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Modernising consumer safeguards for telco services

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The Morrison Government has commenced consultation on modernising consumer safeguards for telecommunications services.

The Consumer Safeguards Review Part C consultation paper is the third and final paper of the Consumer Safeguards Review. It sets out four proposals to improve choice and fairness in the consumer-telco relationship and prepare the telecommunications industry for an operating environment with ubiquitous National Broadband Network (NBN) coverage.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said he welcomes submissions from all interested stakeholders to modernise telco rules and regulations.

“The existing telecommunications consumer safeguards were largely designed for voice services delivered over the copper telephone network. We have a vastly different telco landscape with the NBN available to 99 per cent of homes and businesses in Australia,” Minister Fletcher said.

“For example, 51 per cent of Australian adults were mobile-only for voice calls as at June 2019, up from 27 per cent in 2014. 79 per cent of 25 to 34 year-olds rely on mobiles for all voice calls. Australians are using technology in different ways, so we need to make sure the appropriate and necessary regulations are in place. We will also consider areas that consumer experience tells us could work better, including sales, customer service and financial hardship,” he said.

The paper considers options to improve telco-specific rules to supplement Australian Consumer Law, and put in place appropriate incentives and enforcement options to encourage industry compliance. The paper is also seeking submissions on certain requirements relating to the copper phone network as this legacy infrastructure is progressively withdrawn from use and replaced by the NBN and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), and consumers increasingly use their mobile phones.

“The Government is committed to delivering fit-for-purpose telco regulations that meet the evolving needs of consumers and we welcome submissions to this consultation,” Minister Fletcher said.

Source: Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts

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