Fixed-line broadband connections have been added to a new version of the Communications Alliance's Connect Outstanding Industry Code.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said on 24 March that it had registered a new version of the code, which is meant to be used as a point of reference for situations where the previous occupants of premises have failed to cancel their telecommunications service.
The new telecommunications industry code now not only addresses a number of the sources of customer dissatisfaction with phone connection delays, it also includes broadband services, including National Broadband Network (NBN) services. The version of the code it replaces is nine years old.
The code requires phone companies to follow specified procedures to disconnect the previous occupant’s service, to ensure the connection of a new occupant’s phone or broadband service with a minimum of delay.
Prior to the introduction of the code, connect outstanding situations often resulted in long delays if the phone company was unable to locate or contact the previous occupant to confirm cancellation of the service.
The code was originally developed in 2005 to address customer dissatisfaction with delays in connecting a standard telephone service to premises where the previous occupant had failed to cancel their services – a situation known as “connect outstanding”.
According to ACMA, there are more than 90,000 connect outstanding situations managed by phone companies each year.
“Any residential or small business consumer who moves premises could potentially encounter a ‘connect outstanding’ scenario,” said acting ACMA chairman, Richard Bean. “The expansion of the code to cover fixed broadband connections means all consumers – whether they are using fixed-line, fixed-wireless or satellite-based infrastructure – benefit from the timely connection of phone and broadband services that the revised code will achieve.”
The move follows a surge in new complaints received by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) related to the National Broadband Network (NBN) during the financial year ending June 2016, with connection delays, service issues, and network dropout topping the list of issues raised by consumers.
“We saw nearly a 100 per cent increase in the number of NBN related complaints this year, but the rate of growth is lower than the growth of active services” Australia’s Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Judi Jones, said in November last year.