Appendix 5


The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) has made a performance standard to give effect to the Customer Service Guarantee scheme established under the Telecommunications Act 1997. The scheme, which commenced on 1 January 1998, provides for financial compensation to customers, where the performance requirements set out in the standard are not met. In short, phone companies are now legally required to meet standards on the time taken to connect a new service, repair a fault or service difficulty and attend appointments made with customers. Importantly, if your phone company offers to provide you with service levels within the minimum timeframes set, it is also required to keep those commitments. The standard covers the supply of the standard telephone service (which to most customers is the plain old telephone service) and certain enhanced call handling features (such as call waiting, call barring and calling number display) but does not apply to mobiles services or customer equipment (such as the telephone handset).

Phone companies are required to pay an amount equal to the monthly rental fee for the standard telephone service for each day of delay in connecting or repairing the standard service beyond the minimum timeframe set out in the standard or the date agreed with the customer (e.g. Telstra $20.00 business, $11.65 residential). For each day of delay in connecting or repairing an enhanced call handling feature, the amount of compensation payable is equal to 50% of this fee.

Minimum service levels for connection of service

The minimum service levels for the connection of a new service depend on whether the request is to a site which already has an 'in-place' connection and what access exists to telecommunications cabling at that site. In circumstances where the site does not have an 'in-place' connection, the service levels also depend on the size of the community in which the site is located. Details of the minimum service levels for connection are summarised as follows -

In-place connection
All sites that have an 'in-place connection Within 3 working days of customer request
Close to available cabling or other infrastructure
Community of more than 10,000 people Within 1 week of customer request
2,500 to 10,000 people Within 2 weeks of customer request
Less than 2,500 people Within 8 weeks of customer request
Not close to available cabling or other infrastructure
More than 2,500 people Within 4 weeks of customer request
Between 200 and 2,500 people Within 26 weeks of customer request
Less than 200 people Within 27 months of customer request

Minimum service levels for repair of service

Following the report of a fault by a customer and provided the fault is not located in another phone company's network, a phone company must repair a service fault before the end of the next full working day in metropolitan areas. This timeframe is extended by another full working day in rural areas and a further full working day in remote areas. In a limited range of circumstances, faults in rural and remote areas must be rectified before the end of the next working day. These circumstances include when a fault occurs due to an administrative error by the company eg. Disconnection, or if the fault can be rectified without the phone company attending customer premises or undertaking external plant work.

Appointments to connect or repair service

All agreed appointments at customer premises to connect or repair a phone service are required to be kept unless the phone company changes an appointment by giving reasonable notice to the customer. An appointment is deemed to have been missed when the phone company does not attend the premises within 15 minutes of the appointment time agreed with the customer. These times can be a specific time agreed with the customer, an agreed part of the day (i.e. a morning or an afternoon) or on a specified day. A phone company is only allowed to offer an all day appointment if it also offer the customer the choice of a morning or an afternoon appointment. The financial penalty for a missed appointment is equal to the monthly rental fee for the standard telephone service for each missed appointment.



[1] Submission No. 30 (Department of Communications and the Arts), Appendix C, pp. 207-208.