Proposed reporting rules aim to increase transparency in USO delivery

13 Oct 2021

The Australian government is looking to impose more rigorous reporting rules on Telstra with a view to improving transparency in the delivery of voice services in regional and remote areas. In a press release regarding the matter, Minister for Regional Communications, Bridget McKenzie, said she was concerned about community perceptions that services in regional and remote Australia were not being maintained, noting: ‘Regional and remote consumers place a high priority on access to reliable voice services, and the government is now proposing changes so that more detailed and up to date information will be available to the community.’

As per Australia’s Universal Service Obligation (USO), Telstra must provide a fixed standard telephone service on reasonable request to premises anywhere in Australia. With this being both a legislative and contractual obligation, the fixed line incumbent is obligated to provide a reliable telephone service and provide connections and repair faults within a reasonable time. Under the proposed new reporting rules Telstra would need to publicly report on its performance at the local exchange level against key indicators, including service availability, connection timeframes, faults and outages, repair timeframes, appointment timeframes, complaints, and customer contact handling.

Comments on the proposals have been invited by a deadline of 8 November 2021.