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CA calls for greater transparency, consumer choice for telco services Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Featured

Communications industry lobby group Communications Alliance has called for Australia to move to a simpler, more transparent framework of safeguards around the reliability of telecommunications services, ensuring secure access and customer choice in a competitive market.

In advice to the Australian Government’s Consumer Safeguards Review, CA says industry has proposed a clear set of principles from which to build a replacement for the complex, outdated and duplicative set of current rules.

As part of its reform proposals, industry recommends that service providers should:

  • publish and provide to customers their service quality commitments (commitments that are also backed up at the wholesale level), thus enabling consumers to choose the service that works best for their preferences and budgets; and
  • provide tailored and transparent compensation for consumers if reliability commitments are not met.

The CA submission supports the notion that consumers should have access to appropriate information gathered by regulators from service providers, but warned against the two overlapping industry regulators — the ACCC and the ACMA — each demanding similar information from service providers, in different formats and thereby driving up compliance costs.  

CA chief executive John Stanton says industry disagreed firmly with some elements of the government consultation paper, including its assertion that consumer safeguards are best delivered through direct regulation. The submission argues that — in line with The Australian Government Guide to Regulation — regulation should never be adopted as a default solution.

“The consumer safeguards framework needs to be designed for the challenges of the future,” said Stanton

“It should be adaptable, efficient, and promote competition as the most effective way to achieve results for consumers and use the Government’s previously established best practice approach to regulation.”

In addition to the submission to Part B of the Consumer Safeguards Review, CA says industry hopes to continue working with the Department to establish common principles across the entire consumer safeguards framework.

Industry’s proposed overarching principles:


All Australians should be able to access telecommunications to enable participation in a digital society; A ‘basic essential service’ should be available to all Australians; and

Communications infrastructure should be functional and reliable.


 Communications markets should be open and competitive so as to encourage investment, innovation and diversity of choice.


Consumers should have access to information to allow them to make informed choices, based on their preferences;

Consumers should have appropriate avenues for redress; and

Consumers should be confident that their personal information is protected appropriately.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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