Wednesday, 06 May 2020 12:38

New agreement aims to deliver ‘better outcomes' for phone, Internet consumers, says ACMA Featured


A new approach to collaboration and information sharing on compliance, enforcement and systemic issues in the telecoms sector has been forged by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), aimed at delivering better outcomes for phone and Internet consumers and providers.

The two industry bodies announced on Wednesday that a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), providing a “clear framework for the referral of compliance and systemic issues in complaints” had been agreed.

“It will support both organisations to address persistent and systemic phone and internet issues.” the ACMA said.

“The agreement will see a more proactive process in ensuring telcos join and comply with the TIO dispute resolution scheme. The scheme is Australia’s busiest ombudsman service and deals with complaints about landline phones, mobiles and internet services, most typically around billing and coverage issues.”

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the agreement was a positive step forward for telco consumers in Australia.

“This agreement will further enhance the working relationship between the ACMA and the TIO, to ensure consumers are adequately protected and telcos fulfil their obligations,” O’Loughlin said.

“We can use our powers to take enforcement action against any telco referred to us by the TIO for failing to comply with the Ombudsman’s directions.”

Telecommunications Ombudsman Judi Jones said: “This refreshed agreement builds on the already close relationship with the ACMA and shows both organisations are committed to collaboration and effective information sharing”.

“Consumers and the telco industry will benefit from both organisations taking decisive action on non-compliance and systemic issues.

“A closer working relationship between our organisations gives clarity and certainty to providers and consumers about the regulatory framework that supports a thriving telecommunications industry,” Jones added.

 The full agreement - setting out a framework for liaison, collaboration, assistance and the exchange of information between the two parties - can be viewed on the ACMA or TIO website.

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Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a 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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