government says has seen massive change over the last two decades.

As the Government says, 20 years ago, approximately 35% of Australian homes had a broadband connection, and by 2020, 100% of homes will be able to connect through the NBN.

The Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said the Morrison Government was “putting consumers first”.

“The consumer safeguards we have in place today are designed around the old telephone network. The ongoing relevance and usefulness of these protections is diminishing as Australia’s telecommunications environment and consumer use evolves.”

The Minister said today’s Part A Recommendations: Consumer Redress and Complaints Handling will strengthen the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) by improving its governance, operations and relationship with the telco regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) .

The consultation paper for Part B: Reliability of Telecommunications Services was also released on Thursday and submissions are due by 21 December 2018.

Part B of the review is based on the fundamental principle that “all Australians should be able to connect to, and stay connected to, a reliable fixed service”.


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